Game 42, Home Game 20 | Wednesday January 6, 2016 
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

2-1

DEVILS
New Jersey

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings: 

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Andrighetto – Galchenyuk – Carr
Eller – Desharnais – Byron
Flynn – Mitchell – Smith-Pelly

Beaulieu – Subban
Markov – Petry
Barberio – Emelin

Goaltenders:

Condon
Scrivens

Scratches:  Jarred Tinordi, Greg Pateryn, Tomas Fleischmann
Injured reserve:  Carey Price, Tom Gilbert, Dale Weise

Game Report

Some games are harder to watch than others, and that includes matches against the New Jersey Devils. It was dull game but to their credit, the Canadiens found a way to win.

With not a lot happening at even strength, it was through special teams that the Canadiens picked up their two goals. Max Pacioretty opened the scoring with a power-play marker. Torrey Mitchell picked up a short-handed goal set up beautifully by Paul Byron.

After the game, Pacioretty acknowledged that on many nights over the past month or so his team had lost the special teams battle. For a team struggling to score and escape a losing skid, it would have been a way out.  In this game, with the team not yet firing on all cylinders special teams were a solution.

There were some bright spots. At times the first line started to look like a first line again. Plekanec had an assist and a good night at the faceoff dot. Pacioretty had a goal on four shots. And Brendan Gallagher provided the screen that led to Pacioretty’s first period goal.

For the past month, the one line who has been productive and creating scoring chances was Alex Galchenyuk, Lars Eller and Daniel Carr. Coming into tonight’s game, Galchenyuk had three goals and three assists in the last seven games.

So how did Devils coach John Hynes game plan to shutdown the Canadiens hottest line? No need. Montreal coach Michel Therrien took care of that providing a generous gift for the Bell Centre visitors.

The Galchenyuk line, with Carr and Sven Andrighetto had a tough night getting pinned in their own zone for long stretches particularly in the first period. Galchenyuk was held off the scoresheet and for a rare occasion, ended the game with negative shot attempts posting a Corsi of minus-8.

Eller’s addition to the third line was beneficial to Devante Smith-Pelly who played one of his better games in recent memory. Jeff Petry was the best of the blueliners turning the tide on some difficulties in December. Mike Condon wasn’t seriously tested by a team that struggles to comeback once down but was sharp when needed.

This effort was a step in the right direction but just a baby step towards regaining team confidence and there are liking to be more bumps in the road along the way.

The Habs have a couple of days of practice before hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday.

▲    Tomas Plekanec, Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty, Paul Byron, Devante Smith-Pelly, Lars Eller, Jeff Petry

▼    Alex Galchenyuk, Daniel Carr, Sven Andrighetto, P.K. Subban, Nathan Beaulieu

 Statistics 
CANADIENS DEVILS
25 Shots 20
1 for 3 Power Play 0 for 3
57% Face-offs 43%
6 Penalty Minutes 6
35 Hits 29
57 Corsi For 48
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (22-16-3) 1 1 0 2
 Devils (16-15-7) 0 0 1 1
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: PPG – Pacioretty (17), SHG – Mitchell (6)
  • NJD: Henrique (14)
  • MTL: Condon (W) 0-2-0
  • NJD: Schneider (L)  9-5-2
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1. Max Pacioretty  MTL
  2. Paul Byron  MTL
  3. Sean Couturier  NJD

 Video Highlights 

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
186237429_slide

  • “Paul Byron isn’t a big guy, but he’s got guts. He has really good vision. He’s got a good stick. With his speed in the neutral zone, he’s able to create a lot of scoring chances. You saw that again tonight; he was very patient and poised with the puck. He made a great play on Mitchell’s goal, which ended up being the game winner. Special teams play an important role.

Max Pacioretty

  • “I think in today’s NHL it seems like every year special teams are more and more important. A lot of those games we lost, we lost the special-teams battles, so to win that special-teams battle is good results from that.”
  • “Any time you can make it a two-goal lead, especially shorthanded, you know, they think they have an opportunity to tie up the game. And for us to kind of twist the knife there with [Paul Byron] and [Torrey Mitchell] connecting on a great play, that’s a huge motivator and a huge time for a step-up, and that’s what we got there.”

Paul Byron

  • “[Former Buffalo GM] Darcy Regier once told me in Buffalo that you need a niche to make a spot for yourself in the NHL and I think the PK is definitely my niche. It’s something I excel at. I don’t know what it is – anticipation, being in the lanes, more room out there – I just try to outwork the power play and give up as few chances as possible. With my speed and my quickness, I can kill plays.”

Devils goalie Cory Schneider

  • “I thought we competed all night, just got burned there on the power play and the shorthanded goal, and it’s a killer when you give up two on special teams like that. So, 5-on-5, I thought we played them tough. They’re a fast team. They’re a transition team. They got going there in the second a little bit with a few rush chances, but that’s my job, is to come up with some saves, but unfortunately it was one short.”

Devils coach John Hynes

  • “It’s a challenge just in the sense that when you get several injuries, a lot of times what happens is then things become out of sync. Your special teams become out of sync, sometimes your line combinations become out of sync, and I think you saw that a little bit [Wednesday] on special teams, which is unfortunate for us, but we’ll find a way to regroup and make sure we’re prepared to play against Boston.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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