There were two big reasons that the Montreal Canadiens found themselves in overtime against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. One of them was the stellar play of Jake Allen, who really settled in and played well after allowing a goal on the first shot he faced.
The other was their fourth line, who weren’t much of a fourth line in that they were the most used trio at even strength for the Habs.
In particular, Rafael Harvey-Pinard was magnificent, and he may be proving that he really belongs in the NHL.
Let’s just take a moment to admire his two goals on the night without too many words from myself. His first, a beautiful bar-down effort while short handed.
RHP Shorthanded bardownski!— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) January 27, 2023
And his second, yet again of the bar-down variety, but this time on the backhand!
Rafaël Harvey-Pinard is absolutely on one tonight.— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 27, 2023
His backhand finishes off a great pass from Michael Pezzetta and it's 3-3! pic.twitter.com/Ia8Q082h61
These two goals were the product of his recognition, speed, and ability to fill the right lane on the rush. On both occasions, he simply makes himself available in a dangerous position, and shows some spectacular finish to boot. Truly impressive stuff from a player in his ninth NHL game over the last two seasons.
I also think Martin St-Louis deserves some credit, as he recognized how well the fourth line with Harvey-Pinard, Michael Pezzetta, and Alex Belzile were playing, and used them more than any other trio at even-strength. He saw what worked, and gave them more opportunities as a result.
He even sent Harvey-Pinard out to start the overtime period on the power play, and while hey didn’t score, their best chance was from the Laval Rocket product. We’re still in small sample territory, but so far it looks like Harvey-Pinard belongs in the NHL. There isn’t much left for him to prove with the Rocket, so it should be interesting to see if this is the beginning of a longer tenure for him in Montreal.
It’s at least going to be very difficult to send him back to Laval even when the team is healthy, and he just might set himself up for a legitimate shot at the roster next year.
Bottom Six Minutes!
Last episode ended up being one of the most downloaded episodes I’ve ever put out, this despite putting it out on an entirely new account. I can’t thank the community enough for continuing to support it through this transitional period.
Here it is on Apple, and I’ll embed the player below. You can also subscribe for free to my substack if you prefer to utilize a web browser over the apps.
If you check out my linktree, you’ll find under the podcast tab all of the different platforms on which the new account is available. If you would consider subscribing on your preferred platform, I will continue well after EOTP meets its maker in March.
À la prochaine!