Forward lines and defense pairings
Byron – Drouin – Galchenyuk
Pacioretty – Danault – Shaw
Hudon – Plekanec – Gallagher
Deslauriers – De La Rose – Froese
Alzner – Petry
Benn – Morrow
Jerabek – Mete
Brandon Davidson, David Schlemko
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Nikita Scherbak – knee, Al Montoya – concussion, Artturi Lehkonen – lower-body, Shea Weber – lower-body
The review of this game is quite simple. The Canadiens outplayed the Blue Jackets for 20 minutes putting the visitors in a 2-0 hole after the first period. Defending Vezina Trophy goaltender, Sergei Bobrovsky uncharacteristically gave up a weak goal just over three minutes into the game to Brendan Gallagher. Five minutes later, the home squad scored again with Jonathan Drouin notching his first power-play goal of the year.
The rest of the way it was the Carey Price show. Price outshone Bobrovsky as the Blue Jackets took over the game for the final 40 minutes. That included being the Canadiens’ best penalty-killer against the league’s worst power-play. Columbus came up empty in five opportunities with the man advantage.
Andrew Shaw confirmed this assessment saying, “Pricey was our best penalty-killer tonight. When he makes a big save, it builds the momentum. He’s the best goalie in the world and has been, year in and year out.” Shaw added, “We were giving up too many prime scoring chances.”
The Blue Jackets outshot the Habs 32-17 for the final two periods. Columbus used their size advantage to hammer Montreal, outhitting them 50-29. So, it was left to Price to provide the counter balance and he delivered with an outstanding performance for the second game in a row.
This approach to winning is obviously not sustainable, but has been the formula for success to get fans thinking about playoffs once again. With 23 points, the Canadiens are just two back from Detroit, with the Red Wings appearing on the schedule twice this week. The Ottawa Senators are in town Wednesday to round out three divisional games.
Given the four game week and a back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday, it’s safe to say that we will see Antti Niemi. With a chance to move into a playoff position, Niemi will be expected to replicate his performance against the Nashville Predators last week.
Jeff Petry has been a workhorse in the absence of Shea Weber with over 29 minutes of icetime against the Jackets. There is no word on the return date of Weber who would be a welcome sight back in the lineup. David Schlemko is also waiting in the wings after a two game conditioning stint in Laval.
▲ Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher, Tomas Plekanec, Jeff Petry
▼ Joe Morrow, Nicolas Deslauriers, Byron Froese