It’s been 10 days since Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin publicly lauded Charles Hudon. In the four games that the IceCaps have played since then Hudon has been completely held off of the score sheet, facing the second longest points drought of his professional career. It is not likely that the two events are tied to one another, but merely coincidental.
And it’s not just Hudon who has gone cold for the IceCaps since March 1st. The entire top line with Chris Terry and Nikita Scherbak has also completely ground to a standstill, earning only three goals and two assists combined in four games, with two goals and assist coming from Scherbak. This is a far cry from the line that smothered opposition in February with 19 goals and 27 assists in 12 games. It’s worth noting that despite the scoring slump, Terry and Hudon still lead the team in shots in March, with 15 and 12 respectively.
Opponents have perhaps finally realized that checking this line real hard is the key to victory, because the rest of the IceCaps forwards who played in February, 13 of them, only managed 16 goals and 21 assists.
As a result the current IceCaps road trip draws to a close this week-end with the team having won only two critical divisional games out of four, without the expected offensive contribution from Hudon and Terry, who propped up the team on their shoulders so often this season. Sitting out of a playoff position at the moment, each of divisional games is a must-win, so the IceCaps will need to find new ways of winning, and that will need to come from a dried-out secondary offence, and a much tighter defensive system that has allowed 3 or more goals in 13 of the last 20 games.
Friday, March 10th @ Rochester Americans
This will be the sixth match-up between these two teams this season, with the Icecaps holding the season lead with three wins, one regulation loss, and one overtime loss. The last time these two teams played was last week, as part of the IceCaps first game of the current road trip, a shut-out win by the team of Sylvain Lefebvre.
It was Charlie Lindgren’s third shutout of the season, with goals from Brett Lernout, Scherbak, and Jacob de la Rose.
The IceCaps will have to find a way to once again neutralize the potent offense of Cole Schneider (19 goals) and Nick Baptiste (20 goals), but at least they won’t need to contend with Cal O’Reilly who was loaned to the Toronto Marlies for the remainder of the season. Linus Ullmark has been an iron man in goal for the Americans, playing 45 of the team’s 60 games.
Here are the highlights from the last time these two teams met.
Saturday, March 10th @ Syracuse Crunch
The IceCaps end their road trip with a return to Syracuse to play the division leaders who beat them in a mid-week tilt earlier this week. They’ll need to find a way to beat Crunch goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis, who made 25 saves, as well as stop the surging Cory Conachar, who pounded the IceCaps for two goals and two assists.
Lindgren was beaten for three goals in the loss which is no longer considered an outlier performance, but an alarming trend of allowing three or more goals in 7 of his last 10 starts. Max Friberg and Stefan Matteau managed to beat Gudlevskis, but it was not enough to beat the Crunch.
This will be the eighth and final meeting between the two teams this regular season, with the IceCaps winning once in regulation, twice in extra time, and losing four times. In a potential first round playoff preview, the IceCaps will have to absolutely stand toe to toe and prove that they deserve to make the post-season.
Here are the highlights on this past week’s game.
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