|FINAL | Game 69, Away Game 35 | Monday March 12, 2018
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH.
Forward lines and defense pairings
Byron – Drouin – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – De La Rose – Hudon
Lehkonen – Scherbak – A. Shaw
Deslauriers – L. Shaw – Carr
Reilly – Petry
Alzner – Juulsen
Benn – Lernout
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Carey Price – concussion, Victor Mete – hand, Max Pacioretty – lower-body, David Schlemko – undisclosed, Rinat Valiev – lower-body, Phillip Danault – upper body
The Columbus Blue Jackets are 29th in the league on the power-play at a woeful 15.3 percent success rate. But facing the Canadiens, that conversion jumped to over 66 percent, scoring twice on three opportunities.
Montreal has the worst road penalty-kill percentage in the NHL at 68.0. Montreal has given up 40 short-handed goals this season.
But, given that the Canadiens sit at 27th-place in the league, it’s to be expected, right? Then why have bottom-dwelling Edmonton and Arizona allowed just 14 and 15 goals respectively while short-handed on the road.
Where would the Canadiens be in the standings with 25 fewer goals allowed on the road?
The penalty-kill, even more than the power-play, is teachable. Good coaching and systems can offset talent. In this regard, Claude Julien and J.J. Daigneault have been abject failures.
So when asked to explain his poor penalty-kill record on the road, coach Julien pointed the finger at his young goaltender with 16 NHL starts. Julien said that “your best penalty-killer can also be your goaltender” and “Lindy had a bit of a tough night.”
It was a cowardly response from the coach not willing to take responsibility for his own mess. Sadly, Julien wasn’t asked to explain why the penalty-kill has been horrendous in all the other games not started by No. 39.
It is a pattern of behaviour from the coach and general manager that has been prevalent since the beginning of the season. It is yet more evidence that the Canadiens are terrible when it comes to creating conditions for the successful transition of its prospects.
Not to be outdone, the Montreal media wasted no time pouncing on a difficult night for Habs prospect Jacob De La Rose. The tweets flowed railing on De La Rose for his minus-3 rating in the game. Oddly, there was no mention on social media of Charles Hudon, who was also a minus-3.
The dinosaur over at the Gazette wrote, “De La Rose is just not a good hockey player.” But yet somehow found praise for Hudon saying that he is “clever with the puck, works hard on every shift.” Mind you, he is the same person who argued that Raphael Diaz should have been the Habs No. 1 defenceman for many years.
In a difficult year, struggling players bear the brunt of the anger from demoralized fans. And with good reason. In organizations with good management, those players are sent packing. But can the same be said about incompetent coaches (with lengthy contracts) and media?
▲ Brendan Gallagher, Artturi Lehkonen
▼ Charles Hudon, Jordie Benn, Jacob De La Rose, Alex Galchenyuk
|NHL Three Stars|
|Post-game Press Conference|
Quotes courtesy of NHL.com
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