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The Habs failed to build off their momentum last week, only managing 3 of a possible 8 points and as a result, the Eastern standings are a little tighter now. The Bulldogs, despite a rapidly depleting roster, continued their hot stretch out West, winning 3 of 4. Like last week, I've broken down the schedules for each team fighting for a playoff spot (and there is some good news), while the Final Thought looks at why it's too early to be proclaiming Ryan O'Byrne to be better than a recently departed former first rounder. This plus the Power Rankings, in the Recap.
The PPR's are on a cumulative basis with some bias towards the current week. The prev. column represents the last ranking for the player; players not on last week's list will be slotted back where they were when returning from injury/benching/recall (italicized numbers). Thus, multiple players may have the same previous ranking.
|1||1||A quiet week, but still managed to account for 25% of the team's goals.|
|2||Tomas Plekanec||2||Had a point in each game as he aims to rediscover his early season play.|
|3||Mike Cammalleri||1||Clearly isn't himself but looked better on Saturday against the Devils.|
|4||Jaroslav Halak||3||Another quality week though showed some kinks in the armour at the end.|
|5||Carey Price||4||A victim of the team folding in front of him, was stellar against Buffalo.|
|6||Scott Gomez||4||The hustle was there but aside from two assists, the production wasn't.|
|7||Andrei Markov||6||Looks uncomfortable on the PP now that Bergeron is back in the lineup.|
|8||Benoit Pouliot||5||Some real dumb decisions out there, his benching at times was justified.|
|9||Josh Gorges||7||Steady as usual and thankfully no more shifts on the powerplay.|
|10||Andrei Kostitsyn||14||I guess Cammalleri really was the key to his success, 3 goals this week.|
|11||Roman Hamrlik||10||Being overused early in the season is really starting to hurt now.|
|12||Dominic Moore||8||Though the offence has dried up, at least he can still help on the draw.|
|13||Sergei Kostitsyn||9||I suppose asking for hustle for longer than 2 weeks is asking too much.|
|14||Ryan O'Byrne||13||Continues to play steady, more on him in the Final Thought.|
|15||Glen Metropolit||11||He can surely benefit from some time off, hopefully not too long of a break.|
|16||Travis Moen||16||All the credit in the world for only missing 1 game with that bad a cut.|
|17||Marc-Andre Bergeron||12||Needs to find a way to get his shot off, he's all but useless otherwise.|
|18||Mathieu Darche||12||Not generating many chances lately, even before the benching.|
|19||Jaroslav Spacek||20||It may be worthwhile to give him a night off and play Bergeron on D.|
|20||Hal Gill||18||I saw him attempting some stretch passes this week...bad idea.|
|21||Tom Pyatt||17||Time to get him back in Hamilton before his offence permanently dries.|
|22||Maxim Lapierre||19||Didn't respond as well as I thought he would after being a healthy scratch.|
Dropped from the rankings: None - 3 players came back though which means nearly everyone dropped a few spots accordingly.
The Dog Pound
The Western trip started off a little rough but the Bulldogs rebounded to take 3 of 4, reducing their magic number to clinch the conference to single digits.
3 Stars: 1) Rosa - MTB 2) Glumac - HAM 3) Stastny - MTB
3 Stars: 1) Trotter - HAM 2) Russell - HAM 3) Desharnais - HAM
3 Stars: 1) Benoit - HAM 2) Cunning - ABB 3) Shantz - ABB
3 Stars: 1) Desharnais - HAM 2) Trotter - HAM 3) Desjardins - HAM
Hunter Bishop made his Hamilton debut but was held pointless this week. Also please note that the PIM total for Ryan White is not a typo.
|32||Frederic St. Denis||4||0||0||+3||4||2|
Goals: Brock Trotter (34)
Assists: David Desharnais (49)
Points: Desharnais/Trotter (73)
+/-: P.K. Subban (+43)
PIMS: Ryan White (171)
Shots: Mike Glumac (190)
Toronto vs Hamilton
April 3: Rochester vs Hamilton
April 4: Manitoba vs Hamilton
The scoreboard watching continues as the race heats up in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Who are the Habs' opponents facing this week?
|5||Ottawa||87||76||@ WSH, vs CAR, @ NYI||0.560|
|6||Philadelphia||82||76||@ NYI, vs MTL, vs DET||0.542|
|7||Montreal||82||76||vs CAR, @ PHI, vs BUF||0.544|
|8||Boston||80||74||vs BUF, @ NJ, vs FLA, @ TOR||0.545|
|9||Atlanta||78||75||vs CAR, @ TOR, @ WSH, @ PIT||0.570|
|10||New York (R)||76||75||@ NYI, @ TB, @ FLA||0.480|
As of games played through Sunday, March 28. APP = Average points percentage (of opponents); note that this does not take home and away records into consideration. Theoretically, the higher the APP, the tougher the opponents.
If there's one thing Hab fans are famous for,
it's that we have really short memories. Look at Maxim Lapierre for
example, he was a core piece last year and now people want to run him out of
town this season. It's even worse with Ryan O'Byrne - fans wanted him gone
earlier this season and now talks have started about him being better
than Mike Komisarek? Give me a break. As easy as it is to trash
Komisarek for struggling last year and then jumping ship to the Leafs, but
rather than only remember the short-term, do consider that he was a core piece
for this team for several seasons.
Komisarek played 4 full seasons (plus some part ones) with Montreal, O'Byrne is in his first...and he's been hurt for a good chunk of the year (though who hasn't this season?) Could he wind up being better? Perhaps, but he's at least 200 games away from me even considering the notion, they need to have played at least a similar number of games to really give it legitimate consideration. Fans crucify players for not living up to all too lofty expectations, let's actually do the right thing for once and let things play out without expecting a whole lot from him. He's played better of late, enjoy it and leave it at that.
If you have a question regarding this article or the capsheet, please feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com.