Game Day Notebook: No changes to Canadiens lineup for Game 4 vs. Rangers

Montreal Canadiens v New York Rangers - Game Three

STU COWAN

NEW YORK — There was a huge media lineup outside the Canadiens’ locker room following their morning skate Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.

As Canadiens coach Claude Julien came off the ice and walked past the line, he said: “Lineup for the movie?”

Then came Alex Galchenyuk, who said to the media: “Free doughnuts?”

The Canadiens had good reason to be in a good mood as they took a 2-1 series lead into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series against the New York Rangers Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden (7 p.m., CBC, TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690). The Canadiens will be in an even better mood if they can win Game 4, which would mean they would head back to Montreal with a chance to wrap up the series in Game 5 Thursday night at the Bell Centre.

Julien isn’t planning to make any roster moves from Game 3, which means Brandon Davidson will remain the sixth defenceman, while Nikita Nesterov is a healthy scratch for the second straight game.

“He was solid,” Julien said about Davidson’s performance in Game 3, which was the defenceman’s first-ever NHL playoff game. “Solid is when those guys come in, especially a defenceman, and to a certain extent I guess it’s just a phrase you use. If you don’t notice him, it means he did something well. I don’t think he stuck out for anything that we regret or that was negative. And so to me he played a real solid game.”

The 25-year-old Davidson, who was acquired from the Edmonton Oilers at the NHL trade deadline in exchange for David Desharnais, logged 9:06 of ice time during Game 3, had one giveaway and blocked one shot while being even in plus/minus.

Defenceman Jordie Benn is still getting used to the media mob that follows the Canadiens after being acquired from the Dallas Stars at the NHL trade deadline in exchange for Greg Pateryn.

“I’ve never seen so many people,” Benn said when he met with the media at MSG on Monday. “Usually it’s pretty quiet around there (in Dallas), but it’s good.”

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Watch Julien’s news conference

You can watch Julien’s Tuesday morning news conference from Madison Square Garden on the HI/O Facebook page, where you can also see video of Alexander Radulov working on his shot during the morning skate.

The lines and defence pairings

Here’s how the Canadiens’ lines and defence pairings are expected to look for Game 4:

Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
Lehkonen – Galchenyuk – Shaw
Mitchell – Ott – King

Markov – Weber
Benn – Petry
Beaulieu – Davidson

Price

Galchenyuk sticking at centre

After being demoted to left wing on the fourth line to start the playoffs, Alex Galchenyuk has worked his way back up to centre on the third line between Artturi Lehkonen and Andrew Shaw.

Galchenyuk is also playing on the power play and set up Shea Weber’s power-play goal in Game 3 with a sweet pass.

When he met with the media on Monday, captain Max Pacioretty was asked what to look for when Galchenyuk is at his best.

“When he’s skating, when he’s not necessarily thinking too much, more of reacting, and that’s the same for most offensive guys,” Pacioretty said. “When you’re out there reacting rather than thinking … I think when you think, that’s when you tend to railroad and get away from just your instincts and moving your feet. It’s just the way all offensive guys go and I’ve been really impressed with his last two games and we need him and everyone else on the team to have that same mindset.”

Much-improved PK unit

The Canadiens ranked 14th in penalty-killing during the regular season with an 81.1 per cent success rate, but made some noticeable improvements in that area after Julien took over from the fired Michel Therrien on Valentine’s Day.

The Canadiens have been perfect on the penalty-kill against the Rangers, shutting them out in all 10 of their power-play opportunities in the first three games of the series. Assistant coach J.J. Daigneault has been in charge of the penalty-killing units this season, but Julien made some changes to the PK system after he took over.

“I’d just say little tweaks here and there,” Julien said about the changes. “This penalty-kill wasn’t bad and sometimes it just takes a little tweak here and there to make those things happen. So for me, it’s making sure you don’t run out of position when you’re not supposed to. But at the same time, it’s about being aggressive when it’s time to be aggressive and it’s about picking the right time to do that.

“It’s not that I’m trying to hide things, but I certainly don’t want to give the other team information on things that we do specifically,” the coach added. “Guys have done a good job even on the entries, standing up at the blue line, making the entries a little harder. In the zone, we’ve been a little bit more compact and when the puck’s been loose we’ve been on those things aggressively.

“There was not a lot that was wrong with the penalty kill (before the new coah arrived) except for a couple of tweaks and I thought J.J. had done a good job. I just came in here and suggested a couple of small things that really didn’t disrupt what he was doing and it’s worked in our favour so far.”

