Forward lines and defense pairings:
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Eller – Galchenyuk – Andrighetto
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Byron
Carr – Mitchell – Flynn
Beaulieu – Pateryn
Barberio – Emelin
Scratches: Jarred Tinordi, Devante Smith-Pelly, Jeff Petry
Injured reserve: Carey Price, Tom Gilbert, Dale Weise
After a rough start, the Canadiens played well going toe-to-toe with the reigning Stanley Cup winner only to come up short. After giving up a bad angle goal to Ryan Garbutt in the first period, Mike Condon was strong the rest of the way. The Habs deserved a better fate.
With the cliche-filled synopsis out of the way, let’s look at something more genuine. Because while all of the above is true, at no time in this game did it feel like the Canadiens were going to pull out a win. Bell Centre fans were restless throughout as the Habs struggled to find their game, but that feeling didn’t disappear even when they turned up the effort level in the third period.
Put simply, the home team couldn’t afford to go into a game unprepared against the Hawks, who were riding an eight-game winning streak. Add to that, Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford who was salivating at the prospect of playing the team of his birthplace. It is particularly unacceptable given that the coaching staff had all week to practice and game plan to get ready for the Blackhawks.
The Canadiens rebounded after the first period intermission developing momentum throughout the second period. Was a third period comeback possible? Not so fast.
Cue Michel Therrien who promptly dismantled the lines. Yes, including Alex Galchenyuk, Lars Eller and Sven Andrighetto who had looked strong all game. And you won’t be surprised to know that David Desharnais’ had just under five minutes more ice time than Lars Eller.
Still wondering why the Habs can’t score?
Has Marc Bergevin done enough to stock the roster with top-6 talent? No, that is clear. But there is no debate that Therrien has not gotten the best out of the players in his lineup.
The Canadiens head to St. Louis for a date against the Blues on Saturday.
▲ Mike Condon, Lars Eller, Alexei Emelin, Paul Byron, P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov
▼ Nathan Beaulieu, Brendan Gallagher