Thursday February 17, 2011
Montreal Canadiens vs. Edmonton Oilers
The Canadiens announced this morning that they have reacquired defenceman Paul Mara from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 5th round pick in 2012. That’s the same 5th round pick they got when they moved Maxim LaPierre to the Ducks earlier this season.
At first glance I found this move a little odd, as Mara’s time in Montreal wasn’t that impressive. 42 GP, 0 G, 8 A, -16 and 48 PIM. Not that great.
As I thought about it a little more, I realized that Mara was only playing on this Canadiens team for the first half of the season, when everyone was new, and hadn’t gelled into the playoff team that stole the hearts of the nation in last years run to the Conference Finals. Maybe this is a shot at redemption.
This move also has me a little worried. The clear needs of this Canadiens team are and have been for a while, a offensive puck moving defenseman to replace Markov, and a bruising power forward to play on Gomez’ wing. The move to obtain Mara doesn’t address either of these needs and has me wondering if perhaps the “hush hush” injury to Todd Gill is a little more long term than originally thought. While Montreal has exceeded expectations by remaining in the playoff picture while losing 4 of their top defenders and Mike Cammalleri to injuries, Gill is a proven playoff hero, and would be sorely missed were he to be out for an extended period.
- Andrei Markov (Torn ACL-out indefinitely)
- Josh Jorges (out indefinitely)
- Mike Cammalleri (Shoulder)
- Hal Gill
- Jaroslov Spacek
- Gilbert Brule
Keys to the Game
This game is VERY important to this Habs team. After blowing a 2 goal lead against the Sabres on Tuesday night, the Habs begin a 3 game western road swing that includes the outdoor Heritage Classic in Calgary on Sunday afternoon.
All points are crucial and this team needs to figure out how to win on the road. While excelling at home (19-7-6) they have struggled on the road (12-13-1) If they remain on the trend they have been on, the playoffs will yield more road games than home and now is the time to learn how to win there.
Montreal 4 – Edmonton 2