Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Ilya Kovalchuk
Artturi Lehkonen – Max Domi – Nick Suzuki
Ryan Poehling – Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Nick Cousins
Jordan Weal – Nate Thompson – Dale Weise
Ben Chiarot – Shea Weber
Marco Scandella – Jeff Petry
Victor Mete – Cale Fleury
Carey Price – Charlie Lindgren
Matthew Peca, Brett Kulak
Paul Byron, Jonathan Drouin, Joel Armia, Brendan Gallagher
Two wins in a row and the Canadiens playoff chances are still in the single digits. But there are reasons to be hopeful for the future.
Feeling down about the playoff picture?
Just watch Cale Fleury send Milan Lucic airborne on an endless loop. And Lucic’s face as he lay on the ice. Zach Rinaldo was on the receiving end of two solid reverse checks by Fleury tonight too.
Bell Centre fans appreciated the physical play, particularly the launch of the villain Lucic. And you should too.
Or take a look at the patience of Ryan Poehling who, with his first option cut off, held the puck finding an alternate way to score. It was a goal scorer’s goal.
His first goal of the season came in his 20th game. He has overcome an injury to start the season, a trip to Laval and learning a new position in the best league in the world. You have to admire how hard he works, and how well he has been playing without finding his name on the scoresheet.
Then there was Jordan Weal’s fifth goal of the season. You might also take pleasure in knowing that the new coach behind the bench next season is probably not going to be quite as enamored with Weal as Claude Julien has been.
Find the moment in the game that makes you happy.
Then there was the play of Carey Price who has endured an avalanche of unwarranted criticism this season. The folks that like to pretend they know numbers will quote save percentage or goals against as some sort of serious indictment. But return just a blank stare when they are asked to identify soft goals, or the number of high-danger chances or even the reason a general manager might neglect his responsibility to acquire a top-pairing left defenceman.
Price was brilliant once again tonight earning the 46th shutout of his career. That numbers ties Price with Ken Dryden for third place on the Canadiens all-time list. Only Jacques Plante and George Hainsworth sit above Price, who owns just about every other goaltending record of the Montreal Canadiens.
Just repeat those names and let that sink in a bit. If you are a true Canadiens fan, it should be a smile on your face.
Pay attention to the detail. Enjoy those moments this season. And remember the big picture.
As long as the deadwood is cleared, at the trade deadline and the end of the season — that includes personnel who wear ties rather than jerseys — the Canadiens ship could finally be headed in the right direction.
Plus / Minus
▲ Carey Price, Ryan Poehling, Cale Fleury
▼ Max Domi