Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Drouin – Galchenyuk
Byron – Danault – Shaw
Hudon – Plekanec – Gallagher
Deslauriers – De La Rose – Mitchell
Benn – Morrow
Alzner – Petry
Mete – Davidson
David Schlemko – hand, Ales Hemsky – concussion, Nikita Scherbak – knee, Carey Price – lower-body, Al Montoya – concussion, Artturi Lehkonen – lower-body, Shea Weber – lower-body
It seems like such a little thing, just a momentary lapse.
After the game, the Canadiens head coach offered an optimistic spin, saying, “If you take that minute away, maybe we win a 1-0 game.” Was Claude Julien trying to convince reporters or himself? The analysis isn’t that simple and Julien knows it (we hope).
You see it is the little things that good teams routinely do. And that’s usually because a good coach has impressed on his team to pay attention to small details.
Ken Hitchcock is a very good coach. And we saw when the Canadiens turned up the pressure in the third period that Dallas defenders did all the little things right to get sticks and bodies in the way, frustrating Habs shooters.
In watching video, Hitchcock learned that putting pressure on Canadiens players in their own zone caused them to run around opening up both passing lanes and access to rebounds. After almost every loss recently, Max Pacioretty speaks about defensive coverage mistakes.
Hitchcock was right. Andrew Shaw and Phillip Danault allowed a cross-ice pass from John Klingberg to Devin Shore for the Stars’ first goal. On Jason Spezza’s game-winner, Jonathan Drouin was in no man’s land looking for someone to cover.
What is it about this Julien coverage scheme that has his players regularly flummoxed?
In goal, Charlie Lindgren continues to do all he can to keep his team close. Lindgren had another strong game against Dallas. But the Canadiens are not providing goal support with just eight goals scored in the past six games.
Jonathan Drouin has scored just one goal in the past 15 games. The Canadiens so-called number one centre had no shots on goal against Dallas, was a minus-2 and was a pathetic 20 per cent at the faceoff dot.
On the other side of the ice, Alexander Radulov is having a great season with seven goals, 13 assists for 20 points in 21 games. And his rare kind of energy has infected his linemates in green. The points and dynamic play are certainly missing from the top trio of the Canadiens.
It’s a short turnaround for the Canadiens as they head to Nashville for a Wednesday night game against the Predators.
▲ Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, Charles Hudon
▼ Joe Morrow, Jonathan Drouin, Phillip Danault, Jordie Benn, Brandon Davidson, Victor Mete, Andrew Shaw