RECAP | Stars – Canadiens: Habs Express Frustrations

Canadiens Lineup

Forward lines

Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher

Ilya Kovalchuk  – Nick Suzuki – Artturi Lehkonen 

Jordan Weal – Max Domi – Joel Armia

Nick Cousins – Jake Evans – Dale Weise

Defence pairings

Ben Chiarot – Victor Mete

Brett Kulak – Jeff Petry

Marco Scandella – Xavier Ouellet

Goaltenders

Carey Price – Charlie Lindgren

Scratches

Christian Folin, Nate Thompson (virus), Jonathan Drouin

Injuries

Paul Byron, Shea Weber

Game Report

It was a bad week for the Montreal Canadiens. When they could least afford to lose a game, they began a four-game losing streak. 

It was a bad week for Claude Julien. The Habs head coach made foolish remarks about Shea Weber’s injury situation and made decisions that were detrimental to the success of his team.

It was a bad week for Brendan Gallagher. The feisty Canadiens winger had just one goal, was assessed four minutes in penalties and was a minus-4 in four games this week. Oh, and he was cross-checked in the throat.

It was also a very bad week for NHL officials. From the blown calls in the Canadiens game in Boston, to the meaningless fine for Zdeno Chara and to being called out very publicly by the Sharks’ Evander Kane.

Each of those entities collided head-on tonight at the Bell Centre. And when the dust settled, the result was not pretty.

Looking back on this game, the Dallas Stars become almost an after-thought. The main storylines came from Julien, Gallagher and NHL referee, Dean Morton.

In his post-game presser, Julien is known to complain/refuse when asked to repeat in English what he has already said in French. Tonight, he welcomed the opportunity to roast the officiating in both official languages. And in doing so, the coach, no doubt, invited a fine from the league.

Gallagher became so exercised and vocal towards one specific referee following the Stars’ overtime goal, that it appeared that he might get physical. Instead he destroyed his stick after delivering and receiving verbal abuse.

Say what you will about the officiating tonight and Julien itemized every poor call, in his opinion. But many felt that Morton crossed a line, letting his emotions get the better of him when he berated Gallagher with explicit language.

All of this noise distracted from the fact that the Canadiens collapsed after taking a 3-0 lead. It is certainly fair to to wonder what part the bad calls played into their poor play. And to question if the Habs would have taken advantage of opportunities on the man advantage given the current state of their anemic power-play.

The officiating provided a convenient excuse for the Canadiens effectively eliminating all of the other reasons they lost the game tonight. It also served to galvanize the team using an ‘us against them’ mentality.

There will be ramifications stemming from the officiating and the comments by the Canadiens. But once the chatter dies down, the issues plaguing Montreal will still remain. And they should be much more concerning.

The Canadiens are off on Sunday and will resume practice on Monday at Brossard. 

Plus / Minus

▲  Carey Price, Joel Armia, Artturi Lehkonen, Nick Suzuki

▼  Victor Mete, Marco Scandella, Xavier Ouellet, Brett Kulak, Dale Weise