Coming off a frustrating loss versus the Senators, Michel Therrien has put his blender to good use, and has once again created completely new lines for the Habs. You can't blame him for tinkering with the lineup, but some of the choices ahead of tonight's game are questionable.
The fourth line expert known as Dale Weise has found his way to the top line, Alex Galchenyuk has been shifted away from the centre spot, David Desharnais returns to the middle, P.K. Subban received a demotion, and Tom Gilbert will be a healthy scratch. Essentially, it genuinely seems as if coach Therrien is panicking at this point.
How else can you explain dropping your best defender to the second pairing, all the while keeping Alexei Emelin in the lineup over Tom Gilbert? It's an easy way to downgrade an already struggling defensive situation. Placing Dale Weise on the first line is one of Therrien's favourite stop-gap measures, although it's safe to say it's a gross misuse of Weise's limited talents. He's been good in that spot at times this year, so we'll see if the change works tonight.
It's an unfortunate turn for Alex Galchenyuk, who has apparently worn out his welcome down the middle after only a month. That's not to say that Galchenyuk necessarily dominated the centre position during his brief tenure there, but a little patience could have been granted, considering how long Desharnais spent as a centre while producing mediocre numbers.
Let's hope that Therrien's blender job works out, and that at the end of the night I'm treated to a healthy helping of crow. They are in a good situation to make Therrien's hunch look good, given that the Islanders played last night.
Dustin Tokarski gets the start for the Canadiens, Carey Price is nursing an upper-body injury that he sustained against the Blue Jackets. After speculation that he'd miss the game, it turns out that Jaroslav Halak will indeed face his former team.
Puck drop is at 7 PM ET.
In Canada (English): Sportsnet
In Canada (French): TVA
In the Islanders Region: MSG +
Elsewhere: NHL Center Ice or NHL Gamecenter Live
P.A. Parenteau missed practice for maintenance reasons, meaning that Thomas practiced on the third line in his place. We'll know more on his status as game time approaches.
|Max Pacioretty||Tomas Plekanec||Dale Weise|
|Alex Galchenyuk||David Desharnais||Brendan Gallagher|
|Jiri Sekac||Lars Eller||Christian Thomas|
|Michael Bournival||Manny Malhotra||Brandon Prust|
|Andrei Markov||Sergei Gonchar|
|Nathan Beaulieu||P.K. Subban|
|Alexei Emelin||Mike Weaver|
|Josh Bailey||John Tavares||Kyle Okposo|
|Anders Lee||Frans Nielsen||Ryan Strome|
|Michael Grabner||Brock Nelson||Nikolai Kulemin|
|Matt Martin||Casey Cizikas||Kyle Clutterbuck|
|Nick Leddy||Johnny Boychuk|
|Calvin de Haan||Travis Hamonic|
|Thomas Hickey||Brian Strait|
Check out the opposing side at Lighthouse Hockey