Forward lines and defense pairings
Galchenyuk – Drouin – Lehkonen
Scherbak – Danault – Gallagher
Byron – De La Rose – A. Shaw
Deslauriers – Froese – Carr
Reilly – Petry
Alzner – Juulsen
Benn – Valiev
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Carey Price – concussion, Charles Hudon – hand, Victor Mete – hand, Max Pacioretty – lower-body, David Schlemko – undisclosed, Antti Niemi – undisclosed
With playoffs out of the picture this season, the Canadiens remaining games can be used for lessons and evaluation.
So what was learned?
The Montreal Canadiens road penalty-kill is the worst in the NHL. They are dead last with a pathetic 69.0 percent success rate.
It means that the Habs have allowed 36 goals shorthanded in 32 away games. That total includes the three goals given up tonight as the Devils enjoyed a 60 percent success rate on the power-play.
It’s rather obvious that no team is going to win many games with that level of difficulty.
Add to that, bad reads, lost battles and an inability to tie up the Devils forwards in the defensive zone, sunk the Canadiens before the clock struck 8 pm. New Jersey had a 4-0 lead after the first period.
It was a tough night on the back end even for the young players like Noah Juulsen and Rinat Valiev.
With the defense struggling all season and the penalty-kill being the worst in the league, one wonders if J.J. Daigneault will be the first out the door on April 9th? Or perhaps Marc Bergevin will use the excuse that Shea Weber’s injury left a hole that he wasn’t able to fill.
But there were several positives for the remainder of the game. Full credit to Charlie Lindgren who received no support in the first period yet continued to battle for the full 60 minutes making several solid saves.
Also, Jacob De La Rose not only picked up two goals but his strong effort was the reason that the goals were scored in the first place.
▲ Jacob De La Rose, Brendan Gallagher, Daniel Carr, Byron Froese
▼ Noah Juulsen, Rinat Valiev, Jordie Benn, Karl Alzner, Nicolas Deslauriers, Jonathan Drouin, penalty-kill