Habs will face ‘great challenge’ in St. Louis

Coming off a 3-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens practised Wednesday morning in Brossard before heading to St. Louis, where they will face the Blues Thursday night (8 p.m., RDS, TSN Radio 690).

After losing 6-0 to the Los Angeles Kings on Dec. 10, the Canadiens have tightened up defensively, allowing only five goals in their last four games, while posting a 2-2 record. The Canadiens have scored six goals during that span.

“We’re not allowing a lot of goals,” coach Michel Therrien told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “We want to play solid, defensive hockey. Since (losing to the Kings), they’re all tight games.”

The coach added: “We go tomorrow in St. Louis against one of the top teams in the NHL. This is going to be a great challenge for our team, but we go there with confidence.”

Said defenceman Josh Gorges: “I think when we go on the road we have a mindset of keeping things simple, playing that hard-style game, and to be honest, that’s when our team plays the best.”

George Parros, who is recovering from a concussion, skated on his own Wednesday before practice but didn’t head to St. Louis with the team.

After Thursday’s game, the Canadiens visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday before enjoying a one-week break in the schedule. Their first game after Christmas will be on Saturday, Dec. 28 in Tampa.

Here’s how the lines looked at Wednesday’s practice:

Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gionta
Bourque – Eller – Prust
Bournival – Brière – Moen

Therrien said he’ll probably stick with the defensive pairings he switched to during Tuesday’s game, with Andrei Markov joining Alexei Emelin, P.K. Subban with Josh Gorges and Raphael Diaz with Douglas Murray.

The Blues, coming off a 4-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, were in fourth place in the Western Conference heading into Wednesday’s action with a 22-7-4 record for 48 points. The Canadiens were third in the Eastern Conference with a 21-12-3 record for 45 points.

Former Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak has a 16-6-2 record with two shutouts, a 2.35 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage with the Blues. Carey Price has a 16-10-2 record with two shutouts, a 1.96 GAA and a .936 save percentage for the Canadiens.

(Photo by John Mahoney/The Gazette)

Habs up for challenge in St. Louis, by Brenda Branswell

Canadiens down Coyotes, by Pat Hickey

Coyotes came close in last minute, by Pat Hickey

Pacioretty leads way to improbable comeback, by Dave Stubbs

Canadiens vs. Coyotes photo gallery, montrealgazette.com

Habby Holidays! (video), Canadiens.com

Thirty years later, Ken Dryden updates The Game, N.Y. Times



  1. CSIASN says:

    picking St. Louis to win tonight…

  2. jsaz says:

    People have to realize we are stuck with DD. Nobody wants a player of his size and not much production to speak of. Blah

  3. slyCH says:

    Was he crying because his dream came true, or because the Bruins drafted him?


  4. aHabGrowsInBrooklyn says:

    I just looked at the pic, and haven’t read the article. Are the Habs going with a 2-goalie lineup against the Blues? That’s awesome. Therrien is a genius! (I’d play them side-by-side, but what do I know?

  5. SteverenO says:

    Some defensive stats ( minutes per goal allowed at even strength) for the Habs forwards:

    player -ES TOI /// Goals Against //// MpGA

    Team combined/// 1756 mins/ 55 ES GA//// 32 Mins per GA

    Plekanec – 534 mins //// 14 GA //// 41 Mins per GA
    Desharnais– 469 mins //// 12 GA //// 39 Mins per GA
    White——- 333 mins //// 9 GA ///// 37 Mins per GA
    Eller ——- 505 mins //// 19 GA //// 27 Mins per GA


    Gallagher– 474 mins ////13 GA /// 47 Mins per GA
    Moen — 295 mins //// 7 GA //// 42 Mins per GA
    Bourque — 333 mins //// 9 GA //// 37 Mins per GA
    Gionta —- 532 mins //// 16 GA //// 33 Mins per GA
    Pacioretty — 382 mins //// 12 GA //// 32 Mins per GA
    Prust — 268 mins //// 9 GA //// 30 Mins per GA
    Galchenyuk – 467 mins //// 19 GA //// 25 Mins per GA
    Bournival— 316 mins //// 13 GA //// 24 Mins per GA
    Briere – 281 mins //// 12 GA //// 23 Mins per GA


    Steve O.

    • shiram says:

      It’s interesting for sure, but I would not draw too many conclusions from it, it does not factor in zone starts or qoc.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      I’m not a stat geek. It’s not that I don’t find them interesting or relevant, its that I’m not smart enough to properly diagnose them. I’m a simple “seat of the pants” fan who draws more conclusions from what he sees on the ice.

      That said, I love reviewing your stats and see if they in some ways verify what I think I’m seeing out there. CHeers and keep the stats coming. I love it!

    • BJ says:

      Thanks fot going through the trouble to put this together. its interesting.

      • nunacanadien says:

        What this does not show is when Gionta or DD or Diaz are paired with our superstar players, or when Subban coughs up the puck. The problem with Montreal is they cough up the puck because the players are too small and the larger players learn how to be scared like the tiny tykes…..a culture of smurfness has overtaken the champ habs thanks to Gainey, Gilette, Carbo and now Molson.

  6. rhino514 says:

    It´s crazy with the line changes already. Almost every game.
    Eller is the most offensively gifted centre on the team, but he´s young, and he needs good wingers to build hos confidence just as much as DD. He is getting the short end of the stick and I fear he may lose confidence. I like Prusty, but Bourque and Prust for Eller? Come on? Why does Therrien even bother, he knows Prust is not going to stay on the top 3 lines, not with Bournival and Briere on the team.
    The coach seems rather lost with all his line changes.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Eller has become a shutdown player for this team. His defensive game often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. That said, I’d like to see him play with more skilled wingers as well but there might not be enough of them to go around right now.

      EDIT: Steveo’s stats above indicate my observations may not be valid. My eyes still tell me otherwise.

      • NCRhabsfan says:

        The stats also don’t account for match-ups. If you play against Crosby types all the time, your stats are likely to reflect that. Every guy that has played against White this season is still perfect. The stats are still interesting, they just don’t tell the whole story.

      • boing007 says:

        Give Louis Leblance another try. With Eller.

        Richard R

    • B says:

      Plekanec leads Habs forwards in TOI and for the most part has had Gionta and various others on his wings.

      Eller is 3rd among Habs forwards in TOI, 2nd among centers and has had for the most part Galchenyuk and various others on his wings.

      Desharnais is 6th among Habs forwards in TOI, 3rd among centers and has had for the most part Pacioretty and various others on his wings.

      Is Eller really getting screwed over?

      –Go Habs Go!–

    • CSIASN says:

      Just like JM for line changing. It makes him look good against easy teams. Gotta get some consistency and I’m sure the players feel the same way. Who am I going to be playing along side tonight. If MT is looking toward the future. Why doesn’t he make his 1st two lines.

      Pacioretty Galchenyuk Gallagher
      Bourque Eller Bournival

      3rd: Prust Plekanec Gionta
      4th: Moen DD/Briere White/Parros

      DD and Briere are gonna be gone 1st possible chance.

  7. jimmy shaker says:

    We elves tend to stick to the 3 main food groups; candy, candy canes and candy corn!

    Sorry I’m watching “Elf” with the kids……great flick!

    Shaker out!

  8. Lagerhab says:

    I have been coming to this sight for over 4 years and only recently started posting. I can say that I am in the camp that would like to see DD, along with a couple of other small players go. Gio and Briere are easy/short term fixes.

    DD, for obvious reasons, is a greater challenge. Does the team(management & coach) still value him? Does the future include DD as a 1 or 2 centre? The amount of ice time he gets would indicate that MB & MT still see DD as a vital part of the team going forward.

    I wonder if it is possible that they are giving him the minutes in an effort to get him going so that they can have a better opportunity to move him?

    Everyone on this site have well established opinions of what Davey is, but I am curious what other coaches, GM’s or even fans from other teams think of him? Does he have any value to them? Would he be more attractive if his salary was lower?

  9. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …for $ 89, My American Express Card just e-mailed Me this Christmas perk:

    One (1) appetizer to share
    Two (2) main courses
    One (1) bottle of wine²
    One (1) decadent cheesecake trio to share

    …this, a dinner for 2 at the Baton Rouge in Montreal

    …there was no mention of they also covering the $ 1000+- airfare to get there 🙁

  10. krob1000 says:

    With Pk and Markov split and 4 balanced lines this looks very promising. As ofr those wishing for physicality..that line of Eller/PRust and Bouruqe is all guys who can bang bodies. The 4th has BOrunival and MOen as welkl who can do that. With Murray getting the nod over Bouillon there is enough toughness in the lineup. I like White…I thinkhe can be a viable replacement for Moen in due time..but for now this lineup looks pretty good to me.

  11. Habitoban says:

    After the two biceps injuries/surgeries it looks to me like Gionta has little power in his shot. Unfortunately he still plays like he thinks he can beat goalies on long shots like he did in the old days.

  12. Mick says:

    Why Briere over White on the 4th line?

