Corey Perry – Nick Suzuki – Josh Anderson
Jonathan Drouin – Eric Staal – Tyler Toffoli
Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Jesperi Kotkaniemi
Paul Byron – Jake Evans – Artturi Lehkonen
Joel Edmundson – Shea Weber
Brett Kulak – Jeff Petry
Alexander Romanov – Victor Mete
Jake Allen – Cayden Primeau
Scratches Taxi Squad
Otto Leskinen, Brandon Baddock, Michael Frolik, Charlie Lindgren
Ben Chiarot (hand), Brendan Gallagher (hand), Carey Price (lower-body), Joel Armia (COVID protocol)
Playing the two teams who lead the North division (by winning percentage) in back-to-back contests, it’s hard to imagine that Dominique Ducharme’s game plan included giving up a goal in the first minute of play in each match. Sean Burke told us his goaltenders are encouraged to prepare their own game plans. Was giving up three goals in six shots part of Jake Allen’s strategy?
The Canadiens are three-quarters of the way through the first week of four games after having a forced pause. Four more weeks at this pace follow. Defensive breakdowns continue to be an issue with Victor Mete and Joel Edmundson being the prime culprits tonight.
Mete proved to be such a liability for the first 40 minutes that he never saw in the ice in the final frame. Ducharme and Luke Richardson determined that, despite the burden of extra minutes for their remaining five rearguards, they could not risk Mete’s presence while trailing the Jets by one goal entering the third period.
On the top pairing, Edmundson was having his own struggles. Given the cap relief provided by Brendan Gallagher’s injury, it is imperative that Marc Bergevin secures quality help for the blueline by the trade deadline.
An argument could be made that Montreal could also use another skilled forward. The lack of finish was once again evident against the Jets. The issue is exacerbated when Bergevin and Ducharme insist on including players like Jonathan Drouin, who is paid like a goal scorer but has just two goals in 37 games.
And while Bergevin paid a premium for Allen, the Canadiens are not getting wins when Carey Price is not in the net. Allen has one win in his last nine starts, going 1-4-4 in that time.
The Canadiens will have a day off on Friday. They will have a rematch with the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
▲ Jesperi Kotkaniemi
▼ Jonathan Drouin, Victor Mete, Eric Staal, Tyler Toffoli, Joel Edmundson, Dominique Ducharme
Check out the game preview here: Jets @ Canadiens: Habs – Jets Begin Two Game Set