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
The Canadiens gave it a valiant effort and for a period they were on even footing with the visitors. But there was a nagging feeling that the Bruins were poised to strike. Good teams are like that.
And Boston did just that. Taking advantage of an icing by the Canadiens fourth line, the Bruins iced their top line, one of the best in the NHL. The Habs were no match for Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pasternak, surrendering the winning goal to Torey Krug.
“We know that we have to contain that top line in order to beat that team. They rely heavily on them. They had a lot of opportunities to produce and any time a line is feeling it like that. All three guys were in positions to score tonight and they made us pay.” — Max Pacioretty
Boston has an excellent team who just manage to be on a roll, with points in 16 straight (12-0-4) after tonight. They have a solid core of veterans who are complemented by talented, highly-skilled young players. And they are motivated and well-coached.
The Bruins were going nowhere last February when Boston general manager Don Sweeney fired head coach Claude Julien. Following a 6-5 loss on home ice to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Sweeney dropped the hammer fearing that the Bruins playoff chances were quickly slipping away. Since Bruce Cassidy took over behind the bench, the Bruins have had a record of 44-18-9.
Julien was fired by Boston for many of the same problems that are plaguing the Canadiens this season. Julien was a god send for Marc Bergevin ticking some of the right boxes. But in the most important characteristic, being a good match for the talent on the roster, Julien isn’t even close.
Joe Morrow and Nicolas Deslauriers are the two players who have publicly spoken about having the coach’s confidence this season.
We have expressed this thought since the pre-season: the current roster of the Montreal Canadiens is not good enough. And that’s on Bergevin. But Julien has only exacerbated some poor personnel choices and is not getting the best out of the players he has.
Once again the Canadiens blueline was shredded by the Bruins forecheck and cycle game. David Schlemko, Jamie Benn were the worst culprits. But Victor Mete and Jeff Petry also struggled at times.
Up front, there were some flashes of good play involving Max Pacioretty and Paul Byron. But they were the only line to consistently offer scoring opportunities. Alex Galchenyuk and Jonathan Drouin were wasted with Nicolas Deslauriers.
Meanwhile, the two top lines for the Bruins were a threat most every time they were on the ice.
At this point, the Bruins – Canadiens rivalry is not what it once was with two teams headed quickly in opposite directions.
▲ Max Pacioretty, Paul Byron
▼ David Schlemko, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn, Jonathan Drouin, Victor Mete