Putting confidence back in the CH

One of the first things Julien wanted to improve when he took over as head coach was the players’ confidence after they had won only one of their last seven games under Therrien (1-5-1).

When asked after the morning skate what impact his contribution was to fixing that, Julien said: “I think they’re (the players) probably better suited to answer that question. I just do my job and do it the same way every day. I like to be positive, but I also like to be honest. We’re not going to sugar coat anything. If there’s something that needs to be fixed, we fix it. But at the end of the day, you get your energy from the positive feedback you get and you find ways to find positive (things) even in the tough moments.”

Benn fitting in nicely

Benn has been a very nice fit on the Canadiens’ blue line since being acquired from Dallas. He has averaged 20:34 of ice time during the first three games and his ability to kill penalties has given veteran Andrei Markov a bit of a break from those duties.

“I’m glad you mentioned him because he’s more of a defensive guy, but he’s really, really smart in the way he plays,” Pacioretty said about Benn. “I think he has a lot of good instincts. When he goes back to retrieve pucks, he’s not a robot. He’s really deceptive and that’s really hard to forecheck. But he’s rock solid. 

“He just reads the game really, really well and has been rock solid and has been a huge, huge impact on this team.”

Benn was asked what his expectations were when he arrived in Montreal after the trade.

“I never really thought about it,” the bearded man said. “I just thought I’d come in here and log some minutes and take care of what I could take care of. As of right now, I’ve got I guess a little bigger role, if you want to say that. But it’s just playing hockey.”

Benn has also been able to learn a few things while watching veterans Markov and Shea Weber closely.

“You watch Marky and Weby go at it … for how many minutes they log and how consistent they are on the ice, you just take what you can from them,” Benn said. “It’s nice and a little bit of a learning process at the same time.”

Benn has really been impressed by Markov’s consistency.

“He always seems to be in the right place at the right time,” Benn said. “He’s obviously been around a long time and I’m a big thing of being consistent and he’s one of those guys that you know what you’re going to get from him and he does it every night.” 

The Mountain Man

Weber, who was called “Mountain Man” by Team Canada coach Mike Babcock during the World Cup of Hockey, has averaged 28:36 of ice time through the first three games against the Rangers with 1-1-2 totals and a plus-3, along with his first fight as a Canadien, pummelling J.T. Miller in Game 2.

“Shea is just eating up huge minutes,” Pacioretty said. “It’s really nice to see him get rewarded offensively because he’s been playing so great and he’s just so, so hard to play against.

“It’s really nice when on a faceoff you look back there and you see Webs because you know that it makes life a little bit easier on you as a forward,” the captain added. “That trickles down throughout the lineup and whether it starts with him or Carey (Price) or someone else … we can sit here and go through every player on the team and feel the impact that they’ve made so far, especially the last two games. And it’s just really nice to have that feeling, especially when you’re one of the leaders and you can talk about everyone on the team and say positive things.

“It just shows a lot about the confidence in our group right now.”

The schedule

Here’s a look at the schedule for the rest of the Canadiens-Rangers series:

Tuesday, April 18: at New York, 7 p.m., CBC, TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690
Thursday, April 20: at Montreal, 7 p.m., CBC, TVA Sports, TSN Radio 690.
* Saturday, April 22: at New York, TBD.
* Monday, April 24: at Montreal, TBD
*- if necessary

• Canadiens embrace playoff atmosphere at MSG, by Stu Cowan

• We need to keep focus on our game, Julien says, by Pat Hickey

• It’s on Vigneault to shake Rangers out of Garden misery, N.Y. Post

• Rangers turn to golfer Sergio Garcia for inspiration, N.Y. Daily News

• Canadiens in New York state of mind after Game 3 win, by Pat Hickey

• In the Habs Room: Radulov still has bite, if not as many teeth, by Pat Hickey

• Practice on set play led to Lehkonen’s first NHL playoff goal, by Stu Cowan

• Ott playing like a “mad Muppet” for Canadiens, by Stu Cowan

• Sacré bleu! Leafs could meet Habs in playoffs, by Jack Todd

• Rangers in danger of short series, by N.Y. Daily News

• No excuse for Rangers’ latest Garden letdown, by N.Y. Post

• Zuccarello urges Rangers to show some desperation, by N.Y. Times

• Coaches Julien, Vigneault were once minor-league teammates, by Stu Cowan

• Canadiens will go as far as Carey Price can carry them, by Stu Cowan

• Ten of the best places in Montreal to watch Habs playoff games, montrealgazette.com

