Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Drouin – Galchenyuk
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Hemsky
Byron – Danault – Shaw
Hudon – De La Rose – Gallagher
Mete – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Morrow – Benn
Brandon Davidson, Torrey Mitchell
David Schlemko – hand (mid-November)
Between 1956 and 1960. the Montreal Canadiens won five consecutive Stanley Cups. But none of those teams registered 30 shots on goal in a period.
On February 5, 1977 against the L.A. Kings, the powerful 1976-77 Canadiens recorded 27 shots in a period. They were the same team who lost only eight games that season. And up to now, 27 shots in a period was the team record. It also happened on two other occasions in 1973 versus the Philadelphia Flyers and in 2015 against the Ottawa Senators.
So, how in the world does the motley crew who has not yet won a game in regulation set a franchise record for shots in a period? The Canadiens outshot the Ducks 30-10 in the second period scoring twice on goals from Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher.
On first glance, this game was bizarre. The Ducks dominated the first period outshooting the Habs 21-7 taking a 3-0 lead to the first intermission. They also ran the Canadiens out of the rink, crushing their smaller opponents physically and spending far too much time in Carey Price’s crease.
Montreal came out flying in the second making a game of it. But the Ducks turned the tables again in the third reasserting their control.
It is not easy to find a simple explanation for such a topsy-turvy game. But here is what we know.
We know by now from eight games in the pre-season and seven games in the regular season that the Canadiens record is not the result of bad luck, a tough schedule or a slow start. There are systemic issues with this team.
All of the many poor decisions have finally caught up with Marc Bergevin. His mishandling of negotiations, his bad signings and poor trades are being felt. His failure to re-sign Andrei Marlov and Alexander Radulov combined with his ‘swing for the fences’ strategy on gambles like Mark Streit and Ales Hemsky have been very, very costly.
Lifting a potential home-town hero from the third line/doghouse of the Tampa Bay Lightning hasn’t yielded the promised bountiful goal harvest. Jonathan Drouin looks completely lost. And the ‘better defense than last year’ defense has been a disaster each and every game.
So how does a team with so many problems muster 30 shots in a period to set a record? Simple: sheer will and pride.
These players care, deeply. They were thoroughly embarrassed in the first period. And they were angry.
They summoned everything they had in the second period to go out and dominate the Ducks. But the truth is that they just don’t have the talent on the team to do that for 60 minutes a game. The general manager has seen to that.
Once Brandon Montour scored the fourth Ducks goal early in the third period, the roof fell in on the Habs. Anaheim scored twice more in quick succession. Keep in mind, the Ducks were missing eight regulars due to injuries.
Brendan Gallagher seemed shell-shocked as he spoke in the dressing room after the game saying “We’re not going to win many games if we don’t figure it out right away.”
Are you listening Geoff Molson?
The first step positive step would be to remove himself as President and find a replacement in the mold of a Brendan Shanahan. In other words, a hockey person. But even more pressing right now is to accept the resignation of Marc Bergevin. And do it quickly before the general manager completes a panic trade in a desperate attempt to keep his job.
At 1-6-1, this is the worst start to a season since 1941. Your move, Geoff.
▲ Max Pacioretty, Shea Weber, Phillip Danault
▼ Jonathan Drouin, Joe Morrow, Jordie Benn, Karl Alzner, Alex Galchenyuk