Forward lines and defense pairings
Galchenyuk – Drouin – Byron
Pacioretty – Danault – Shaw
Hudon – Plekanec – Gallagher
Deslauriers – De La Rose – Froese
Benn – Weber
Alzner – Petry
Mete – Morrow
David Schlemko – hand, Ales Hemsky – concussion symptoms, Nikita Scherbak – knee, Carey Price – lower-body, Al Montoya – concussion, Artturi Lehkonen – lower-body, Torrey Mitchell- flu
The Arizona Coyotes have been in the basement all season long, at 31st in the NHL. But that ranking doesn’t begin to paint the picture.
Arizona lost their first 11 games of the season, matching a 74-year-old record for futility. But it got worse. On Tuesday night, the Coyotes became the first team in NHL history to go 20 games without a win in regulation time. So, it’s been a miserable season for one of the worst teams in the 100-year history of the NHL.
On November 16th, the Coyotes celebrated their first regulation win of the season over the Montreal Canadiens. How did this happen?
Early in the second frame, the Canadiens were cruising along with a 2-0 lead on first period goals by Brendan Gallagher and Paul Byron. At 2:40, recently recalled Nicolas Deslauriers dropped his gloves for a staged fight with Zac Rinaldo. It was a purely selfish move by Deslauriers who celebrated enthusiastically as if it mattered.
Prior to the fisticuffs, the Canadiens were fully in control of the game. Montreal had started the period with a 5-0 advantage in shots. But the fight woke up the visitors feeding off the energy.
One minute and 50 seconds later, the Coyotes got on the board cutting the Canadiens lead in half. Brad Richardson scored his first goal of the season for Arizona while Deslaurier was still in the box.
“After that fight, obviously that gave them the energy. We got sloppy.” — Claude Julien
Following the goal, the game completely turned. The Coyotes went on a 10-0 run in shots on goal. Five minutes after their first goal, Arizona scored again to tie the game. The action went back and forth with three more goals scored in the last five minutes of the period.
The Canadiens were fortunate to be up 4-3 to start the third period. But the Coyotes were buoyed to be in the game with just 20 minutes to go. And it was Arizona who scored two third-period power-play goals to take their first win in regulation.
It was the first time this season that the Coyotes scored five goals in a game. This is from the worst offensive team in the NHL. Yet against the Canadiens, Arizona had a multitude of scoring chances including gift-wrapped breakaways and odd-man opportunities.
If not for Charlie Lindgren, this game could have been much worse. Against an impotent offence. This further highlights the stark fact that the defence for the Montreal Canadiens is just dreadful.
Beyond Shea Weber, the d-corps are just not playing at an NHL level. That said, they are not getting a lot of help from the forwards in the defensive zone. While Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk and Paul Byron can look dangerous in the offensive zone, they are a train wreck in their own end.
With this loss, the Canadiens have reached a new low this season. In the words of coach Julien, “Unacceptable. Embarrassing. That’s what we were tonight.”
▲ Charlie Lindgren, Tomas Plekanec, Alex Galchenyuk, Shea Weber, Paul Byron
▼ Nicolas Deslauriers, Phillip Danault, Karl Alzner, Jeff Petry, Max Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw, Jonathan Drouin