…..Max Pacioretty will be talking to NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan Monday about that hit he delivered on Kris Letang of thePenguins Saturday night. Under normal circumstances it was a clean open ice hit. But Letang had his head down on the follow through of a shot and Pacioretty’s shoulder connected with the head. Shanahan’s rulings have been up and down all year, so it’s hard to say what he’ll say about this one. Rule 48. “A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head is targeted and the principal point of contact is not permitted” The key word in the rule is “targeted”. I think I’m safe in saying that was not Pacioretty’s purpose. The fact that Shanahan even called the meeting tells us he’s treating the incident seriously. You make the call. Here’s the video –
…….We never hear about these things but you can be assured that referee Dan O’Rourke will be on the carpet over the failure to whistle dead the play that led to the Penguins winning overtime goal Saturday night. Officials make mistakes but in this case O’Rourke was flat out lazy on the play. Circumstances dictated that O’Rourke be stationed behind the net. In fact he was a spectator along the left boards, in no position to make a judgment on whether or not Carey Price had covered or frozen the puck. And yes, game officials are subject to league fines. It’s just that we never find out about them.
……The Canadiens killed off three more penalties Saturday night bringing their string of successful kills to 43. To put it into perspective, over the last eleven games, the Canadiens have played shorthanded over a full game (61:43) without giving up a goal. It would be a big difference-maker if the power play were even a little bit better than abysmal. The Habs went 0-for-16 on the power play for the week and fell to 27th in the league at 12.8%.
…….Brian Gionta had a terrible week. In the games in Boston and Philadelphia he was one of the Canadiens best forwards and still came away with a minus-5 rating. Against the Penguins, he wasn’t as good, but not as bad as the minus-4 that was hung on him. It will take a while for the captain to dig his way out of a minus-9 week.
…….Andrei Kostitsyn came off the injury list Saturday night, leaving six players out of action. If your counting, 14 different players have piled up 123 man-games lost to injury. In the last week the Canadiens passed both Winnipeg and Columbus to take the league lead in that department.
……..Speaking of leading the league, that’s the unlikely position in which Travis Moen finds himself. Moen scored his eighth goal of the season and shares the scoring percentage lead with Toronto’s Clarke MacArthur. Each has 8 goals on 26 shots – a 30.8 percentage. He took scored two goals on three shots over the week. He also hit a goalpost.
……..Josh Gorges got in the way of 13 opposition shots in the week’s four games and took over the league lead in blocked shots with 65 in 24 games, two more than Edmonton defenseman Ladislav Smid. A sign of his growing confidence, Alexei Emelin recorded 21 hits last week and leads all NHL rookies with 59 in 16 games. He’s ranked 14th overall. Erik Cole is tenth on the list with 61.
…….While the Canadiens were missing six players, at the same time their Hamilton farm club was playing Rochester without eleven regulars. As a result, they could only dress sixteen skaters for the game and they lost their eleventh game of the last thirteen. On the Bulldogs injury list are leftwingers Andrew Conboy and Hunter Bishop, centres Olivier Fortier and Gabriel Dumont, right wing Ian Schultz along with defensemen Brendon Nash and Garrett Stafford. Because of the Canadiens injury problems Aaron Palushaj, Frederic St. Denis and Andreas Engqvist are up with the parent club.
……Stars of the Week – Carey Price Played all four games- gave up 11 goals on 129 shots for a save% of .914. Erik Cole – 1 goal 1 assist; plus-3; 17 shots on goal; 13 hits in four games. Josh Gorges – logged 13.09 as a penalty killer; recorded six hits and 13 blocked shots.
…….Up & Comer – Alexei Emelin recorded 21 hits last week and leads all NHL rookies with 59 in 16 games. He’s ranked 14th overall. Erik Cole is tenth on that list with 61.
……Missing in Action – Michael Cammalleri. Something’s wrong. Is it that suspected charley horse injury that kept him out of two games two weeks ago? Suddenly his game has become tentative, even timid at times. After nine shots and a goal in the first two games of the week, he totalled three shots in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh games. Yannick Weber – was on the ice for four of the eleven goals scored on the Canadiens during the week.