Game 65, Away Game 34 | Thursday March 3, 2016 
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

2-3

KINGS
Los Angeles

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings: 

Pacioretty- Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – McCarron – Eller
Mitchell – Danault – Byron
Matteau – De la Rose – Brown

Markov- Subban
Emelin – Pateryn
Ellis – Barberio

Goaltenders:

Condon
Scrivens

Scratches:  Victor Bartley, Lucas Lessio, Sven Andrighetto
Injured reserve:  Carey Price, Daniel Carr, Brian Flynn, Jeff Petry, David Desharnais, Tom Gilbert, Nathan Beaulieu

Game Report

The score flattered the Canadiens. It was not reflective of the level of play or where the two teams are in the standings. The Kings got up to a two-goal lead just 3:33 into the game and may have started looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown with the Anaheim Ducks.

With the Canadiens offense already struggling this season, the Kings impressive defensive play had little difficulty stifling them. Montreal had just 15 shots on goal in the game. The visitors were shutdown completely in the third period managing only two shots.

Max Pacioretty described the Kings this way, “I can’t remember a time when I had the puck and didn’t get hit. They’re a great team.”

Post-game, the Montreal media were twisting themselves (and the facts) into knots to change the narrative into one of filled with only  glowing words for P.K. Subban of which even KCNA would be proud. The North Korean Central News Agency has often raised an eyebrow or two for their implausible ‘reports’ (perhaps better described as fairy-tales.)

It was a bit of a mixed bag for P.K. Subban on Thursday night as he had a goal and an assist in more than 28 minutes of icetime but had a Corsi for of just 37.5 per cent and was committed the turnover that led to the game-winning goal.

The blind cheerleaders in the media trotted out every positive stat for Subban UNRELATED to this game that they could find. And there was the usual silly finger pointing at other players and equipment: Ben Scrivens should have made the save, the skate failed, etc.

The state of Habs goaltending is open for debate but can we not stick to the topic?

Here is the truth: Subban mishandled the puck in the neutral zone with Dwight King pressing him. With Subban losing control, King pokechecked him and was off to the races. On the breakaway, King made a move, opening up Scrivens allowing the L.A. winger to slide the puck between the goaltender’s pads.

Subban made a mistake. A glaring one. And it led to the winning goal. That does not make him a terrible player nor the cause of a disappointing season. But neither should P.K. be immune from critique.

Not wanting to ignite a week-long debate, Michel Therrien took the safe route blaming the gaffe on Subban losing an edge. Not true, but it was easier that way.

It was a game that Therrien decided to dial back on youth. Morgan Ellis, Michael McCarron and Stefan Matteau were all around the 10 minute mark in icetime. McCarron was dropped to the fourth line as the EGG line was reunited. Apparently, Paul Byron is the new Dale Weise as he was promoted to the top line.

The line blender techniques from the head coach were to no avail as the Kings simply controlled the play.

The Canadiens will be in Winnipeg on Saturday to finish up their western road trip.

~~~

▲     Alexei Emelin, Greg Pateryn

▼     Ben Scrivens

 Statistics 
CANADIENS KINGS
15 Shots 31
0 for 2 Power Play 0 for 4
58% Face-offs 42%
12 Penalty Minutes 8
24 Hits 39
37 Corsi For 59
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (30-29-6) 1 0 1 2
 Kings (38-21-4) 2 0 1 3
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: Subban (6), Eller (11)
  • LAK: Kopitar (19), Pearson (12) King (7)
  • MTL: Scrivens (L) 3-6-0
  • LAK: Quick (W)  32-16-3
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1. Jake Muzzin  LAK
  2. Alec Martinez  LAK
  3. Tanner Pearson  LAK

 Video Highlights 

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien

  • “We can’t really take anything away from our team. We didn’t match their energy level. It wasn’t the same. Without looking for excuses, you can’t forget that we’ve played four games in the last six nights and we were playing a team that hadn’t played since Sunday. When you’re playing a team like that and you’ve got the same energy level as they do, they’re already tough to play against. They’re the best defensive team in the league and I felt that the energy level just wasn’t there for us.”

186237429_slideMax Pacioretty

  • “You know why that team has had so much success, both this year and in the past. They just take away your time and space. Going up against Kopitar and Doughty, I felt like there was no room out there … they just outplayed us tonight.
  • “Tonight was definitely the toughest situation. I think we really left it all out there last night [in Anaheim]. We played a very strong game against a very physical team. It was an emotional battle. Then, we came in tonight and we were very slow off the start.”
  • “(Drew) Doughty has gotta be the best in the league at what he does. He’s just so hard to play against. I think the reason why he’s so good is you don’t notice him out there. He just makes the right play and he makes it really easy for his teammates. Going up against him tonight was very tough.”

Ben Scrivens

  • “I tried to force him to shoot. He opened me up a little bit. I thought he was going around. It was a good goal.”
  • “They came out focused and they executed well early on. It took us a little bit to get into the game. I thought they executed on two well set-up plays.”

Morgan Ellis

  • “I felt good. At the morning skate, you try and get some of the jitters out, but there’s still a lot more to start the game. Once I got my first shift out there, though, I just tried to settle in and play poised and in control. For the most part, it wasn’t too bad [a performance], but there still are some areas to improve on, for sure.”

Kings coach Darryl Sutter

  • “We didn’t give up much. They had just a handful of chances. Three [goals] is enough to win, and they were probably fortunate to get two on us.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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