Game 39, Away Game 20 | Tuesday December 29, 2015 
BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

1-3

PANTHERS
Florida

(Photo by Jeff Sanzare/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings: 

Pacioretty – Desharnais – Weise
Eller – Galchenyuk – Carr
Fleischmann – Plekanec – Andrighetto
Flynn – Mitchell – Byron

Beaulieu – Subban
Markov – Petry
Barberio – Pateryn

Goaltenders:

Scrivens
Condon

Scratches:  Devante Smith-Pelly, Jarred Tinordi, Alexei Emelin
Injured reserve:  Brendan Gallagher, Carey Price, Tom Gilbert

Game Report

Michel Therrien was outcoached again tonight. Badly. This time by his former assistant, Gerard Gallant.

It’s also rather clear that despite all the accolades Marc Bergevin doesn’t hold a candle to his former mentor, Dale Tallon. The top-6 talent on the Panthers is superior to the Canadiens and Gallant is pushing all the right buttons to get them to play at their best.

Meanwhile, without Carey Price to cover-up, Therrien has been proven to be nothing more than a stubborn, arrogant ideologue whose most consistent attribute is his ability to strip the confidence of players he rejects. Therrien assembles lines and allocates icetime without regard to merit or accountability.

It is well-known that David Desharnais is one of the coach’s favorites. Therrien plays Desharnais on the top line and on the power-play blind to his lack of talent and fully ignoring his lack of production. Despite being blessed with top linemates and icetime, Desharnais has just two assists in the last 17 games.

It is abundantly clear that Desharnais is no longer an NHL calibre player.

Whether you rely on traditional stats, advanced stats or observational analysis, it was still difficult to adequately express just how poorly Desharnais played on Tuesday. The Canadiens top line centre failed to record a mark on the gamesheet (other than a losing faceoff record.) No goals, assists, shots on goal, missed shots or blocked shots. He was completely irrelevant to the game.

This pathetic performance was in spite of being given 15:06 in icetime including 3:06 of power-play time.

In terms of even-strength Corsi, Desharnais was 1-16. That disparity in shot attempts is a number that is hard to believe is possible. And yet it gets worse. Offensive zone starts for Desharnais were 83.3 percent. In other words, he started almost all of his zone starts in the offensive zone yet could muster nothing.

Bring up Angelo Miceli from the Brampton Beast, the Canadiens ECHL affiliate, and I wager you would see a much better performance. That’s not to say that I’m advocating a call-up for Miceli but instead illustrating the level at which Desharnais is playing.

For comparison here is the Corsi for the other centres: Galchenyuk 19-15, Plekanec 12-11, Mitchell 5-2.

It’s fun for fans to speculate on fantasy hockey style trades as a fix for the lack of Canadiens production. But far more doable would be for a good coach to fully exploit the talent that is already on the roster.

The Canadiens have lost 11 of their last 13 games. Eleven losses in a month (December) is a new franchise record. Do you really believe that this is one of the worst rosters in 106 years or are they not being properly managed?

With the win the Florida Panthers vaulted over the Canadiens to take top spot in the Atlantic Division (and they hold two games in hand.) Boston is just one point behind the Habs with three games in hand. Montreal is just three points out of eighth place is the conference and the final playoff spot.

The Canadiens are a fragile team right now with little confidence. It’s incumbent on the general manager to release the head coach or pull off a significant trade before it is too late.

The Habs will be in Boston on Friday to take on the Bruins in the 2016 Winter Classic.

▲     Ben Scrivens, Alex Galchenyuk, Lars Eller

▼     P.K. Subban, Max Pacioretty, Dale Weise, Greg Pateryn, Mark Barberio, Tomas Fleischmann

▼▼  David Desharnais

 Statistics 
CANADIENS PANTHERS
30 Shots 30
1 for 4 Power Play 1 for 4
59% Face-offs 41%
17 Penalty Minutes 13
28 Hits 32
40 Corsi For 49
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (21-15-3) 1 0 0 1
 Panthers (21-12-4) 1 1 1 3
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: Pacioretty (15)
  • FLA: Barkov (10), Jagr (11), Barkov (11)
  • MTL: Scrivens (L)  0-1-0
  • FLA: Luongo (W)  16-11-3
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1. Aleksander Barkov  FLA
  2. Jaromir Jagr  FLA
  3. Roberto Luongo FLA

 Video Highlights 

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
186237429_slide

  • “[Ben Scrivens] was really, really good. I really liked the way he played.”
  • On Subban’s penalties: “P.K. needs to stay on the ice.”

Max Pacioretty

  • “We should have a lot of energy coming off a win like we did last night and we did have a little bit of energy in the first, but too many Grade A chances and that team is really hot right now, especially their top line. They’re feeling good about their offense. It seems like they were executing on every play.

Ben Scrivens

  • “I feel like I can play at this level. Obviously, things didn’t work out perfectly in Edmonton, but it’s a business, first and foremost. I’m happy to be here in Montreal and try to give the team a chance to win whenever the coach says I’m going that night. Personally, it’s a good challenge, and I think I’m ready. I thought I played pretty well tonight and hopefully I can build off it going forward.”

Panthers coach Gerard Gallant

  • “Scrivens came in and played a great first game in the NHL this year. We had two or three great chances on the first couple of shifts. He made some big saves, and they capitalized on the power play. I thought the big point for us was when we scored on the power play late in the first period.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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