RECAP | Coyotes – Canadiens: Habs Lose Special Teams Battle

Canadiens Lineup

Forward lines

Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher

Ilya Kovalchuk  – Nick Suzuki – Joel Armia

Jonathan Drouin – Max Domi – Artturi Lehkonen

Nick Cousins – Nate Thompson – Jake Evans

Defence pairings

Ben Chiarot – Victor Mete

Brett Kulak – Jeff Petry

Marco Scandella – Xavier Ouellet

Goaltenders

Carey Price – Charlie Lindgren

Scratches

Jordan Weal, Dale Weise, Christian Folin

Injuries

Paul Byron, Shea Weber

Game Report

The Canadiens got off to a great start. Before the game was two minutes old, the home team had a two-goal lead. Given that it took more than 57 minutes to score their first on Saturday night, 

But how the goals were scored gave extra incentive to excite Bell Centre fans. Buzzsaw Brendan Gallagher drove to the net to give Montreal a two-goal lead. And the opening marker came from Jake Evans, the first goal of his NHL career.

Even when Brett Kulak made yet another terrible pass that led to a Derek Stepan goal, there didn’t seem much cause for concern. Besides the Canadiens had an extended 5-on-3 man advantage that straddled the first and second periods.

But with 1:39 of power-play time featuring five Canadiens forwards against three Coyotes defenders, the Habs couldn’t muster much of anything. As Gallagher said post-game, Montreal needed to score with a two-man advantage but at the very least, they needed to create positive momentum. They did neither.

In fact, the Coyotes built on their penalty-kill and went on to dominate the second period. They outshot the Habs 17-3 in the middle frame. Carey Price had another outstanding game but was particularly strong in the second.

Montreal ended the night 0-for-6 with the man advantage. The Canadiens have just an 8.3 percent success rate on the power-play in the last nine games. Arizona cashed in on a power-play chance with a minute left for the winning goal.

There will be news on Tuesday about Phillip Danault and whether he will be travelling to Boston. And the team will not be able to stall much longer delivering the news, expected to be bad, on Shea Weber.

The Canadiens need to win at about a .771 clip the rest of the way to covert their slim chance into a playoff spot.

Meanwhile, serious trades have begun with at least one potential partner for Marc Bergevin looking after their needs elsewhere. The Penguins were reportedly interested in Tomas Tatar or Max Domi. They picked up Jason Zucker instead.

Time for Marc Bergevin to accept reality and do his job to improve the organization before the opportunities are no longer available.

The Canadiens will practice at 11:00 am. on Tuesday before departing for Boston where they will play the Bruins on Thursday night.

Plus / Minus

▲  Carey Price, Brendan Gallagher

▼  Victor Mete, Jeff Petry, Brett Kulak, Marco Scandella, Nate Thompson