David Booth had quite the night writes the Athletic’s Katie Strang (subscription required). Booth, who was signed to a PTO after sending general manager Ken Holland an email, has been a healthy scratch for most of the season. Last night, the 33-year-old journeyman netted two goals in a 4-3 Red Wings loss. The second goal tied the game after the Wings fell behind 3-1, gave the team a surge of energy, and nearly potted a hat trick for Booth just seconds later. After two seasons in the KHL that Booth describes as “two very tough years,” returning to the NHL with the team he grew up idolizing seems like a dream come true. A scrappy, “lunch-pail” type player, Booth is trying to follow in the footsteps of former Red Wings–Mikael Samuelsson and Dan Cleary–who struggled to find a niche until landing in Detroit.
- Should a few losses be a cause for concern in Tampa Bay? The Tampa Bay Times Joe Smith notes that while the Lightning locker room is frustrated, they’re hardly panicking. Smith offers a few bits of advice for the team, specifically getting out to a better start as the Bolts have struggled to start strong. Nikita Kucherov has also cooled off, and teams are keying on him as expected. Smith adds that keeping things simple, instead of trying to “out-skill” teams every game. A team as sound, deep, and skilled as the Lightning will certainly face bumps in the road. It’s keeping a level head, and sticking to simplicity that should bring them out of prolonged slumps.
- The Montreal Canadiens have a big week in front of them writes the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey, and it will most likely determine where the Habs truly stand. With a home-and-away series with division rival Detroit, Montreal has a chance to surpass Detroit in the standings by taking at least three of four points when the two teams play. Columbus and Ottawa are the other two foes in the four game stretch. Columbus proves to be an effective gauge in how the Habs fare against a playoff contender while the Sens are another inter-division game that can yield crucial points. Hickey adds that the fourth line–who is just one of many culprits in Montreal’s inability to score, has been “stunningly” inefficient. To gain any traction in the standings–and ultimately the season–the Canadiens will need to see more from their depth lines.