• Canadiens go “ALL IN” with new playoff T-shirts, by Stu Cowan

• Pacioretty growing into his role as captain, by Stu Cowan

• Three current Habs weren’t born last time Canadiens won Cup, by Stu Cowan

• Canadiens, Rangers add new chapter to rich playoff history, by Jack Todd

• Andrew Shaw sets sights on a third Stanley Cup ring, by Stu Cowan

87 Comments

  1. Le Revenant says:

    Here’s a Detroit fan’s take on the plight of the Red Wings and the competence of Ken Holland.

    http://deadspin.com/the-dynasty-that-ate-itself-1794385282

    ———————————————————————–
    “Last season we couldn’t win at home. This season we can’t win on the road. My failure as a coach is I can’t think of any place else to play.”–Harry Neale

    http://relentlessineptitude.blogspot.com/

  2. DipsyDoodler says:

    It’s simple.

    1. Habs
    2. Any Canadian Team but the Leafs.
    3. Leafs
    4. Any team that did not tank.
    5. Any team that tanked but isn’t Boston or Philly.
    6. Philadelphia.
    7. World War III.
    8. Sun explodes annihilating the entire solar system.
    9. Intelligent apes rise up and enslave us all.
    10. Bruins.

    —–

  3. Timo says:

    Boone’s in a deep slumber again. Less than 2 hours before puck drop.

  4. DipsyDoodler says:

    Burly’s Bavarians getting hosed by the ref in Madrid today.

    —–

  5. cerbere29 says:

    NHL.TV is blacked out here. Anybody got a good streaming link for tonight?

  6. Calgary Steven says:

    Mid series prediction check:

    Calgary Steven April 11, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Ok. Time to get off the fence with the bracket predictions.

    Chicago
    St. Louis
    Anaheim
    Edmonton
    Montreal
    Boston… and…
    Toronto
    Pittsburgh

    What the heck is with Chicago and Boston? Otherwise pretty much on track.

  7. Ian Cobb says:

    Tonights winning lineup!!

    Pacioretty – Danault – Radulov
    Byron – Plekanec – Gallagher
    Lehkonen – Galchenyuk – Shaw
    Mitchell – Ott – King

    Markov – Weber
    Benn – Petry
    Beaulieu – Davidson

    Carey Price

  8. careysubban3176 says:

    Am I the only one who wants all the Canadian teams to win? Obviously the Habs come first, but I’ll root for any Canadian team over a United States team hands down just so I can see Bettman get pissed off.

    “Stop blaming the goaltender! He can only do so much”

    • habsr4ever says:

      I just want our competition in each round to be worn down a LOT.
      If it is a Canadian team GREAT…..if not – don’t care.
      The road to the final will go threw Pittsburgh. Can’t see anybody beating them except us.
      Just say’in.

      Out WEST – sheesh – Preds look awfully good. But so do the Blues and Oilers and Ducks. Will be interesting to see who comes out of the West.

    • ari says:

      I think for Montreal side,Boston is much better than Ottawa.

    • HabsfanlostinTO says:

      Yes, Canada First!

      ______________________________________________

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      I don’t think Bettman cares that much. He earns his $8M a year paid by you the hockey fan no matter what.

      —–

    • habs-fan-84 says:

      I’ve never understood this logic.
      Every team is full of Canadian players.

      When Boston won the Cup in 2010, I think there were only 3 or 4 non-Canadian players on the team. They had significantly more Canadians than Vancouver had. Naturally, I rooted for Vancouver (because of our rivalry with Boston), but if you were cheering for Canadian talent, the team to have cheered for would’ve been Boston, not Vancouver.

      • DipsyDoodler says:

        It has nothing to do with the players for me. When Anaheim or New Jersey win, they can’t even find a place for a parade.

        Canada has almost all the fans, and we overwhelmingly subsidize the game in the US.

        —–

        • joeybarrie says:

          That I am afraid is simply not true. While an overwhelming amount of Canadians are hockey fans. There are a lot more American hockey fans out there. They may not be as passionate. Not anywhere near as awesome. But the American market is much bigger than the Canadian market.
          2.7 million average Canadians watched the 2014 Playoffs
          6 million average Americans watched the 2014 Playoffs.

