Game 43, Home Game 21 | Saturday January 9, 2016 
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

1-3

PENGUINS
Pittsburgh

(Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings: 

Pacioretty – Plekanec – Gallagher
Andrighetto – Galchenyuk – Carr
Eller – Desharnais – Byron
Flynn – Mitchell – Smith-Pelly

Markov- Subban
Beaulieu – Pateryn
Barberio – Emelin

Goaltenders:

Condon
Scrivens

Scratches:  Jarred Tinordi, Tomas Fleischmann, Jeff Petry
Injured reserve:  Carey Price, Tom Gilbert, Dale Weise

Game Report

Canadiens fans are trying to figure out how, in a short period of time, they have gone from talking about their team’s chances of winning the President’s Trophy to whether they will make the playoffs.

Following the loss against the Penguins, the Canadiens have 49 points good enough for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The Boston Bruins are just two points behind with three games in hand. Should Montreal fall behind the Bruins, they become a wild card team.  With a slate of quality teams on the schedule for the Canadiens leading up to the All-Star break, will the conversation switch to fighting to capture a playoff position?

Mike Condon had another solid start doing all he could to keep his team in the game. Beyond Condon, there wasn’t much for Marc Bergevin to be proud of, from the product on the ice to the crew behind the bench. And with the Canadiens not playing until Thursday all eyes will be on the general manager to see if he makes a major move to stop the bleeding.

And before you say that Bergevin will stick to the plan and be patient, keep in mind that he reports to Geoff Molson. My sense is that if the losing skid had occurred primarily at the Bell Centre rather than mostly on the road that a move would have been made already, whether or not it was initiated by Bergevin.

Post-game some fans found themselves getting bogged down in discussing the minutia of a defenceman chasing a hit or a bad pass with 15 seconds left. But the truth is that the problems are much deeper. There are serious issues facing this team that may not be solved by the return of a certain number 31 to the lineup.

Some have suggested that the coach has lost the room. And it would appear that divisions are appearing in the leadership. It was hard to miss Max Pacioretty’s disapproving look during P.K. Subban’s profanity-laced team introduction featured on the Road to the Winter Classic. That same look was cast again in Subban’s direction when the defenceman exploded after tonight’s game.

 

The conversations that happened at the beginning of the season won’t be back this year. This situation is not temporary nor injury-related. Nor will it be fixed by the return of the Canadiens best player.

It’s one thing to coach or manage a team in good times. But the measure of just where Therrien and Bergevin rank is revealed during times of adversity. So far they are earning a failing grade.

The Canadiens await the Chicago Blackhawks who will arrive for a date at the Bell Centre on Thursday.

~~~

▲    P.K. Subban, Mike Condon, Tomas Plekanec, Paul Byron, Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller

▼    Greg Pateryn, Nathan Beaulieu, Devante Smith-Pelly, Max Pacioretty, Torrey Mitchell

 Statistics 
CANADIENS PENGUINS
34 Shots 32
0 for 4 Power Play 1 for 4
62% Face-offs 38%
8 Penalty Minutes 8
23 Hits 24
61 Corsi For 62
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (23-17-3) 0 1 0 1
 Penguins (20-16-5) 0 2 1 3
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: Subban (2)
  • PIT: PPG – Hornqvist (9), Rust (1), SHG/EN – Fehr (5)
  • MTL: Condon (L) 12-10-3
  • PIT: Fleury (W)  15-11-3
 NHL Three Stars
NHL3stars
  1. Marc-Andre Fleury  PIT
  2. Mike Condon  MTL
  3. P.K. Subban  MTL

 Video Highlights 

 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Michel Therrien
186237429_slide

  • “The guys competed. We had a bit of a tough start, though. We were watching them, and a few of our guys seemed like they were intimidated by just how good the Penguins are. I just felt like we were watching them too much.

Max Pacioretty

  • “It’s frustrating to lose the game. That’s a good team, they’ve got a lot of power up front, and you know we’ve got to score more than one goal to win the game.

Tomas Plekanec

  • “We’ve got to find a way to put some games together, that’s for sure.”

P.K. Subban

  • “At times it was like [the] Harlem Globetrotters out there. They’re just moving the puck around. They’re coming back in, and regrouping and coming back at us, I mean, we’ve got to understand that we have to play a certain way every night to have success. We didn’t do it consistently.”

Mike Condon

  • “Those saves don’t really matter unless you get two points. We had a lot of great chances there in the third, and I thought Marc-Andre Fleury had a really great game. It seems like a lot of goalies are having their best games against us.”

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan

  • “Well, they’ve been terrific. Those guys, I think they’ve really embraced and took pride in that role and how important it is to helping us win. They did it again [Saturday] for us. I think it’s hard to win if your special teams isn’t making a contribution, and as of late, on both sides of it, I think the guys that are playing in those circumstances have really prided themselves.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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  • David Olinger

    Great coverage here but how do #Habs get two of three stars and how is #Desharnais not amongst the players with down symbol?

    • Thanks for the compliment David! With respect to the three stars they are the official NHL 3-stars. On this night they were selected by TVA Sports. I agree with your point.

      As far as Desharnais not getting a minus, I suppose that you have a case. It wasn’t a great game for him but in a relative sense, he wasn’t as bad as he has been over the past month or so. Much of the credit for an improved Corsi rating on this night for Desharnais can go to Eller who had impact on the possession performance of the third line.

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