Forward lines and defense pairings:
Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Weise
Eller – Plekanec – Byron
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Carr
Hudon – Flynn – Andrighetto
Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Gilbert – Pateryn
Scratches: Jarred Tinordi, Nathan Beaulieu, Christian Thomas
Injured reserve: Brendan Gallagher, Torrey Mitchell, Carey Price, Devante Smith-Pelly
Suspended: Zack Kassian
With Carey Price in goal, as we have shown many times, each player in the lineup becomes better. But Price also helps to conceal errors and shortcomings. That goes for the coach too.
Much is made about Michel Therrien’s ability to insert a Dale Weise-like player at the right time to get results. But if Price wasn’t there to eliminate opposition threats, the coach’s ideas wouldn’t have time to come to fruition.
So if Therrien stubbornly ices the pair of Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty on the top line and Carey Price steals a win, no one is focusing on the lack of chemistry. But with just adequate goaltending being provided by the Canadiens backups, Therrien’s decisions are being more heavily scrutinized.
Often when teams go through a stretch when the injury bug has hit, coaches will try to maximize stability to lessen the impact. Therrien has done the opposite taking the opportunity to turn his lineup upside down. And even though he reunited the third line in this game, the cork was already out of the bottle.
And the losing streak is now at four.
With the Canadiens having difficulty scoring including a power-play that has completely dried up, each mistake at the other end of the ice is magnified. With Tom Gilbert off chasing a hit, an unfortunate turnover by Greg Pateryn proved to be the difference. Dustin Tokarski was back to his battling self after a short stint with the IceCaps but there was the feeling that Price might have made the save.
The Habs are a team that is out of sync right now. The coach is playing mad scientist and some the team’s leaders — Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty. P.K. Subban — aren’t leading the way right now. For Subban it is a repeat from last season where he was underwhelming for the first third of the season and then turned it up after Christmas.
Time for the coach to start icing established lines and for the vets to pick up the pace. Because right now, the guys from St. John’s are showing you up.
The Canadiens will return home for a Saturday night match against the Senators.
▲ Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto, Charles Hudon, Tomas Fleischmann, Andrei Markov
▼ P.K. Subban, Greg Pateryn, Tom Gilbert, Jeff Petry, Dale Weise, David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec