|Game 79, Away Game 39 | Monday April 3, 2017
BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL.
Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Shaw – Lehkonen
King – Ott – Martinsen
Markov – Petry
Beaulieu – Emelin
Davidson – Nesterov
Shea Weber, Jordie Benn, Torrey Mitchell, Brian Flynn, Michael McCarron, Al Montoya
A division crown was on the line tonight in Sunrise. While the Canadiens handled the Panthers in the Bell Centre just four days previously, this was going to be a tougher task.
First and foremost, the decision was made to rest Carey Price. The Canadiens MVP has been nothing sort of phenomenal since the arrival of Claude Julien with a 13-4-0 record, a 1.57 goals against average and a .943 save percentage. But with Al Montoya not ready to return, Montreal turned to Charlie Lindgren who, along with Chris Terry, has been an MVP of the St. John’s IceCaps.
The Canadiens were also without their best defenceman. How good has Shea Weber been?
So, it’s clear that Weber would be missed, no matter the opponent.
Enter a 21-year-old rookie who, according to Claude Julien, is playing like a veteran. We have been saying it all season: Artturi Lehkonen is smart, skilled, and responsible. Tonight, Lehkonen scored his 15th and 16th goals of the season. And he assisted on the opening goal of the game by Andrew Shaw.
Lehkonen picked up his third game-winning goal of the season. That’s more than Alexander Radulov, Brendan Gallagher and Andrew Shaw. Who predicted that? Lehkonen was named first star of the game.
The other Canadiens star was goaltender Charlie Lindgren. The 23-year-old undrafted netminder is in his first season in the NHL. Tonight, Lindgren started his second career NHL game. He’s won them both.
Lindgren was solid in the first and third periods, but where he shone was in the second. Charlie was brilliant when his team was not. The Canadiens were thoroughly outplayed leaving Lindgren to make 14 saves.
The single goal that beat the young goaltender happened as result of a bad Canadiens line change resulting in a 5-on-2 for the Panthers. Despite the manpower disadvantage and Nathan Beaulieu awkwardly getting in the way, Lindgren, ever-battling, almost made the save.
Like Lehkonen, Lindgren plays well beyond his experience. He is calm, focused, athletic and handles the puck well.
While Lehkonen and Lindgren were both impressive, they were well-supported by several Habs veterans. Kudos to Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin, Tomas Plekanec and Jeff Petry for their work on the penalty-kill, particularly during the Panthers 5-on-3.
The Buffalo Sabres are next up on the schedule. The game is meaningless with the Canadiens having secured the Atlantic division crown and their opponent known: the New York Rangers. But it’s clear that both coach and players would like this winning momentum to carry them into the playoffs.
▲ Artturi Lehkonen, Charlie Lindgren, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin, Jeff Petry
▼ Andreas Martinsen
|0 for 2||Power Play||0 for 2|
|NHL Three Stars|
|Post-game Press Conference|
|Coach Claude Julien
Quotes courtesy of NHL.com
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