    • Danno says:

      No to Toronto and Ottawa which I both detest

      ________________________________________

      “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”
      Updates, highlights & great discussions on all things Habs

    • DDO_Habs_Fan says:

      After the Habs, I prefer (only cheer for the Habs) teams who have not won it before and/or have players and a play style that I like.

    • Mavid says:

      nope I want Ottawa out…

      º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

      Weed Wacker -and now Flamethrower Grandma Smurf

  9. habsr4ever says:

    Let’s survive the first 5 minutes please.
    If we get the first goal of the game – the fans will get on the home team and we will cruise to victory.
    I expect Shaw and Chucky and Lehkonen to have a great game tonight. Chucky loves playing at MSG.

  10. DipsyDoodler says:

    For the Leaf haters now the best outcome is they take a 3-1 lead, Caps win the next two, it goes to game 7, Leafs take a seemingly unsurmountable lead early – say 4-0 – but Caps come back to win it in the 3rd, and it breaks those young players forever.

    —–

  11. Strummer says:

    So no changes in the line-up which means another 9 unspectacular minutes from Davidson.
    Puts more minutes on the top 5.
    Hope Marky can keep up the pace

    Get well soon T-74 you effin’ tank!

    -Some folks really have trouble letting go of stuff, eh?-

    • weirdscience says:

      I’d expect that CJ will increase the Davidson and Beaulieu pairing’s minutes as he gains confidence in them?

      Agree we need Emmy back pronto, though.

  12. jols says:

    Great coverage on all things Habs this playoff run by HI/O. I hardly even have to go to EOTP for any info anymore.

  13. FenceSurfer says:

    For me the most pleasant surprise this playoff so far is the excellent contribution of big Benn. Thank you Miss Pateryn.

    • Strummer says:

      Benn’s been great but Pateryn would be an upgrade on Davidson though.
      can’t wait for Yemmy’s return.

      -Some folks really have trouble letting go of stuff, eh?-

    • habsr4ever says:

      I still can’t believe people are debating to protect Benn or N8. Its Benn hands down end of discussion period.
      I’m out.

  14. Chuck says:

    Just give me a solid, if unspectacular regulation road win and I will sleep a blissful slumber tonight.

  15. Gazza Strip says:

    Decisions decisions. A few weeks ago I bought tickets to see a really good up and coming band here in Fredericton. We don’t get that many great shows down here so it’s a very tough decision to either watch the game or go see July Talk. Of course I can always record it on the PVR and watch it when I get home. What would you do?

    • Seps says:

      Go to the show! This is only first round, you can watch the highlights of a road win tomorrow and a closing out of the Rangers on Thursday.

    • DipsyDoodler says:

      Go to the show.

      —–

    • Luke says:

      A lot of my friends are really keen on July Talk right now.
      (I have no opinion).
      I’d probably record the game and go to the show.
      It’s the first round and it’s not a clincher.

      I might even peek at the score so I didn’t end up watching a few hours of losing hockey. Have a trusted friend advise you if the final score is within 1 or 2… or whatever your personal threshold is.
      😉

    • Ozmodiar says:

      Go to the show.

    • Mavid says:

      Go to the show PVR the game..try and not see the score..

      º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

      Weed Wacker -and now Flamethrower Grandma Smurf

    • HabsfanlostinTO says:

      Go to July Talk! Love them. They gave an excellent performance on the Junos a couple of weeks ago.

      ______________________________________________

    • johnnylarue says:

      They beat out my buds Black Mountain for a Juno award this year. BOYCOTT THE SHOW!!!

      (Just kidding. Junos are a joke. Go to the show.)

    • Chuck says:

      I’ve seen them and chatted with them. July Talk is a very entertaining live band. Go and enjoy yourself.

    • twocents says:

      Go to the show. They are awesome live. They may never come your way again. Take the advice on taping the game. Then catch game 5.

    • joeybarrie says:

      Go to the show. Hockey is great. But unless you are choosing between the show and going to the game in NYC…. Go to the live show.
      Good luck PVRing it and not finding out the score.
      But you gotta live. Hockey isnt everything.
      Maybe if it were game 5 of the Finals and we could win the Cup tonight, I would say skip. But life….

  16. Arnold 56-79 says:

    Time to drop the hammer and take the fight out of the Rangers.

    No doubt the Broadway Blue shirts follow the time tested script and come out hitting everyone in sight. That energizes the fans and rebounds to the team. Habs will try and stay disciplined, absorb the punishment and counter attack. The first give minutes will be important.

