|Game 12, Away Game 8 | Friday October 30, 2015
Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, AB.
Forward lines and defense pairings:
Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Eller – Galchenyuk – Flynn
Fleischmann – Desharnais – Weise
Byron – Mitchell – Smith-Pelly
Markov – Subban
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Gilbert
Scratches: Greg Pateryn, Jarred Tinordi, Alex Semin
Right now, the Calgary Flames are a bad hockey team. In addition to a record of just two wins in 11 games, the Flames have a league worst goal differential of minus-24. The Canadiens are at the opposite end of the spectrum with a league leading plus-22.
So Calgary was the perfect tonic to a Canadiens team that was reeling after dropping the first two games of the Western road swing.
The Flames came out strong for the first five minutes and then were somewhat deflated after the first goal by Dale Weise. Dutch Gretzky would go on to score two more times for his first career hat trick.
But give Calgary credit, they fought back in the second period. Simply, the Habs feasted on some weak goaltending by Calgary starter Joni Ortio who was in net for all six goals. The Flames have now allowed four or more goals in eight of their 11 games this season.
That said, Ortio didn’t have much help from his teammates who threw in the towel after the Canadiens went up by two goals.
Paul Byron had some jump against his former team turning on the jets to score a pretty shorthanded goal. As the Calgary commentators noted, Byron had a boatload of breakaways last season yet couldn’t score. But he wasn’t facing Ortio.
With the result of the game not in question, Michel Therrien decided that he wanted some of the limelight, something he craves more than winning itself. Therrien put his lines in the mixmaster treating his players like they had signed up for speed dating. In part, it was an opportunity to punish his most hated players.
Against Vancouver and Edmonton, David Desharnais was dreadful. Desharnais was directly responsible for the Oilers winning goal in Edmonton.
Following that game, Twitter asked whether Desharnais would be benched in Calgary?
The correct answer to the question came from Jason (@showey47) who replied “If it’s Therrien’s logic, it will be Eller who sits.” While Eller did not sit against Calgary, Therrien made sure to make life miserable for Lars with the teacher’s pet under scrutiny.
Early in the second period Desharnais and his line was stuck in their own zone. With David losing four consecutive puck battles the Habs could not clear the puck. When the Canadiens were finally able to change, Eller and company jumped on the ice and the Flames used their momentum to score. Eller didn’t see the ice for the rest of the period.
With their favorite son under fire for poor play, RDS cranked up the ‘blame Eller’ narrative. And Therrien eagerly played along. On Twitter, Charlotte speculated, “I sometimes think L’Antichambre is secretly running the team.”
Christopher Hatzitolios tweeted, “I’ve never seen a player treated as badly as Lars Eller has been in the last near 4 years by a coach.”
So, while the Canadiens are back to winning, the harmony, stability and positive energy displayed in the first nine games is gone. It has been replaced by Therrien-generated drama that fans have been accustomed to over the past few years. And as in the past, it will be up to the players to win despite the actions of their coach.
▲ Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann, Torrey Mitchell, Jeff Petry, Mike Condon
▼ Michel Therrien
|1 for 3||Power Play||0 for 3|
|NHL Three Stars|
|Post-game Press Conference|
|Coach Michel Therrien
Flames right-winger David Jones
Flames head coach Bob Hartley
Quotes courtesy of NHL.com
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