MONTREAL - The Bulldogs players are doing their best to resemble their canine counterparts, fending off all intruders coming in to steal points from them in Hamilton. The ‘Dogs have lost only one game in regulation in their past seven outings, holding the opposition off the scoresheet in four of those contests.
The Bulldogs know how to defend their own zone, but they’re no strangers to mounting an attack of their own either, outscoring their opposition 25 to 10 in that span. Leading the way for the baby Habs has been Ryan Russell, who has been flexing some major offensive muscle in the past few games.
Prior to yesterday’s tilt, Russell was tied for the team lead in scoring with eight goals, sitting atop the leaderboard with fellow snipers Brock Trotter and David Desharnais
. The 22-year-old center has posted at least a point in each of the Bulldogs’ last five games, before yesterday's contest, including four straight with at least a goal.
Only one other AHL player has managed to light the lamp in more games than Russell this year, with Providence Bruins rookie Jamie Arniel enjoying a six game scoring binge from November 14 to 25.
As head coach Guy Boucher has stressed, strong offense comes from solid defense, an adage Russell and his teammates have taken to heart. Boasting a plus-7 differential, good enough for third among all Hamilton forwards, Russell sits behind only Trotter (plus-10) and Mathieu Darche
(plus-8) and standout blue-liner P.K. Subban
(plus-14) in that category.
If Russell ever needs an extra shot of motivation to keep filling the opposition’s net, he could always look to his twin brother Kris, currently suiting up for the Columbus Blue Jackets. During their childhood full of brotherly love and competition, the Russell boys grew up playing on competing Junior teams, lining up against each other in the WHL and adding a little more fuel to the good-natured fire between them.
With one brother already making his mark in the big leagues and the other not far behind, the twins can’t wait to face off against each other on an even bigger stage. In the meantime, Ryan will keep doing his thing in Hamilton, leading the Bulldogs to the top of the pack. Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.See alsoQuiet on the set! Annnd ACTION! My Playlist: Hal Gill Benoit Pouliot to the Hamilton Bulldogs for conditioning purposes