Forward lines and defense pairings
Scherbak – Danault – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Drouin – Gallagher
Byron – De La Rose – L. Shaw
Deslauriers – Froese – A. Shaw
Benn – Petry
Alzner – Juulsen
Reilly – Schlemko
Rinat Valiev, Daniel Carr
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Carey Price – concussion, Charles Hudon – hand, Victor Mete – hand, Max Pacioretty – lower-body
Even if you are cheerleading the tank brigade, no honourable Habs fan wants to see their team lose to the Boston Bruins. And most certainly when a loss allows those bitter rivals to complete the four-game season sweep of the Canadiens.
It’s little consolation that Montreal managed to hold off one of the league’s top-5 teams for 57:15. It’s a 60-minute game (and sometimes a little longer) and those end of period goals count just the same.
So it has to be frustrating when lazy plays like firing a puck over the glass, or unfocused plays like losing a stick are the reason that the Canadiens did not leave Boston with a victory. It is attention to the details that are the mark of a winning team.. and Montreal is not a winning team.
With the shot attempts at 88-45, heavily favoring the Bruins, the only reason that the Canadiens were in this game was goaltending. That’s been a familiar refrain whether it has been the stellar work of Carey Price, the poised-beyond-his-years Charlie Lindgren or the rather unconventional-but-effective-for-now Antti Niemi.
The overtime goal aside, Niemi was outstanding in this game making 48 saves.
But whether it was Antti tonight, or Carey and Charlie next season, the Canadiens need more than a strong goaltending tandem. Montreal got inspired performances from Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, Artturi Lehkonen and Jacob De La Rose up front.
Now if only the promised superstar would look like he is interested in putting in an effort. Instead, Jonathan Drouin’s night featured a handful of giveways, a 5-for-15 performance at the faceoff dot, a careless late penalty that led to the tying goal and a lazy coverage effort in overtime that resulted in the winning goal.
The problems on this team are more than Drouin, but his play/effort level is in need of a major fix.
On a completely different note, there was some rich irony in hearing Claude Julien complain loudly post-game about embellishment by the Bruins.
▲ Brendan Gallagher, Alex Galchenyuk, Noah Juulsen, Artturi Lehkonen, Antti Niemi, Jacob De La Rose, Karl Alzner
▼ Jonathan Drouin, Byron Froese, Phillip Danault, Andrew Shaw, Logan Shaw, Nicolas Deslauriers