Still, Montreal was unable to score, getting shutout 3-0 and going a brutal 0-for-7 on the powerplay.
The swooning powerplay continues to be one the top problems for Montreal this season. And that's no small feat!
But aside from the struggling powerplay, there are a bunch of other interesting storylines surrounding the Montreal Canadiens of late.
This week's roundup takes a look at just a few.
Erik Cole's addition to the Canadiens roster has been the UFA pickup of the season. He is enjoying a sensational year, having already potted 17 goals through 46 games—he's on pace for a 30-goal season.
Cole also leads all Habs point-getters with 33.
Cole's frequent linemate, Max Pacioretty, has had a bit of a different season. He started strong then, after getting suspended for a hit to the head of Kris Letang, looked tentative since his return.
In fact, he looked so tentative that he went 10 games between goals, finally getting back on the scoresheet in a 3-1 win over the Lightning.
Since that goal, Pacioretty looks like a player renewed. He is once again driving to the net with authority and using his speed to make things difficult for the opposition. As a result, he has six points (4G, 2A) and is plus three over the last six games.
Coupled with David Desharnais, who is quietly tied with Tomas Plekanec (31 points) for third overall in team scoring, that line is the Habs most consistent threat night after night.
P.K. Subban trade rumours
If the rumours of Carey Price signing a 7-10 year, $7 million per deal, imminently, and the trade of Michael Cammalleri wasn't exciting enough, there is now talk that Subban could be moved.
I know, I know, there are a lot of rumours floating out there right now. But when TSN 990's Tony Marinaro says Subban is being shopped, you have to believe there is more than just smoke to this rumour.
My HabsAddict.com colleague, Louis Moustakas, went into a lot of the reasons not to trade P.K., and I tend to agree with him.
The caveat, for me, is that if Subban is being shopped it can only be for an elite player. And I mean elite. I'm not talking Tomas Plekanec, I'm talking Ryan Getzlaf. I'm not talking Josh Gorges, I'm talking Shea Weber.
Elite. That is the only way you trade a player as young as Subban who has as much upside. Otherwise, this whole thing is going to hell in a hand-basket real fast.
This is a throw-down!
So it turns out the Habs newest addition, Rene Bourque, can fight.
Bourque played his first game against the Caps since his suspension—Bourque was suspended for five games for elbowing Nicklas Backstrom in the head. Prior to the match, Bourque said that he expected them to come after him and thought he'd have to answer the bell.
Well he was right on both counts and answer the bell he did.
Challenged by Caps tough guy, Matt Hendricks, the two threw down 1:15 into the first period.
Here's the vid:
Ohh man, did that ever not turn out well for Hendricks. When was the last time you saw a Canadiens player drop the gloves and put such a convincing beating on an opponent?
Ya, I can't remember either. It's nice to see some true toughness in the Habs lineup for the first time in years.
So if you haven't heard by now, the Habs have the worst powerplay in the league. I guess that Tomas Kaberle pickup didn't work so well afterall.
I wonder what happened to all the people who flamed me for saying it was a brutal move at the time. Crawled back under their bridges I suspect.
Yes, Kaberle is a better player than Jaroslav Spacek, but he doesn't have a recent track record for helping teams' powerplays.
For more on that see Bruins, Boston.
Kaberle aside, I am left wondering why Coach Cunneyworth isn't mixing it up more on the PP. Rene Bourque, a guy who is big and can crash the net, continues to sit on the outside looking in.
Lars Eller is also a player who isn't getting PP time.
I'd change both of those things up, ASAP. The other thing I'd do is to try Gorges on the point, as suggested by some in the HabsAddict.com commentariat.
He may not have the hardest shot in the league, but it's hard enough. More importantly, however, it's almost always on net. If you watch the times when Gorges shoots it's always a low, hard shot, perfect for generating rebounds and deflections..
Gorges' slappers don't have Subban-like velocity but, as I've said before, accuracy is what is missing from Subban's game.
I don't know, the coach has got to try something so why not give it a shot? What's it going to do, make them lose more games? Somehow, I think that would be a difficult task.
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com and featured columnist on PowerScoutHockey.com. Kamal is also a weekly contributor to the Sunday Shinny segment of The Franchise weekend morning show, on TSN Radio 990 (AM 990), every Sunday from 9 - 10 AM. Listen live at http://www.tsn.ca/montreal/
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(Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images North America)