Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Drouin – Byron
Galchenyuk – Danault – Shaw
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Gallagher
Deslauriers – Froese – Carr
Alzner – Petry
Benn – Schlemko
Morrow – Lernout
Jacob De La Rose, Charles Hudon, Jakub Jerabek
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Al Montoya – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body
The Canadiens were not in this game from the drop of the puck.
It’s cliche to say that goaltending kept the Habs in it but that phrase did not apply on this night. While Antti Niemi made some solid saves, he did allow a weak goal to Connor McDavid who scored with a low shot from well out. And the feeling hung in the air, that Niemi was primed to allow the next one even when the Habs threatened.
Not that this game was about goaltending. Not at all. The team in front of Niemi could not handle the Oilers speed. From Jonathan Drouin to Joe Morrow, most Canadiens were guilty of turnovers and getting caught flatfooted by Edmonton forwards.
Was it a case of tired legs after playing the night before? Not likely. The Oilers were simply better in every aspect of the game but especially control of the neutral zone. Edmonton was able to generate speed in mid-ice and attack Habs defenders with the speedometer buried.
The Canadiens are now 25th in the NHL standings. They are six points out of the wild card positions currently occupied by the Rangers and Islanders. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Carolina are ahead of the Habs. Montreal’s next game will be in Carolina on Wednesday when they will face the Hurricanes.
▼ Joe Morrow