FINAL | Game 73, Home Game 37 | Monday March 19, 2018 
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

0-2

PANTHERS
Florida

(Photo by Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings 

Byron – Drouin – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – De La Rose – Lehkonen
Scherbak – L. Shaw – Carr
Deslauriers – McCarron – Hudon

Reilly – Petry
Alzner – Juulsen
Benn – Lernout

Goaltenders

Niemi
Price

Scratches

Byron Froese

Injuries

Ales Hemsky – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body, Victor Mete – hand, Max Pacioretty – lower-body, David Schlemko – undisclosed, Rinat Valiev – lower-body, Phillip Danault – upper body, Andrew Shaw – upper-body

Game Report 

The Canadiens were shut out again, for the 12th time this season. That is two straight shutouts since Montreal put in two solid periods against the defending Stanley Cup champs last week.

But all shutouts aren’t created equally. Against the potent Maple Leafs offence, Charlie Lindgren was required to be spectacular to keep the game close. Tonight’s starter Antti Niemi played well, but had a fair bit of help from Panthers shooters. While Florida dominated the possession game, they lacked the ability to finish their scoring chances.

The Canadiens best chance to get on the board was a goal scored by Jacob De La Rose just 17 seconds after Aaron Ekblad opened the scoring late in the first period. De La Rose drove to the net and converted a perfect feed from Artturi Lehkonen. Unfortunately, after review, the play was ruled offside.

The shutout was the third time in a row that the Canadiens had been unable to score on Florida. You would have to go back to October 24th to find the last time that a Montreal player scored on a Florida goal.

Post-game, Claude Julien was busy tuning up his end-of-season excuses. Julien blamed injuries, youth, inexperience and fatigue.

Yet the Habs were first shutout on October 8th, in just their third game of the season. Surely those excuses don’t apply there too.

Of the 12 shutouts, two came in October, two in November, two in December, three in February and three in March. So isn’t it fair to say that scoring goals has been a problem all season long? And it is also reasonable to argue that Julien’s system has been one of the factors for the anemic offense.

We have heard all season opposing coaches refer to Julien’s system as one with a high volume of shots, taken from anywhere on the ice. Tonight Paul Byron said that the Canadiens “are not taking pucks to the middle.” That leaves “perimeter shots” with “not many going in.”

Another factor for the lack of offense tonight was the Habs power-play that went 0-for-5. If it wasn’t bad enough that Montreal was not generating offense with the man advantage, they gave up five short-handed chances to the Panthers in the first 40 minutes.

Twelve times this season, the Canadiens have been shutout. And in 13 games they scored just one goal. So for at least 25 games, the Montreal offence provided little chance of winning the game regardless of how brilliant the goaltending was.

The simple fact is that the Montreal Canadiens have been the worst team in the league since Christmas.

Claude Julien may want to fool fans that the Habs woes are all due to injuries and call-ups. Both he and Marc Bergevin are a major part of the problem. And if they don’t take responsibility and make major changes for next season, we are likely to see a few more shutouts.

===

▲  Jacob De La Rose, Artturi Lehkonen, Daniel Carr, Brett Lernout, Paul Byron, Antti Niemi

▼  Jeff Petry, Mike Reilly, Nicolas Deslauriers, Jonathan Drouin, Karl Alzner, Noah Juulsen, Jordie Benn

 Statistics 
CANADIENS   PANTHERS
28 Shots 40
41% Face-offs 59%
0-for-5 Power Play 0-for-2
26 Penalty Minutes 22
32 Hits 18
49 Corsi For 79
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (26-35-12) 0 0 0 0
 Panthers (36-27-7) 1 0 1 2
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: no scoring
  • TOR: Ekblad (15), Barkov (26)
  • MTL: Niemi (L) 5-8-4
  • TOR: Luongo (W) 15-9-2
 NHL Three Stars

NHL3stars
  1. Vincent Trocheck  FLA
  2. Aleksander Barkov  FLA
  3. Antti Niemi  MTL

 Video Highlights 
 Post-game Press Conference
Claude Julien

  • “For me, it’s obvious. We don’t have our team here, we have players who don’t have experience and, at the moment, are not completely ready and we’re relying on a relatively small core,” he explained. “At this moment, we’re not a good team, but it’s not because the players aren’t good; it’s because we have a lot of injuries, we have young players playing roles they’re not ready for, and we even have some veterans who are seeing more ice time than they would if everyone was healthy. So this is the situation we’re in. It’s frustrating, and we don’t have a choice. We have to keep moving forward.”

Jacob De La Rose

  • “(The disallowed goal was) frustrating. I’m trying to grab every point I can. That would’ve been good for us, to get back into the game. It was a good play by both Chucky [Alex Galchenyuk] and Lehky there. I was just trying to drive the net. It’s too bad it wasn’t allowed.”

Jordie Benn

  • “We don’t play this game to lose. There are 10 games left; we’re not just going to sit in here and lose the last 10 and then go home and smile about it. We’re pissed off. We’re athletes, and we’re not bred to lose.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

 Social Media: Follow @AllHabs on Twitter
https://twitter.com/Snakebite350/status/975903125369442304

Follow @AllHabs on Twitter

Be sure to follow @AllHabs on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube