Game 3, Away Game 3 | Sunday October 8, 2017 
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

0-2

RANGERS
New York

(AP Photo)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings 

Pacioretty – Drouin – Gallagher
Hudon – Plekanec – Lehkonen
Galchenyuk – Danault – Shaw
Byron – Mitchell – De La Rose 

Mete – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Davidson – Benn

Goaltenders

Price
Montoya

Scratches

Joe Morrow, Ales Hemsky, Mark Streit

Injuries

David Schlemko (hand)

Game Report

So where do you sit with respect to the Canadiens first three games of the 2017-’18 season? Is it just a slow start or indicative of some concerning issues?

Let’s first acknowledge that the Habs did not give up a goal (or two) in the first minute of the game. Montreal trailed by one at the end of the first period courtesy of a Brady Skjei goal that found it’s way past Carey Price off the skate of Shea Weber.

Mika Zibanejad sealed the game in the third period as Jonathan Drouin lost him in coverage. Early in the game, the Habs had two goals called back after review.  

As tweeted by Eric Engels, the Canadiens have not held a lead in any game this season. The season is only three games old, but isn’t that startling?

Last October, the Canadiens set a record for being the first team in NHL history to win at least seven of their first eight games in three consecutive seasons. That streak is over.

2014-15:  7-1-0
2015-16:  9-0-0
2016-17:  7-0-1
2017-18:  1-2-0

We have discussed Marc Bergevin’s defense in previous recaps. But what about his remade offense? The Canadiens have scored just three goals total in three games. Even more concerning is that Max Pacioretty has Montreal’s only even strength goal this season.

In the off-season, Bergevin traded away his only blue chip prospect for Jonathan Drouin, who arrived in Montreal touted as a league superstar and an offensive dynamo. Former Canadiens GM Serge Savard said that Drouin would make the Habs more exciting offensively and suggested that the game-breaking forward could score 40 goals this season.

So far, the Sabres, Capitals and Rangers have been effective in nullifying the Drouin threat at even strength. While his linemates each have a goal, the 22-year-old has yet to score this season.

It’s early, but Drouin is the only off-season move that Bergevin made to address the team’s offensive woes. He was expected to deliver bags full of goals. With the two-highest scoring teams next on the schedule for Montreal, it might be time to start delivering on all of that promised potential.

Right now, there are plenty of other passengers on the team. But they don’t play on the top line. And neither do they have the tools at their disposal.

 Two games in Montreal are the perfect formula for getting the team on track. But should the team stumble at home, a western road trip awaits them in the week that follows.

~~~

▲     Artturi Lehkonen, Carey Price, Shea Weber

▼     Jonathan Drouin, Jeff Petry, Karl Alzner, Alex Galchenyuk

 Statistics 
CANADIENS   RANGERS
34 Shots 25
 43% Face-offs  57%
0-for-1  Power Play 0-for-3 
6 Penalty Minutes 2
22 Hits 24
63 Corsi For  43
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (1-2-0) 0 0 0 0
 Rangers (1-2-0) 1 0 1 2
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: no scoring
  • NYR: Skjei (1), Zibanejad (4)
  • MTL: Price (L) 1-2-0
  • NYR: Lundqvist (W) 1-2-0
 NHL Three Stars

NHL3stars
 

  1. Henrik Lundqvist  NYR
  2. Mika Zibanejad  NYR
  3. Pavel Buchnevich  NYR

 Video Highlights 
 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Claude Julien

  • “Defensively, we were more solid. We saw progress in that area. [On offence], we’re lacking finish. We had chances, but we couldn’t couldn’t find the back of the net. We were getting into their zone, but leaving empty-handed each time.”

Max Pacioretty

  • “I think they were good calls. If we disagreed with the calls it would have been frustrating. We’re getting pucks on net, but as nice as it is to look at the shot clock and have a lot of shots, I think Pittsburgh proved last year that making plays, and making the goalie move is how you win games.”

Tomas Plekanec

  • “I think offensively, it’s there. We’ve just got to do better and keep working at it, and it’s going to turn around.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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