The Canadiens entered the week having won four of their lats five games. It was a three game week over five days starting Tuesday with a 3-0 shutout loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets followed by a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Friday and then a 3-2 loss against Ottawa on Saturday at the Bell Centre.
Halpern Checks In -The week’s only win was marked by the play of the line of Jeff Halpern/Mathieu Darche and Benoit Pouliot in Buffalo. The trio had a part in all three goals registering seven scoring points; Pouliot with two goals, Halpern a goal and two assists and Darche with two assists.
What Home Advantage? – Both of the week’s losses were at the Bell Centre and in neither game did the Canadiens play well. Their home ice record falls to 3-3-1. The victory in Buffalo raised their road record to 5-2-0.
Hanging In – The Canadiens remain in first place in the Northeast Division although Boston, two points behind, carry three games in hand. They are third in the Eastern Conference and seventh overall in the league.
Gionta Scores – Brian Gionta ended his eight game goalscoring slump with the last goal of Saturday night’s game against Ottawa. During the drought, Gionta took 39 shots on goal without success. Both of his goals have been scored against Ottawa.
Still Slumping – Scott Gomez – no goals in twelve games. Michael Cammalleri hasn’t scored in six games (14 shots) and has one goal in twelve. Andrei Kostitsyn hasn’t scored in five games
Shooting Blanks – When Jeff Halpern scored at 18:40 of the first period against Buffalo it ended a stretch of 136:02 without a Canadiens goal.
Stars of the Week – Jeff Halpern (1 goal 2 assists, plus-3) Mathieu Darche (2 assists – plus-3, 5 hits) Carey Price – (Eight goals against on 86 shots. .907 save%.)
Looking For Solutions– In the week’s three games Scott Gomez seven different lines. At Various times his leftwingers included Moen, Kostitsyn, Cammalleri, Pouliot, Darche and Lapierre.
The Special Teams – The Canadiens power play continued to fizzle. They were 0-for-8 during 16 minutes of manpower advantage. They again settled in to last place in the league at 6.4% (3/47). The Canadiens continued to take inconvenient penalties. They were shorthanded 13 times in three games, a total of 22:06 giving up 2 power play goals. They rank fifth at 87.9%.
The Week’s Miscellaneous – Shots on Goal – Andrei Markov (10); Andrei Kostitsyn (8). Hits – Kostitsyn (8); Benoit Pouliot (6); Mathieu Darche (5). Blocked Shots – Roman Hamrlik (6); Jaroslav Spacek (4). Faceoffs – Halpern (19 won – 20 lost)
The Week Ahead – Tuesday vs. Vancouver at the Bell Centre; Thursday in Boston; Saturday in Montreal vs. Carolina.