Forward lines and defense pairings
Galchenyuk – Drouin – Lehkonen
Pacioretty – Danault – Hudon
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Deslauriers – Shaw – Carr
Benn – Petry
Alzner – Schlemko
Morrow – Jerabek
Jacob De La Rose, Brett Lernout, Byron Froese
Ales Hemsky – concussion, Al Montoya – concussion, Shea Weber – lower-body
It was the Canadiens fifth straight loss with no hope in sight. Carey Price was outstanding once again despite his team giving up four goals. Price is a bargain at any cost. It could have been much, much worse.
The Habs only goal came with a 5-on-3 advantage and it went in off a skate. That says a lot about how the night went.
After 40 Canadiens games, there are just three teams below Montreal in the standings: Ottawa, Buffalo and Arizona. And given that the Senators have three games in hand, there is a chance that just two teams are worse.
While not mathematically eliminated just yet, the Canadiens will not be a playoff team this season. According to Sports Club Stats, the Habs have a 1.1 per cent chance of seeing action beyond the regular season.
Now that we have that out of the way, it should be clear that Marc Bergevin (or his successor) should be a seller between now and the NHL trade deadline on February 26th. For fans, it won’t be easy to trust Bergevin to manage this process given that he is the architect of the current mess. When the season began, the Canadiens GM marked this edition of the team with his stamp of approval, saying that it most closely matched his vision.
The Montreal defence has been struggling all season, but without Shea Weber, it’s a shambles. While it goes well beyond just one player, Claude Julien’s infatuation with Joe Morrow is simply inexplicable. The long-term signing of Karl Alzner looks like another major mistake by Bergevin. And Jordie Benn should not be asked to play in anything other than a number six slot.
Forty games is more than enough to know that Jonathan Drouin is not an NHL centre. Drouin cannot win a faceoff, has been weak defensively and isn’t developing chemistry nor production with linemates. It’s also clear why Drouin spent most of the season placed on the third and second lines in Tampa last season.
It’s time to see much more of Jacob De La Rose, Michael McCarron, Nikita Scherbak and Brett Lernout. This is not an effort to tank the season but to give young players the experience that they will need to potentially take on a bigger role next season and beyond.
The damage done by Bergevin has been extensive. While there are quality hockey people in the organization, it is time to move past the Bergevin era. Geoff Molson cannot allow any further deterioration of this once proud franchise.
▲ Carey Price
▼ David Schlemko, Karl Alzner, Joe Morrow, Jonathan Drouin, Claude Julien, Marc Bergevin