Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Danault – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Drouin – Gallagher
Byron – De La Rose – Scherbak
A. Shaw – Froese – Carr
Mete – Petry
Alzner – Juulsen
Reilly – Schlemko
Nicolas Deslauriers, Logan Shaw, Jordie Benn
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Carey Price – concussion, Charles Hudon – hand
A hat trick for Alex Galchenyuk! And yes, hats hit the Barclays Center ice (take note Bell Centre fans.)
For a player so maligned, the 23-year-old Galchenyuk now is the Canadiens co-leader with 39 points. The other player with 39 points is Brendan Gallagher. The pair were finally reunited as linemates for the first time this season.
It makes one wonder what if the Canadiens slotted Galchenyuk at centre, where he is most comfortable, for the season? It also bears asking, what if Habs brass hadn’t taken every opportunity to throw this exceptionally skilled player under the bus publicly this season? And with the numerous line combinations rolled out this year, why weren’t Gally and Chucky paired until game 64?
So many mistakes.
But tonight was a game to celebrate the contributions from the Canadiens under-25 group. And to be very thankful that Montreal sent the correct choice in sending Jaroslav Halak packing when they did.
Starting in the Canadiens net, once again, 24-year-old Charlie Lindgren was outstanding. Lindgren was let down by his teammates allowing goals with six seconds left in the first period and four seconds left in the second. But with 32 saves against a potent Islanders offence, Lindgren had another strong start.
Artturi Lehkonen was a force all game long picking up an assist and a team-high six shots on goal. Lehkonen, 22-years-old, was a phantom goaltender interference call away from his sixth goal of the season.
For those whining about Jacob De La Rose’s lack of offensive potential, let’s hope that you have been paying attention the past few games when he has been given a real opportunity to show his talents. And there is some obvious chemistry between the dynamic pair of 22-year-old De La Rose and 22-year-old Nikita Scherbak.
Noah Juulsen has had a strong NHL start to his career. While 20-year-old Juulsen is generally not known for his offense, he fired a rocket past Halak for his first NHL goal.
And let’s not forget about the newly-acquired Mike Reilly. The 24-year-old puck-moving defenseman had two assists tonight and was a plus-4 in 21 and a half minutes of ice-time.
▲ Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Nikita Scherbak, Jacob De La Rose, Artturi Lehkonen, Noah Juulsen, Mike Reilly
▼ Andrew Shaw, Phillip Danault