Game 11, Home Game 5 | Saturday October 28, 2017 
Bell Centre, Montreal, QC.

CANADIENS
Montreal

teamlogo_canadiens

5-4

RANGERS
New York

(Photo by Pierre-Paul Poulin/Le Journal de Montreal)

Lineup

Forward lines and defense pairings 

Lehkonen – Drouin – Byron
Pacioretty – Danault – Shaw
Hudon – Plekanec – Gallagher 
Galchenyuk – McCarron – Mitchell

Mete – Weber
Alzner – Benn
Davidson – Petry

Goaltenders

Price
Montoya

Scratches

Jacob De La Rose, Joe Morrow

Injuries

David Schlemko – hand (mid-November), Ales Hemsky – concussion symptoms, Nikita Scherbak – lower body

Game Report

These two teams now have very similar records. With three wins and seven losses each, this game wasn’t the clash of the titans.

The Rangers and the Canadiens have some talent but plenty of issues. For New York, goaltending is an issue. Defence is a major liability for the Habs. So, it’s not unexpected that there would inconsistent play on both sides.

To their credit, the Canadiens had a strong first period outshooting the Blue Shirts 19-2. Fully in control of the game, cruising along with a 3-0 lead, Montreal was handed a four-minute power-play courtesy of a Kevin Shattenkirk double minor for hi-sticking.

I announced to everyone in earshot that this was the turning point of the game. If the Habs scored on the power-play, it would have been a bridge too far for the visitors. Kill off the penalty and the momentum would carry the Rangers into the second period.

The Montreal power-play was not only unsuccessful, it was terrible. The disorganized group failed to register a shot during the four-minute man advantage. And the Rangers were given a boost which propelled them to an early second period goal.

Once the armour was pierced, the fragile Canadiens returned. The Rangers dominated board battles, moving the puck as they pleased in the Habs end. Montreal defencemen seemed powerless to clear the zone and clear New York forwards from the front of the net.

Fortunately the Rangers had a problem or two themselves. In particular, Ondrej Pavelec was a rebound machine. For the first time this season, the Canadiens went to the net, taking advantage of the loose pucks.

And they were rewarded. Paul Byron with a one-timer from the slot. Alex Galchenyuk from the edge of the blue paint. Phillip Danault driving to the net cashing a rebound. Max Pacioretty slapping home a rebound from the lip of the crease. And Danault again chipping in a rebound from directly in front of Pavelec.

They are the kind of goals that the Canadiens will need to continue to score to be successful. Now they need to put their full focus on major improvements to play in their own zone. After 11 games (and pre-season action) it’s clear that waiting for their defensive play to improve is not a strategy that will succeed.

Marc Bergevin will have to admit his failure and ditch his disastrous rebuild of the back end. A significant injection of talent is desperately needed. Or Claude Julien must abandon his zone scheme which has been flummoxing his players and exacerbating the issues on defence.

And Julien might want to reconsider his use of Alex Galchenyuk. The 23-year-old leads the team in power-play goals and is second in shooting percentage. Yet Galchenyuk’s ice-time has been limited while the coach and GM and taken turns stripping him of his confidence.

One more bit of advice: it’s never wise for Bell Centre patrons to start the Ole chant in the first period but especially given the way the Habs are playing this season. 

The Canadiens now head out on the road for four games next week. They still occupy the 30th slot in the NHL standings.

~~~

▲     Carey Price, Phillip Danault, Artturi Lehkonen, Alex Galchenyuk, Michael McCarron, Shea Weber, Max Pacioretty, Andrew Shaw, Brendan Gallagher

▼     Torrey Mitchell, Tomas Plekanec, Charles Hudon, Jordie Benn, Karl Alzner, Victor Mete

 Statistics 
CANADIENS   RANGERS
43 Shots 26
 58% Face-offs  42%
1-for-6  Power Play 1-for-4
10 Penalty Minutes 14
31 Hits 32
71 Corsi For  61
 Scoring
 FINAL 1 2 3 OT SO T
 Canadiens (3-7-1) 3 1 1 5
 Rangers (3-7-2) 0 2 2 4
Scorers Goalies
  • MTL: Byron (3), Galchenyuk (3), Danault (2), Pacioretty (3), Danault (3)
  • NYR: Buchnevich (4), Nash (2), Zibanejad (7), Skyei (2) 
  • MTL: Price (W) 3-6-1
  • NYR: Pavelec (L) 1-3-0
 NHL Three Stars

NHL3stars
 

  1. Phillip Danault  MTL
  2. Max Pacioretty  MTL
  3. Rick Nash  NYR

 Video Highlights 
 Post-game Press Conference
Coach Claude Julien

  • “We had a good start tonight and we took over from there. In the second period, we talked about having some good shifts and keeping the momentum going, but it didn’t happen and that’s on us. New York slowly got back into it in the third. We’ve gone through a lot, but tonight we found a way to win and that’s a positive. But I’m not going to tell you everything is good. We still have some situations where we’re fragile.”

Max Pacioretty

  • “Let’s go out there and try to be the difference. Let’s try to win this game. We’ve been in this position so many times this year, and what good comes out of feeling sorry for yourself? Everyone had the right mindset, and it showed with a full team effort.”

Quotes courtesy of NHL.com

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