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
Injured reserve: Carey Price
Suspended: Zack Kassian
Prior to the game, Carey Price walked out onto the ice to accept the Molson Cup as winner for the month of October. Price, who some contend is no more than an afterthought this season, was honoured for his first star selections in the first month of the season.
Besides receiving the award, the operative word in the previous paragraph is “walked.” Price was the topic of conversation all day on Sunday when the Canadiens revealed that the goaltender had been placed on injured reserve due to a lower-body injury. The IR designation means that Price will be out at least one week, retroactive to Thursday.
So the Canadiens turn to Mike Condon, who after his win against the Jets has just four games of NHL experience. Fortunately for the Habs, each one of those starts has been a win.
Fortunately, Condon didn’t have to face the 36 shots that Price did against the Sabres or the 52-shot barrage from the Leafs. Montreal did a superb job protecting their rookie goaltender, with the Jets being limited to 19 shots.
The Canadiens put together a complete effort for a full sixty minutes, something that is rare in recent games. Montreal did not see the ‘real’ Jets, who are a big, fast talented team coming off a game the night before in Columbus. Winnipeg may have been guilty of being too respectful of the Habs, backing off to protect against team speed.
This year’s version of the Canadiens can intimidate.
Tomas Fleischmann led the offense with two goals and an assist on five shots on goal. Alexei Emelin had five blocked shots in support of his young goaltender. Paul Byron led the team with four hits.
Byron had a highlight reel short-handed goal from a breakaway for the second straight game. It is a complete reversal from last season when Byron got a boatload of breakaways but couldn’t convert. The confidence from playing with the league’s No. 1 team seems to be helping.
The Canadiens are now 5-0-0 at home this season. According to Ron Reusch, this hasn’t happened since 1979 which means that it is a first at the Bell Centre.
Montreal will spend the week at home playing a more ‘regular’ schedule with games falling on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
▲ Tomas Fleischmann, Mike Condon, Paul Byron, David Desharnais, Jeff Petry, Alexei Emelin
▼ Brian Flynn, Max Pacioretty