Rabid Habs

Ch-Ch-Changes

Montreal Canadiens

“When things aren’t going well offensively, it’s good to mix things up to create a spark. Sometimes, you can get a little bit too comfortable with your linemates and the production goes down. The simple fact is that having new faces around you can help you get your scoring touch back.” – Max Pacioretty

Michel Therrien’s troops arrived in Ohio and after coming off a pair of consecutive losses, the Montreal Canadiens were ready to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Nationwide Arena. Coach Michel Therrien, looking to get back in the win column shuffled his four lines around at practice on Monday and because he was keeping the same lines for Tuesday morning’s practice as well, it was possible that these new lines would be seeing ice time on Wednesday night. While the lines may seem slightly odd and dangerous for the team (P.A. Parenteau will be lined up with Alex Galchenyuk and Brandon Prust while Lars Eller will center a line flanked by David Desharnais and Dale Weise, and Tomas Plekanec will play between Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher while Manny Malhotra will center a trio with Michael Bournival and Jiri Sekac on the wing), the new lines could give the proper power play advantage that the Habs needed to walk away with a victory. Also dealing with two losses from Friday and Saturday night, the Blue Jackets would be looking to slide into the win column as well. Sixteen points may have separated the Canadiens and the Blue Jackets in the Eastern Conference standings, but Columbus is known for boasting the type of talent that can defeat even the best of teams on any given night. Also, with Nick Foligno already racking up nine special teams goals while Ryan Johansen has five to his name, the Canadiens would have to work hard to cover the top players on the opposite end of the ice.

Only five minutes and 29 seconds in, Kevin Connauton slipped one past Carey Price which gave the Blue Jackets the first goal of the night and a one to nothing lead. The Canadiens had a number of good chances to score on the Columbus net, but seemed to be struggling to put the pucks in behind Sergei Bobrovsky. Even though the Canadiens were able to tackle some of the Blue Jackets’ overbearing energy, they were just no match for the Jackets’ speed and Columbus led the period until the clock ran out.

Despite their best efforts, the Habs struggled in the second period which led the Blue Jackets to lead another period and unfortunately for the Montreal Canadiens, the third period didn’t seem to be acting so kind to them either as Ryan Johansen (assisted by James Wisniewski and Nick Foligno) gave the Blue Jackets another point on the power play with only 10 minutes and 22 seconds left. While things were looking bleak for the Habs, Max Pacioretty turned the tables with eight minutes and 30 seconds left with a power play goal (assisted by Brendan Gallagher and Andrei Markov). The Canadiens were applying the pressure hard and doing everything they could to even up the score but the Blue Jackets weren’t making it easy for the Habs to rack up another point. However, P.K. Subban gave the Habs another power play goal (assisted by Andrei Markov and Alex Galchenyuk) with only five minutes and 36 seconds left which left the scoreboards officially tied up. It was now a battle to see who could outscore who in the few minutes the teams had left on the ice, but third time was definitely a charm for the Habs as Max Pacioretty scored the third power play goal of the night with only four minutes and 37 seconds left (assisted by Tomas Plekanec and Sergei Gonchar). The third period was shining for the Canadiens and the Blue Jackets were anything but happy. Despite their best efforts, the Columbus Blue Jackets just couldn’t stop the Montreal Canadiens from walking away with a three to two victory.

Here are my thoughts about last night’s game:

  • Okay, I’ll admit that when I saw Michel Therrien’s line up changes that I was quite anxious about how the game was going to work out. I won’t lie, I didn’t expect the Canadiens to win and it’s not because I don’t have faith in them. It’s because 1) The Columbus Blue Jackets are a very talented team which any best team in the NHL would struggle to beat and 2) Whenever we’ve seen line up changes when the other lines were working out well, it’s always backfired. I was wrong and was actually surprised at how well the Montreal Canadiens killed it on the ice. They still worked well together, they kept great puck control, and even though they only grabbed three goals they still were able to keep the pucks deep in the Blue Jackets zone and fought hard.

The Montreal Canadiens head to the capital of Ontario to face the Ottawa Senators tonight at 7:30pm

Follow Jessica-Lyn on Twitter: @strucxtures