Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Byron – Hudon
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Drouin – Deslauriers
De La Rose – Froese – L. Shaw
Alzner – Petry
Benn – Jerabek
Mete – Schlemko
Daniel Carr, Joe Morrow
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Phillip Danault – concussion, Andrew Shaw – lower-body
It’s games like the one tonight that conclusively demonstrate that Canadiens fans could never truly embrace the tank.
No matter how liberally one spreads the lipstick, this Canadiens season is a pig. There will be no playoffs in April. So, every loss brings Montreal closer to it’s June goal of a prime draft slot.
But yet, Canadiens fans thoroughly enjoyed their team pulling together to knock off the league’s hottest team. It was one of the more memorable games of the season and a complete effort. Well, as complete as it gets in 2017-18, but let’s try to stay positive.
The Habs game plan was obvious from the drop of the puck as Avs players found red jerseys in their faces immediately. Jeff Petry explained that the message before the game was to “close quickly.”
Canadiens did just that ensuring that the Avalanche were not given the space to generate speed. The Habs forechecked aggressively and outhit the Avs 43-23. The Canadiens won battles all over the ice and used a style of play that accelerated fatigue for a Colorado team that played in Toronto on Monday night.
Montreal completely neutralized the Avs speed.
The home team dominated the faceoff dot and possession, won the special teams battle and received superior goaltending. Apart from the stumbles towards the end of the game that cost Carey Price a shutout, the Canadiens were the better team in each of the three periods.
So why aren’t Habs fans treated to this kind of performance every night? Consistency is one of the things that separates playoff teams from those left on the sidelines come April. Savor this victory and let it fuel your hope for October.
▲ Carey Price, Alex Galchenyuk, Artturi Lehkonen, Jonathan Drouin, Jeff Petry, Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Plekanec, Nicolas Deslauriers
▼ David Schlemko, Byron Froese, Jakub Jerabek, Jordie Benn, Logan Shaw