Hey, you want style points?
Stay tuned for the Winter Olympics.
There will be style points up the triple-lutz wazoo at Sochi.
Here in Montreal, we’ll settle for points in the standings.
And a singularly unstylish 2-0 win over Calgary boosted your Canadiens past Toronto into third place in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division standings.
The game was not one for the ageless, timeless, classic DVD boxed set.
On a 1-to-10 entertainment scale, where 10 is Bruce Springsteen live and 1 is a monkey flinging feces out of his cage, the game checked in at about a 4 … surging to 5 when the fourth line was on the ice.
Newcomer Dale Weise teamed up with Michaël Bournival and Ryan White, back from the injury list, to produce some of the best fourth-line shifts we’ve seen this season.
The three can skate, do a bit of banging and generate some offence. White led all CH skaters with six shots on goal, adding two hits. Weise had three shots and three hits, while Bournioval added four hits.
A nice night’s work for about 13 minutes of ice time. The line’s only tense moments came after they iced the puck and Bob Hartley got his scorers – Sean Monahan, Joe Colborne and Mike Cammalleri – on against them. The Flames buzzed the Canadiens’ net briefly before a chip-out and offside call let Michel Therrien change up his personnel.
The fourth line’s performance almost certainly will compel Therrien to keep them together on Thursday night, when Vancouver visits the Bell Centre.
That game could have Sochi implications if, as expected, the goaltending duel matches Carey Price against Roberto Luongo.
I like Price’s chances.
Shrugging off Sunday’s loss to Winnipeg – when he was beaten short side on a wraparaound and then gifted a goal on a fugly turnover – Price was almost perfect in shutting out the Falmes.
The “almost” qualifier applies because Price was charged with three giveaways. The Canadiens coughed up the puck an eye-popping 22 times – against only six giveaways for Calgary – and the sloppiness might well have cost them against a better team than the Flames.
Nathan Beaulieu turned the puck over five times. Andrei Markov had four.
The only defenceman who wasn’t charged with a giveaway was Douglas Murray. The big guy had a couple of hits, a couple of blocked shots and was on the ice for the turning point of the game.
With Tomas Plekanec off for roughing, of all things, early in the second period and the game scoreless, Lars Eller was charged with a faceoff violation and Calgary had a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes.
Therrien deployed Murray, Josh Gorges and Brandon Prust. They played the full two minutes and held the Flames to three shots on Price.
OK, this was Calgary, with the league’s 26th-ranked power play. But still …
Speaking of struggling power plays, the Canadiens entered the game with 10 goals in 81 man-advantage opportunities over a 25 game stretch. That works out to an anemic 12.3 per cent success rate, but the number got a slight boost because David Desharnais’ empty-netter was a power-play goal.
On two earlier opportunities, however, it was futility as usual for Canadiens. With opposing penalty-killers pressuring Andrei Markov and P.K. Subban, the Canadiens have yet to come up with any down-low scoring threats.
You have to love a game in which Rene Bourque scored the winning goal – and added four hits against his former team. The line of Bourque, Lars Eller and Brandon Prust played well, and Daniel Brière continues to look good on the wing with Plekanec and Brian Gionta.
When Alex Galchenyuk returns after the Olympics, the Canadiens are going to have a traffic jam at the forward positions. If the Plekanec and David Desharnais lines remain intact, I’d like to see Galchenyuk play with Eller and Bourque.
That would relegate Prust to a the fourth line, where he would play with come combination of Weise, White, Moen, Parros or Bournival.
Too many players. Marc Bergevin will have the Olympic break to figure things out.
• Charlie Pierce, one of my heroes in journalism, was at the game. He tweeted this.
• Tweet of the Night, from my other hero, Down Goes Brown: Tim Thomas scored on by David Clarkson. Typical Republican, complains about horribly wasteful spending but won’t do anything to stop it.