Forward lines and defense pairings
Tatar – Danault – Gallagher
Drouin – Domi – Hudon
Lehkonen – Kotkaniemi – Armia
Deslauriers – Peca – Shaw
Benn – Petry
Reilly – Juulsen
Ouellet – Mete
Weber, Schlemko, Plekanec, Byron
Quick starts have been the hallmark of the Canadiens success so far in this season. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist gave up a soft goal just 23 seconds into the game with Tomas Tatar netting his fourth of the year.
Montreal maintained the upper hand for much of the period. Carey Price was locked in making brilliant saves when his teammates faltered in front of him.
With just over four minutes left in the period, Jonathan Drouin committed a turnover in the neutral zone. And when the puck came back to him, he turned it over again. Drouin then decided to play spectator, shadowing but not engaging Chris Kreider who tied the game before the period ended.
It wasn’t the last time Drouin would take centre stage at MSG, for all the wrong reasons.
Tatar went to work again early in the second period tipping a shot by Phil Danault past Danault. Less than two minutes later, Max Domi gave the Habs a two-goal lead with a power-play goal.
Despite holding an early 3-1 lead in the second period, Montreal was being outplayed, losing battles all over the ice. The Rangers were quicker to pucks and had a higher compete level. Carey Price was outstanding giving his team a chance to win.
Before the period ended, the Rangers scored just as a penalty to Phillip Danault expired to cut the deficit to one. Habs fans justifiably complained about questionable calls, but the bottom line is that Montreal was undisciplined taking too many dumb penalties.
The third period belonged to Jonathan Drouin. Shockingly, he was instrumental in each of the Rangers three goals in the final frame. Drouin played a lazy, selfish and destructive game finishing a minus-4. This loss lays primarily at his feet.
In the words of Brian Wilde, “[Drouin] was a mess defensively tonight. I don’t think I have seen a worse defensive game from a forward in a decade.”
▲ Tomas Tatar, Carey Price, Artturi Lehkonen, Joel Armia
▼▼ Jonathan Drouin
▼ Nicolas Deslauriers, Matthew Peca, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn, Charles Hudon, Andrew Shaw, Noah Juulsen, Mike Reilly