This is true as we enter the Olympic break.
And it will be true until at least 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 26:
Your Montreal Canadiens are undefeated in the Dale Weise Era.
Post hoc ergo propter hoc (Google it) is a logical fallacy. But the facts are indisputable.
This is what has happened since Weise was obtained in the trade that sent Raphael Diaz to Vancouver:
• In his Canadiens debut on a line with Ryan White and Michäel Bournival, Weise played 12:45 and had three shots on goal and three hits in a 2-0 win against Calgary.
• In a 5-2 skunking of his old team, Weise assisted on White’s first goal of the season.
• And in the last game before the break, With seven defencemen dressed and Max Pacioretty lost to injury after six shifts in the first period, Weise played 14:02 and had two hits, two takeways and two blocked shots while playing with a variety of linemates.
Will the Canadiens go 26-0 with Dale Weise in the lineup?
Of course not.
But let’s celebrate the pro scouting department getting something right.
Nathan Beaulieu’s impressive showing in his latest call-up rendered Diaz expendable. In return, Marc Bergevin got a young, physical winger who has good size and can skate.
Weise has combined with White (whom he knew from Manitoba minor hockey) and Bournival to form an unspectacular-but-solid fourth line. Michel Therrien can use them for double-digit minutes , which creates a ripple effect through the forward lines.
White is also deployed on the penalty-kill and defensive-zone faceoffs. He lost a D-zone draw in Carolina, but the second-period sequence ended up with White scoring the game-winning goal – the first time in his NHL career he has scored in consecutive games. He also assisted on Brian Gionta’s empty-netter.
The absence of Bournival, who was concussed early in the Vancouver game Thursday night, and the injury to Pacioretty forced Therrien into some creative line-juggling. The coach got got good performances from the wingers who bounced around – particularly Rene Bourque, who has been playing some of his best hockey as a Canadiens since trade rumours about him circulated two weeks ago.
Bourque took Pacioretty’s spot on a line with Brendan Gallagher and David Desharnais. He drew a nifty assist on the first of two goals DD scored against Carolina.
Desharnais had one point in the first 18 games he played this season. Since then – and after being a healthy scratch for a couple games – DD has 31 points in 38 games.
He has his detractors. Their critiques can be summarized as the the opinion that a small, undrafted centre cannot lead an NHL team to the promised land.
Perhaps not. That will be Alex Galchenyuk’s job.
But with the promised land just faintly visible on the distant horizon, David Desharnais and Tomas Plekanec are the best centres on the team. And with White solifying his role on the fourth line, I’m starting to wonder whether Lars Eller will be part of the Canadiens future.
I like Eller. He has nice size and has learned how to to use it.
But this Dane is taking a long time to be anything near great. And you wonder about Eller’s hockey IQ.
Desharnais and White scored scored within 1:25 late in a second period dominated by the Hurricanes. Carolina outshot the Canadiens 14-8; but after his turnover opened the door to Drayson Bowman’s goal early in the period, Carey Price did what he does a lot lately: He stopped everything.
Price has allowed seven goals in his last six starts. He’s stopped 167 of the 174 shots he’s faced in that span, a save percentage of .960.
Sochi, here he comes … along with his friend P.K. Subban.
Price is a cinch to start at least some games for Canada.
Subban? We’ll see.
P.K. has not been P.K. lately. The hot-doggery has become a bit cloying, and he’s making mistakes on the back end.
The Canadiens will need Subban at his best when the NHL schedule resumes.
Detroit visits the Bell Centre Feb. 26, and the Canadiens – with eight players back from Olympic duty – visit Pittsburgh the following night.
Nine of 15 games in March are on the road – including a tough western trip to L.A., Anaheim, Phoenix and San Jose. The month also includes three back-to-backs.
But let’s postpone the fretting for a couple weeks and enjoy what the Canadiens have accomplished. They’ve taken 11 of a possible 14 points since their season bottomed out in that gruesome 5-0 loss to Washington; and hands up everyone who thought this team would be in third-place in the Atlantic Division with 70 points at the Olympic break.
Go Canada Go!