|FINAL | Game 21, Home Game 11 | Saturday November 18, 2017
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.
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
Brandon Davidson, Torrey Mitchell
David Schlemko – hand, Ales Hemsky – concussion, Nikita Scherbak – knee, Carey Price – lower-body, Al Montoya – concussion, Artturi Lehkonen – lower-body
If you scanned the box score or watched the game wearing your rose-colored glasses, you might believe that the Canadiens were in this game for the first two periods. They weren’t. However, Montreal did manage to compete and win more battles for the first 10 minutes of the game.
But what about dominating the shots on goal for the first period?
It’s true the Canadiens had 16-7 advantage in shots. But it shouldn’t be a surprise that their long distance shooting did not generate serious scoring chances.
How many strikeouts does a MLB starting pitcher record if he is lobbing them in from centre field? You get the idea.
The Leafs goaltender, Frederik Andersen, explained, “We didn’t allow them too much from inside, I think especially early on, there was a lot from the perimeter, and we got into the game after that.”
Tonight, Montreal struggled to exit their own zone. They regularly lost puck battles to the Leafs. And with a perimeter shooting game and an inability to drive to the net, their offence was feckless.
By the middle of the second period, after being beaten all over the ice, the Canadiens were primed for the taking, and that’s exactly what the Maple Leafs did.
With a faceoff in their own end, the Canadiens first line got the call. All except Jonathan Drouin. Losing two-thirds of his draws on the night, Drouin was held back in favor of Phillip Danault. With the faceoff won and the play developing, Danault headed to the bench for the long, middle-period change.
Entering his zone, Drouin was not able to recognize who he needed to cover. That was Ron Hainsey, the Leafs goal-scorer, who picked up his first of the season.
Thirty-seven seconds later, with the identical set of Canadiens defenders on the ice, Nazem Kadri fired a perfect shot past Charlie Lindgren and the game was over.
The weak Canadiens defense had been breached. The impotent offense was being easily turned away. And their already shaky confidence was shattered.
Claude Julien blamed “fundamental mistakes.” The primary reason that mistakes loom large is that the Canadiens know how hard it is to get a goal back.
And what about Nicolas Deslauriers starting a fight to change the momentum? Deslauriers was seen trying to stir something up with Matt Martin. It’s unknown whether Martin told the Canadien that it would be idiotic to fight with his team up by a few goals.
This is the team that the general manager built. Marc Bergevin traded the farm to solve goal-scoring issues. Bergevin rebuilt the defense to be even better than last season. And special teams responsibilities were shuffled among the assistant coaches.
Nothing is working.
The Montreal Canadiens suffered a humiliating loss to one of the worst teams in generations on Thursday night.
The Habs were disgraced by a historic rival on Hockey Night in Canada, on a Saturday night.
And both stinging defeats occurred at the Bell Centre.
Under competent management, back-to-back mortifying home losses would have major, franchise-changing consequences. Unfortunately fans have no confidence in Geoff Molson to do the right thing.
The Canadiens went 2-3-1 on their homestand. And American Thanksgiving is just days away.
▼ Nicolas Deslauriers, Phillip Danault, Karl Alzner, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn, Shea Weber. Jonathan Drouin
|NHL Three Stars|
|Post-game Press Conference|
|Coach Claude Julien
Quotes courtesy of NHL.com
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