Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
Forwards Jordan Caron (Bruins), Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens) and Milan Michalek (Ottawa Senators) are the three stars for the week in the Northeast for March 2-8.
First Star: Jordan Caron, RW, Boston Bruins: The 21-year-old forward hasn’t had a full-time position with the club this season, instead bouncing between Providence (AHL) and Boston throughout the year. He only has 33 games this season, and what makes his production so impressive over the past week is that he’s produced with limited ice-time. Only Shawn Thornton averages less ice-time than Caron for the Bruins. On average, Caron plays 10 minutes a night, however this past week he’s been hovering around the 12 minute mark. In four games this past week, Caron scored three times and added three helpers for six points.
Second Star: Max Pacioretty, LW, Montreal Canadiens: One of the Northeast divisions breakout players this season has been 23-year-old Pacioretty. Playing on the top line for the Canadiens, Pacioretty scored his 30th goal of the season this week. It’s the first time Pacioretty has scored 30 goals in a season, with Pacioretty being the first player to score 30 in a season for the Canadiens since 2007-08 (Alexei Kovalev – 35 goals). In three games this week, Pacioretty scored four goals and added two assists. He is now the team leader in points with 54.
Third Star: Milan Michalek, RW, Ottawa Senators: Another player who hit the 30-goal mark this week was Michalek. The 27-year-old is heating up with five points in his last two games, but over the past week he’s scored four goals and tallied two assists. He had a natural hat trick against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night. He’s one of the few players in history who scored two of his hat trick goals on an empty net. A veteran of seven years, Michalek surpassed the 50-point mark for the fourth time in his injury riddled career.
Northeast Division Notes
Boston Bruins: Greg Zanon was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s contest with Mike Mottau sliding into the lineup. Brad Marchand was banged up late in the third period, but isn’t expected to miss any time. Milan Lucic hit the 50-point mark for the second straight season with an assist on David Krejci’s goal. The Bruin’s 3-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres was the first time since January 12th that team has won two games in a row. Max Sauve, who was on emergency recall, was returned to Providence (AHL) on Thursday. The Bruins will host the Washington Capitals at 1:00pm on Saturday, then head to Pittsburgh on Sunday to start a three-game road trip.
Buffalo Sabres: Jonas Enroth got the start against the Bruins on Thursday. He hasn’t won a game since November 26th, despite having made 11 appearances since then. His last start came on February 13th vs. the Philadelphia Flyers. Jason Pominville scored his 25th goal of the season in Thursday’s game, while Tomas Vanek left the game with an upper-body injury. Buffalo will travel to Ottawa on Saturday.
Montreal Canadiens: Peter Budaj was given the nod in net for the Canadiens on Thursday night. He turned aside 24 of 27 shots in the 5-3 win. It was Budaj’s 10th game of the season. P.K. Subban had one goal and two assists vs. Edmonton on Thursday. He now has two straight seasons of at least 30 points. Pacioretty is the first American-born player to score 30 goals for Montreal (Gomez held the previous goal record for Americans at 29). Scott Gomez returned to the lineup after missing two games with an eye injury, while David Desharnias left the game with a lower body injury. The Canadiens will continue their Western road trip with a stop in Vancouver on Saturday.
Ottawa Senators: Ben Bishop was solid in his second start with the Senators, turning aside 25 of 26 shots for the 4-1 win on Thursday. The Senators only managed seven shots in the first 40 minutes vs. the Rangers, but fired 15 in the third period. Jason Spezza notched his 29th goal and 73rd point of the season on Thursday. It’s the highest point total since the 2008-09 season for Spezza, when he scored 73 points in 82 games. Craig Anderson is making progress on his injury, the bandages on his cut have been removed. Ottawa will play host to the Sabres on Saturday.
Toronto Maple Leafs: With Cody Franson potentially out for Saturday’s game, expect Luke Schenn to slot back into the lineup; ditto for Matthew Lombardi with Mike Brown out. Both Schenn and Lombardi were healthy scratches in Wednesday’s game vs. Pittsburgh. This weekend’s games will see the Philadelphia Flyers travel to Toronto on Saturday, and then the Maple Leafs will head to Washington for a rare evening game at 5:00pm on Sunday.