Welcome back to Tank Score loyal readers and true believers! The Montreal Canadiens took the New York Rangers into the shootout before losing another 4-3 contest on Thursday night. The tank remains in neutral, but let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and everything in between.
What else is there to say about the continued efforts from the Canadiens’ fourth line? Alex Belzile has goals in three straight games, and Chris Tierney grabbed another assist, this time on a short-handed goal by Josh Anderson.
The fourth line wasn’t just “good,” it crushed the Rangers at five-on-five, and in fact the Canadiens as a whole held the Rangers in check across the board.
Which brings me to my next good point of the game: Kaiden Guhle was a star in his return from injury. He scored a goal in the opening 35 seconds and nabbed the primary assist on Alex Belzile’s fourth goal of the year.
It wasn’t the best night for Nick Suzuki or Jesse Ylönen, as both struggled to make the impact they’re capable of. However, in Suzuki’s defence, he played the second-most minutes on the team at 25:29 in all situations — nearly six minutes less than Mike Matheson, however.
Also in terms of “the bad” poor Rafaël Harvey-Pinard did just about everything a guy can do without scoring a goal. He’ll bounce back, but it would have been cool to see him keep his run of form going too.
Vancouver winning on Wednesday coupled with Montreal getting a point keeps the Habs locked into the sixth-best odds at first overall. Even with Arizona winning on Thursday night, two points from the Coyotes still keeps Montreal just outside the top five.
It’s another solid tank night at the end of the day as Montreal couldn’t improve beyond sixth place in the lottery standings. While the competition is getting tighter for a lottery spot, the Canadiens have the benefit of one of the hardest remaining schedules.
Teams like Arizona, Anaheim, even Vancouver have much easier schedules, giving the Habs a potential leg up as they look to grab the first overall pick in the summer.
Up next for the team is a final meeting with the New Jersey Devils, who are bolstered by the addition of star forward Timo Meier, on Saturday night.