Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Shaw – Lehkonen
King – McCarron – Martinsen
Markov – Weber
Davidson – Petry
Beaulieu – Emelin
Jordie Benn, Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn, Nikita Nesterov, Steve Ott, Al Montoya
Given that the playoffs are just around the corner, the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning conspired to give us a preview of the type of hockey we may be enjoying by mid-April.
The Lightning are a desperate team are making one last push for a playoff spot. Of the teams remaining on the Canadiens schedule, the Bolts are the most talented. And presented the biggest test.
After clinching a playoff berth, a letdown may have been expected. It didn’t turn out that way, especially with Mr. Saturday Night in goal. Carey Price is reminding folks around the league of what a Vezina-candidate plays like.
After a modest disappearing act, Alexander Radulov has signaled that he is ready for post-season action. Radulov scored the second game-winning goal of his season. Max Pacioretty has emerged from his brief lull as well.
The second line is perhaps the Canadiens most dangerous right now. Both Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher have experienced Lazarus conversions and are playing the best hockey of their seasons.
The defence has benefited from the system of Claude Julien. Can we dream a little of what the unit can be under the tutelage of a true defensive mind after the long-overdue exit of J. J. Daigneault?
It is a cautiously optimistic time for fans as they see the transformation of their team. There may be a bit of a wake up call on the horizon once the Canadiens face some of the giants of the East, who have been honing their games more than a few weeks, with talent and depth beyond what Marc Bergevin has provided. But for now, there is a quiet confidence in Montreal.
▲ Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Plekanec, Paul Byron, Alexei Emelin, Artturi Lehkonen, Shea Weber, Andrei Markov
▼ Brandon Davidson, Jeff Petry, Michael McCarron, Andreas Martinsen