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
When challenged by the head coach this season, the Canadiens, collectively, have responded. Following the 4-1 embarrassing loss in Boston on Wednesday, Claude Julien directed the media to ask players if they had quit on the season.
Canadiens delivered their answer, loud and clear, tonight at the Capital One Arena as they outskated and outworked the home team, who looked rusty coming off their bye week.
The Canadiens effort yielded scoring chances but didn’t easily convert to goal production. When the iron was ringing (at both ends of the ice), a player like Charles Hudon was turning a clear breakaway into no more than a bad pass and an anecdote.
Max Pacioretty led the Habs with two goals and an assist. His strong forecheck and a winning a board battle set up Paul Byron’s goal. Pacioretty now has six goals in his last six games.
The captain has been playing well for six weeks but now the goals are starting to come. Pacioretty met the coach’s challenge, elevated his game and, with a committed effort from most of his teammates, delivered a win.
It was enough, on this night, to defeat the fifth best team in the league. But it’s not enough, on a consistent basis, to contend for a playoff spot. That’s not Pacioretty’s fault.
This team doesn’t have the talent, both at forward and defence. That’s Marc Bergevin’s fault. And the type of hockey played doesn’t match the strengths of the players. Pin that on Claude Julien.
While many of the uninformed, hysterical fans want every player on the roster (apart from media darling Nicolas Deslauriers) sent packing, real change can not take place until Bergevin and Julien are relieved of their duties. It can’t happen fast enough, especially with major decisions looming as the trade deadline approaches.
▲ Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, Artturi Lehkonen, Paul Byron, Antti Niemi
▼ Jonathan Drouin, Charles Hudon, Jeff Petry