1. Phillip Danault makes his debut as a Canadien.
The coaching staff placed Danault on a line with Jacob de la Rose and Paul Byron and was your starting centre on Saturday night. The newbie saw some time with special teams on the penalty kill, and won 82% of his faceoffs over the first two periods.
During the first intermission, he was asked about the trade. "I was kind of surprised when I got traded, but I think everything happens for a reason and I'm not going to look back." It will be interesting to see how he fits in over the last few games of the season.
2. Michael McCarron is a solid player.
McCarron tallied his first NHL point on Saturday, getting an assist on the Devante Smith-Pelly goal. He was named third star of the game and had five shots on goal, with less than ten minutes of ice time.
Word on the street is that McCarron will remain in Montreal for the rest of the season. I like the kid, he's a solid skater who knows how to throw his weight around. I've watched McCarron for a few years now, starting back when he was with the London Knights of the OHL and he is absolutely a solid prospect.
That being said, I'd still love to see Charles Hudon in that spot — or at least a spot — on the team. Hudon has more than proven himself to this organization, and I can only hope that he is given a proper shot. For the record, Hudon has two goals and two assists in his last three games.
3. Alex Galchenyuk still on the wing. The sky is blue, water is wet.
Look, the kid produces no matter where he plays, let's be honest. Case in point: early on in the first period Galchenyuk scores a beautiful goal from a tough angle, his 17th of the season. Chucky's career high is 20, so even during a sub-par offensive showing from his team this season, he has the potential to break that record.
The question lingers, why isn't he being utilized at centre, especially with coach-favourite David Desharnais out with an injury? One would assume that his production would only increase, especially if given wingers as creative as himself.
4. I'm not sure how long we will be a team in transition...
But I am pretty tired of it. How many of our athletes are in their prime playing years? How many of our proespects are NHL-ready but are being kept down in the AHL because we over-value others? This team is ready now, the coaching and development staff clearly doesn't understand that.
5. I'd sell a kidney to move Alexei Emelin right now.
'But...he hits!' Yes. And he creates numerous turnovers that lead to dangerous situations and/or goals against. I know our defense is depleted at the moment, but this is one player who just doesn't belong. I will never change my opinion on this.
Weird that Lars Eller is so bad and has no vision but every line he's on always kicks ass.— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) February 28, 2016
7. Max Pacioretty has been quiet.
There are a few ways fans have responded to this. The first is that he hasn't been given proper support, therefore he hasn't been able to produce. The other reason is that he doesn't have the heart or character to be in a leadership position and it's translating to his on-ice production.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say that odds are, it's the former and not the latter. And though he was quiet once again for most of the game, he showed off his signature quick release with a beauty of a shot which put the Habs up 3-1 mid-way through the third. He followed that up with another goal just a few minutes later.
I'd say there is nothing to worry about.
8. The Habs were good at getting in front of Jonathan Bernier.
And at getting under the Leafs' skin. All in all, a few of the guys were harassing the Toronto goaltender, following in Brendan Gallagher's footsteps. It was refreshing to see the offence rush the net and get in front of Bernier.
It was also your typical Habs-Leafs rivalry night and tempers were high. Oh but what I wouldn't give to see Greg Pateryn and Nazem Kadri face off.
9. The trade deadline looms.
We have just over 24 hours until the trade deadline. The rumours are swirling, especially surrounding Lars Eller. Eller consistently played the most per period of all forwards. Is he being shopped? (God, I hope not.) Will the Habs be a part of any further trades prior to the deadline? What are your thoughts?
10. We still have Les Canadiennes!
I know the odds of the Habs making the playoffs are pretty darn slim, but our favourite gals are fighting their way to the Clarkson Cup as we speak. Be sure to support the local CWHL team as they move forward!