Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Byron – Hudon
Galchenyuk – Drouin – Deslauriers
Lehkonen – Plekanec – Gallagher
De La Rose – Froese – L. Shaw
Alzner – Petry
Mete – Schlemko
Benn – Jerabek
Daniel Carr, Joe Morrow
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Phillip Danault – concussion, Andrew Shaw – lower-body
Remember when the word was that the Canadiens were going to catch the Bruins in January? Well, the All-Star break has arrived, with a thud. And Boston is 20 points ahead of the Habs, while the B’s have two games in hand.
The Canadiens ended January looking very much like the team we saw in October.
Montreal and Carolina have both struggled to score this season. The Hurricanes have a strong defense and awful goaltending. The Canadiens are a disaster on defence and have solid goaltending.
It was the perfect recipe for the game we witnessed tonight. Add to the mix that it was a meaningless game for the Habs. Players know that they will miss the playoffs and their eyes were on the break. Claude Julien said that too many of his players lacked preparation and focus. It showed, leading to a plethora of individual mistakes.
Here’s a little exercise. Ask a fellow fan who was to blame for the Habs loss? If Carey Price’s name comes up at all, you know, without any doubt, that they did not watch the game.
Despite the high score, the result could have been much, much worse. Price was superb especially in the first period when abandoned by his team. The Canadiens play in their own end was horrendous.
Carolina goals were due to bad defensive-zone coverage which led to tips, screens, second/third chances, breakaways, etc. The Canadiens defense struggled greatly but the forwards missed assignments as well. Charles Hudon, who had two goals, was partly responsible for the Hurricanes first and last goals. The Jonathan Drouin line, with Alex Galchenyuk and Nicolas Deslauriers, was a combined minus-9.
At the other end, Cam Ward was very leaky as he has been all season long. Once the Habs figured out that all they had to do was get pucks on net, it was game on. The goals were coming fast and furious.
While a Canadiens goal was being announced in the Bell Centre, the Hurricanes scored.. three times on the night! The two teams took just 2:51 to score five goals.
So the All-Star break is here. And the Canadiens fate couldn’t be clearer. But are Habs fans ready for a flurry of moves that fit Marc Bergevin’s vision?
▲ Carey Price, Jeff Petry, Max Pacioretty
▼ David Schlemko, Byron Froese, Jakub Jerabek, Jordie Benn, Alex Galchenyuk, Jonathan Drouin, Nicolas Deslauriers, Victor Mete