Forward lines and defense pairings:
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Desharnais – Weise
Fleischmann – Eller – Byron
De la Rose – Mitchell – Flynn
Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Barberio
Scratches: Devante Smith-Pelly, Greg Pateryn, Victor Bartley
Injured reserve: Carey Price, Tom Gilbert
On Wednesday, the Powerball reached a record $1.6 billion to become the biggest jackpot in U.S. history. Odds of winning the lottery were 1 in 292 million or just slightly better than David Desharnais scoring a power-play goal.
Three winners will share the top prize on tickets sold in Florida, Tennessee and California. But there were no winners in Missouri. It’s unfortunate because coach Michel Therrien is still waiting for his good fortune to arrive.
And while he does, the Canadiens continue to drop in the standings. To end his post-game presser Therrien said, “Puck luck is not on our side.”
After Saturday’s game, Montreal now clings to the final wild card spot in the Eastern conference. A team that Habs fans like to scoff at, the Philadelphia Flyers, is only four points back with three games in hand.
So when Max Pacioretty says, “A good team would have won that game, an average team would have won that game,” he’s right. It may be hard for fans to hear but that doesn’t make it any less true. Since the 9-0-0 start the Canadiens stumbled to a 14-18-4 record.
That’s not good enough to be a playoff team.
In this game, the Habs were primarily a one line team. Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher had 22 shots on goal and generated two of the three Canadiens goals.
While there was a wide disparity in shots, 5-on-5 scoring chances were much closer at 21-16 for Montreal. The shot total was run up with the man advantage. Although the Canadiens power-play connected for one goal, it was a paltry 1-for-7 on the night including two brief 5-on-3 advantages.
It was a tough night for Mike Condon in the Habs goal. Condon lost track of the puck on the opening goal, missed a floater in the second period and had a communication breakdown with Mark Barberio for the tying goal with just over five minutes remaining in the third. Ben Scrivens has already been announced as the starter against the Blackhawks.
It was also a very difficult game for Desharnais who is unable to compete against the big teams from the West. Desharnais started the game losing coverage on the first Blues goal and ended the contest unable to defend Jori Lehtera on the game-winner. Desharnais had little to offer in almost six minutes of power-play time.
The Canadiens head to Chicago for a game against the Blackhawks on Sunday.
▲ Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty, Alexei Emelin, P.K. Subban, Andrei Markov
▼ Mike Condon, Mark Barberio, Nathan Beaulieu, David Desharnais