    I have a hunch that Captain Max has a big game. He’s been skating more fluidly the last two games and just missed on some one timers and set plays. He seems pumped up and really invested in the coach, system and team mates. Sometimes just anticipating the chance to bury a team gets certain players more focussed and confident.

    Price also will rise to the occasion in the head to head goalie battle. In an ESPN round table discussion Pierre LeBrun and others still are rating Lundquist slightly above Carey. It would be poetic justice to sweep the games in New York and avenge his last playoff appearance there.

    Momentum is with Montreal. They can’t relax or let up against a good team, but they know what needs to be done and are a veteran group with a proven championship coach. Something the other coach has failed at for a decade and a half.

  17. montreal ace says:

    I expect if the Leafs win their next game, the media in Toronto will just say, that if they find out other scores from the games that night, they will be announced after the documentary, of the Leafs win.

  18. montreal ace says:

    I expect a chippy affair from the rags tonight, with Price getting run. I can’t forget how I was feeling, when we were down in game 2 with 17 seconds left, so I won’t be trash talking the rags. Bergy has done a fine job, getting some size on the D, I think it has something to do with the rags looking slower then usual. The biggest media market in the US, I wonder who Bettman will be pulling for,

  19. Thomas Le Fan says:

    I’m thinking a Habs/Leafs Eastern final and then Habs/Preds in the big show. Wouldn’t that be fun? Too bad the Leafs and Sens won’t meet. They could kill each other and do us a favor.

    It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. – Mark Twain

  20. Luke says:

    I understand that long-suffering Leaf fans finally have something to be excited about, but they are aware that this is just the first round of a possible four, right?

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Thankfully we Habs fans don’t get excited if our team wins round 1. I mean many teams have gone on to win the Cup after losing round 1.

      • New says:

        I think the Leafs should be excited. Matthews will likely be the first Leaf to get his name engraved on the Cup since 2004-05 when S. Eason, N. Ot, and P. Layed were the best result they had since the 1960’s.

    • Strummer says:

      Leafs are playing with house money now.
      The expectation was another lottery pick this year so it feels like a Stanley Cup if they don’t get swept in the first round.

      -Some folks really have trouble letting go of stuff, eh?-

  21. habsrule_29 says:

    7pm cannot come fast enough!

  22. Gerry Pigeon says:

    By end of game, Habs will hold a 3-1 series lead and be solidly in the driver’s seat ☺

    Habs 4-1 winners tonight and King Henrik gets the yank!

    AV adapts while CJ stays the course. The course of winning, that is.

  23. Mavid says:

    Will this work day ever end….

    º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º°¨¨¨°º¤ø ¸„ø¤GO HABS GOø¤º

    Weed Wacker -and now Flamethrower Grandma Smurf

  24. sims says:

    Man Mountain

  25. Timo says:

    So according to some people Flames are down 3-0 because Toronto hates the Alberta teams.

    Does Toronto even know Flames exist?

  26. Timo says:

    … and Galcheyuk taking digs are CJ’s love for donuts isn’t helping his cause.

  27. Timo says:

    Jeezus the beer prices.

  28. Kylo Ren says:

    @Dunboyne Mike:

    If you see this, please e-mail me when it’s convenient at hansolo SEVEN FIVE EIGHT (in numbers) AT hotmail dot com; we can discuss whether it be possible for us to get together in Ireland in May.

  29. Islandhabber69 says:

    Missed turd and got fordth..

  30. veryhabby says:

    where is everyone today?

    Jack Todd article above….agree 100%. And I live in TO! So I expect to hear how amazing the leafs are like no other team (gee just 3 other ones last night) have ever come back from 2-3 goals in a game to force OT and win. LOL. Leafs are doing something no other team in 100 years of nhl playoffs have ever done. They are winning a series vrs the #1 team.

    Wow they are amazing. Agree that Media making us hate the Leafs even more then we already do,

    • HabinBurlington says:

      The perils of when both sports media conglomerates own the local teams. The coverage of all the teams owned by Bell/Rogers or Jays with Rogers alone is ridiculously biased, but to be expected.

      It is afterall all about those companies subscribers and most of their subscribers live in the GTA.

  31. johnnylarue says:

    Hot damn, silver medal!

  32. Bergevin's Foxhole says:

    First, to say those beer prices are insane!


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