Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Byron – Hudon
Galchenyuk – De La Rose – Drouin
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Gallagher
Deslauriers – Froese – Carr
Alzner – Petry
Benn – Jerabek
Mete – Schlemko
Logan Shaw, Joe Morrow
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Phillip Danault – concussion, Andrew Shaw – lower-body
For about the first five minutes, the Canadiens were in this game. They were on the receiving end of ‘puck luck’ (say it like Therrien would) as Jakub Jerabek scored his first NHL goal, deflecting in off Zdeno Chara’s leg, just 31 seconds from the opening faceoff.
The Bruins tied the score on a tic-tac-toe passing play just shy of seven minutes into the contest. Defenseman Jeff Petry essentially stopped playing after his stick became stuck in the glass.
At the 7:43 mark, the Canadiens registered their sixth shot on goal (to the Bruins three.) Montreal would not get their next shot on Tuukka Rask until well into the second period, more than 18 minutes without a shot on goal.
The Habs managed just 22 shots in the game. Although he wasn’t busy at all, Rask received a mercy star from the Boston media. It likely had something to do with his 1-9-3 home record against the Canadiens coming into the game.
The score, as one-sided as it was, flattered the Habs. If not for Carey Price, the result would have been humiliating. Price was solid, the only Montreal player who showed up for this one.
In his post-game presser Claude Julien said that he still believes the playoffs are in reach referencing goaltender Andrew Hammond carrying the 2014-15 Ottawa Senators to a playoff position.
That would be the same Andrew Hammond who had a 4.08 goals against average and an .837 save percentage for the Senators last season. This year, Hammond hasn’t made it out of the AHL where he has a 3.34 goals against and a .900 save percentage.
It was one of those statements that coaches sometimes make hoping that no one in the press corps is listening too carefully. Since Price’s return from injury goaltending has not been an issue for the Canadiens.
Everything else has been, including coaching.
While it is tempting to feel sorry for Julien, especially on his emotional return to TD Garden, he is knee-deep in this mess. His systems and game plans have been a disaster. His personnel choices and line combinations have been, puzzling, to be charitable,
And let’s acknowledge that Julien is partly responsible for this roster. In some cases, Marc Bergevin has acquired the players/type of players he requested.
When asked by Eric Engel’s if players on the team have quit, Julien replied, “I think those are questions you guys need to ask the players, not the coach. I can’t answer for them. It’s important for you guys to ask the right people, that’s part of your job. My job is to tell you that we weren’t good enough tonight and we need to be better, and I think that’s my responsibility. I need to get this team to play better, and no matter what they’re thinking they need to change their approach — if that’s the case.”
That’s all the Canadiens need now, a little public division between the head coach and his players. Sounds like it will be a fun flight to D.C.
▲ Carey Price
▼ David Schlemko, Jonathan Drouin, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn, Jakub Jerabek, Victor Mete, Alex Galchenyuk, Byron Froese, Paul Byron