Forward lines and defense pairings
Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Danault – Shaw
King – Mitchell – McCarron
Markov – Weber
Emelin – Petry
Beaulieu – Benn
Brandon Davidson, Brian Flynn, Michael McCarron, Andreas Martinsen, Nikita Nesterov
The question coming into this weekend was Who is the class of the Atlantic division? While the Canadiens won the game on Saturday, the question remained open as the victory came by the slimmest of margins. Carey Price was perfect in the shootout and Craig Anderson was not.
Sunday’s contest was a completely different kettle of fish. The Canadiens were solid, top to bottom. They dominated on every part of the ice.
Let’s be clear, there are still on-ice issues (the power-play could be better.) Despite having a favorable schedule, games still have to be won before Montreal can be crowned champs of the Atlantic. But there were some very good signs on Sunday night.
The secondary scoring that went on hiatus for the middle part of the season has returned. Canadiens fans reviewing the scoresheet should be smiling. And the timing couldn’t be better. Tomas Plekanec was superb.
For all of the nonsense about exiling Alexei Emelin, the Canadiens will need him playing a strong role if they are to go anywhere in the playoffs. Quite correctly, Claude Julien returned Emelin to the lineup on Sunday and he didn’t disappoint one bit.
But when push came to shove, the turning point was provided by Carey Price. With the Canadiens leading 2-1, Price made a spectacular toe save on Kyle Turris. Had the Senators tied the game in the second period despite having been thoroughly outplayed, the outcome could have been quite different.
It’s Price’s brilliant play since Julien’s arrival that has propelled this ship.
▲ Carey Price, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Shea Weber, Artturi Lehkonen, Brendan Gallagher, Alexei Emelin