4/4/12 Studs & Duds
It was a light schedule tonight with only two games going on, the Detroit Red Wings were in St. Louis to take on the Blues. While the Tampa Bay Lightning were in Montreal to square off against the Canadiens.
Pacioretty pounds Bolts
Max Pacioretty is looking to finish his season with a bang and he certainly did his part Wednesday night against Tampa. Pacioretty increased his goal total to 32 with two goals, added an assist, was a plus-4 and had four shots on net. After a scary incident last year involving Zdeno Chara and the stanchion, Pacioretty has come back with a vengeance for Montreal. The 23-year old winger now has 63 points this season and will be an integral part of the Habs moving forward.
Desharnais keeps dishing for Habs
David Desharnais has benefited from the terrible play of Scott Gomez, trade of Michael Cammalleri and inconsistent play by Tomas Plekanec. He has formed a very productive line with Erik Cole on his right side and Pacioretty on his left. Desharnais collected two more assists to increase his point total to 60 and he was also a plus-3 in the game.
Cole carries Habs
Erik Cole just keeps producing as he scored two more goals against Tampa and fired six shots on net as well. Cole has enjoyed his first season in Montreal and will look to lead by example as the Canadiens are now a rebuilding team. With 34 goals and 25 assists, he's been everything the Canadiens wanted and more. I bet some teams are regretting not giving him a shot, right?
Plekanec posts 2 points against Lightning
Its been a tough season for Tomas Plekanec, he's seen David Desharnais overtake him as his teams number one centre and only has 52 points this season at this point. He's also a minus-17, which doesn't help matters either. However, Plekanec collected two assists on Wednesday night and finished with a plus-1 rating. Everyone knows he can be better, it will be interesting to see what the Canadiens do with Plekanec going forward now that they're rebuilding.
Franzen fires at will for Detroit
He's hard to stop, just like a mule. The mule is the perfect name for Johan Franzen and he lit up the Blues Wednesday night. Franzen fired six shots on goal, scored on two of them and he finished with a plus-2 rating. Franzen has enjoyed a healthy season for the Red Wings, which isn't something that happens very often. He now has 28 goals and 27 assists this season, but the best could be still to come as the Red Wings prepare for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Bertuzzi betters Elliott
Todd Bertuzzi was all over the place on Wednesday night and very effective for the Red Wings. He had two assists, was a plus two and made Brian Elliott look silly as he sniped the shootout winner for Detroit. The 37-year old veteran has had a very solid year, with 38 points and a fantastic plus-24 rating.
Datsyuk dazzles Blues
Just as the Blues thought they could vend off the Red Wings, Pavel Datsyuk showed them just what they were dealing with. Datsyuk was flat out dominant, posting two assists, with a plus-2 rating and four shots on goal. He continues to be very close to a point per game player and the only thing holding him back this year has been injuries. Datsyuk has 66 points in 68 games this season.
Howard heating up
Jimmy Howard hasn't had the best second half for Detroit, but he's dealt with his own injuries and other key teammates being out as well. The Red Wings are healthy now and Howard shut the door on the Blues after allowing two goals in the third period. He was brilliant in the shootout, stopping David Perron, Andy McDonald and T.J. Oshie. If he can stay healthy, the Red Wings have as good a chance as anyone to contend for the Stanley Cup this season.
Perron producing for Blues
Its been an abbreviated season for David Perron, but the slick winger has made the most of the time he's been healthy. He scored a short handed goal on Wednesday night, bringing him up to 20 goals on the year. Perron has 41 points in 55 games and is always dangerous for the Blues.
Caron can't follow up vs. Habs
After a nice debut by Sebastien Caron, he just wasn't very good against the Canadiens on Wednesday. Caron allowed five goals on 25 shots, which wasn't anything near his performance against the Winnipeg Jets. Some would argue the Jets are a better team and they only scored two goals on 28 shots against Caron. You have to think this is just a late season flyer by Steve Yzerman just to see how Caron will fair in the NHL.
Stamkos stymied by Montreal
Steven Stamkos had four shots on net, finished with 0 points and blew an opportunity to add to his goal totals. You're facing Peter Budaj, the Habs backup goalie, the Lightning as a team only had 16 shots on him the whole game. That's just not good enough and there's a reason they won't be making the playoffs this season. Stamkos has two games left to join the likes of Pavel Bure, Teemu Selanne and many other NHL legends in the 60 goal club.