The Canadiens hit the ice Monday morning for practice in Brossard with a complete new set of lines as they prepare to face the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m., RDS, TSN Radio 690).
The new setup had Tomas Plekanec at centre with Rene Bourque and Brian Gionta; Lars Eller with Alex Galchenyuk and Brandon Prust; David Desharnais with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher; and Daniel Briere with Michael Bournival and Travis Moen. George Parros and Ryan White were the odd men out.
The defensive pairings at practice ended up having P.K. Subban with Andrei Markov; Josh Gorges with Alexei Emelin; and Francis Bouillon with Raphael Diaz. Douglas Murray was the seventh defenceman.
Coach Michel Therrien went back to some line combinations that were successful last season when the Canadiens ranked third in goals scored behind Pittsburgh and Chicago. This season, the Canadiens rank 21st in goals for with 2.43 a game and that number is shrinking. The Canadiens have 18 goals in their last 11 games, an average of 1.64.
“We liked what we saw last year with (Rene) Bourque, (Tomas) Plekanec and (Brian) Gionta,” Therrien said. “We didn’t get the start we were looking for from them, but we’ll see what they can do. And we have Brendan Gallagher with (David) Desharnais, who is competing, and so is Pacioretty. We believe it’s going to be good for our team.”
Said Pacioretty, who has only two goals this season: “We played most of last season together and we had some success. (Gallagher) can dig out pucks and maybe get his nose dirty. He might help us out, but we all have to take a look in the mirror and we all have to play better.”
Said Gallagher: “Things aren’t going well, so we have to make some changes. I’m familiar with what they can do.”
(Photo by John Kenney/The Gazette)