Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Shaw – Lehkonen
Martinsen – McCarron – Mitchell
Markov – Weber
Emelin – Petry
Davidson – Benn
Dwight King, Nathan Beaulieu, Brian Flynn, Nikita Nesterov, Steve Ott
Following last weekend’s sweep of the home-and-home series, many reporters claimed that the Canadiens would easily coast to the Atlantic division title. When challenged, they pointed to the Habs schedule for the remainder of the season which featured just one playoff team.
Not so fast.
After managing to score just two goals total against the Red Wings and Hurricanes, the table is now set for round two. The Senators and Canadiens look to be meeting to decide first place in the division on Saturday. How could this happen?
Against Carolina, the first line could not generate any offensive pressure. How could this be? Alex Galchenyuk was bumped to the third line making way for Phillip Danault. In his own words following Thursday’s match, Danault’s game was “horrible.”
And what about faceoffs. Certainly with Galchenyuk playing the wing, the Canadiens success at the dot would improve? Not at all. Andrew Shaw was only successful on 29 per cent of his draws with Tomas Plekanec at a paltry 13 per cent.
Post-game, Claude Julien said that starting without the puck hurt his team. But faceoffs weren’t the only problem. Little to no offence for the top two lines left Julien frustrated and disappointed.
By this point in the year, lines should, for the most part, be settled. As should defensive pairings. But not for the Canadiens. Who is the number one centre? Who is in the top six? Who consistently plays the third pairing on defence?
Those are all open questions right now, and for Julien, he doesn’t have much time to find the answers.
▲ Alex Galchenyuk, Artturi Lehkonen, Jeff Petry
▼ Jordie Benn, Brandon Davidson, Tomas Plekanec, Phillip Danault, Max Pacioretty, Alexander Radulov