  13. jimmy shaker says:

    You smell like beef and cheese…….and you sit on a throne of lies!

    Shaker out!

  14. aemarchand11 says:

    Im very happy to see Chucky with Pleks and Gio, the kid is a going to be a force and playing with these two responsible venterans will be good for his development, espicially for play without the puck. I hope he can kickstart Gionta though, we need our RW’s to be putting the puck in the net.

  15. Habitant in Surrey says:

    …da Weeds decide Morgan Rielly will not play in the WJHC

    …if I was an NHL GM, I would think giving Your prospect whom determined good enough to play for Canada would be an essential part of his development and maturation

    …I do not understand why a GM can not see beyond the short-term on this kind of decision …We are talking about kids playing with their peers at the pinnacle of international level competition

    …We are talking 14 to 20 days out of an interminable long NHL schedule, that gives the opportunity for that player to have a once in a life-time experience and grow, both as a player and a human-being

    …it just seems so incomprehensible to Me to see NHL GMs refusing an eligible player for the WJHC to be denied that opportunity, especially if he has not made his NHL team as an everyday regular

  16. Timo says:

    Engelland gets 5 games. I say BS. Should have been more. It was a vicious elbow/shoulder to the chin.

  17. CH Marshall says:

    You Might Also Like pictures of Danica Patrick washing a car in a bikini…

  18. Old Bald Bird says:

    I don’t think too many want Eller gone. It’s just seems that we already have Pleks and DD and will need room for Chucky. Since we seem to be stuck with DD and sure want to keep Chucky here, it either has to be Pleks or Eller who goes. Personally, I prefer to keep Eller over Pleks although Pleks is the better player at this moment in time.

    • Timo says:

      What’s wrong with Desharnais centering the 4th line and Eller, Plekanec and Galchenyuk the first 3?

      The answer is nothing, just like there is nothing wrong with getting rid off DD. Neither is however going to happen.

      • Bob_Sacamano says:

        With Eller, Plekanec and Galchenyuk around no other team would have signed DD to more than a 2 year deal. Quite sad.

        • nunacanadien says:

          Desharnais costs us games more than he wins them. Price would have a better save percentage if DD didn’t cough up the puck. It makes Eller’s stats look way down in goals against and destroys the offensive ability of MaxPac. And Galy does not skate fast enough to keep up with DD and how quickly DD coughs up the game losing puck.

    • Lagerhab says:

      Unless we get something amazing for Eller I would be hesitant to deal him over DD. Just because DD has 3 years left after this year doesn’t mean that we’re stuck with him. If they can’t trade him I would rather they buy him out before trading Eller or Plecs for that matter.

      Could also try to send him down and see if there are any takers. Even try to trade him and pay a portion of his salary, there would be interest in DD if the team paid $1mm of his salary. I think there are a lot of options.

    • Bob_Sacamano says:

      I rather buy out DD than trade Eller or Plekanec.

      • mount royal says:

        Since coming out of his slump, DD has 12 points n his last 14 games. What are you guys thinking? He is one of the most talented playmakers in hockey. Can`t we learn from history? We got rid of Ribeiro; not because of his skills. Because of his attitude. DD has skills and a good attitude. He never complained or made excuses while he as struggling. You whiners won`t drive DD out of town, but you might make Plecs decide to move.

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      “I don’t think too many want Eller gone”

      Maybe it is a short line, but it starts behind me.

  19. Propwash says:

    8 days before the WJHC! I’m pretty stoked to see how Canada does.


  20. Lagerhab says:

    So how does the team rid itself of DD? Realistically I think they have to wait until the off season. Hopefully he finishes well and we are able to move him in the off season.

    Going forward next year we have Plecs, Eller, Chucky and White as the regulars and then we have Briere and Bournival as back ups in case of injury. The year after Briere is gone and that leaves us with only one small forward (with the lions heart)!

  21. bwoar says:

    Galchenyuk has as many points as Plekanec. Worth nothing.

    • shiram says:

      Glad they get to play together, Chucky for all his skills can surely learn a thing or two from a vet of Pleky’s caliber, and Pleky can use a winger as skillful as Chucky.
      The bottom 6 pairing looks like 2 3rd line.

      • Habfan10912 says:

        I think Galchenyuk is the type of player that can play with anyone. The skill of this guy is phenomenal. Its been a long time since this team has had a player with his skill set. You can see him getting better and better every game.

  22. 24 Cups says:

    I don’t like to mention another team’s misfortune but St Louis may be without Leopold, Reaves, Backes, Sobotka and Schwartz tomorrow night.

  23. Luke says:

    Don’t you hate pants?!

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