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Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning: Game 69

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Let’s have a nice one.

RxlandS

Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME 69

Time: 1:00 PM Eastern Time <— Please, team, don’t sleep through this one again

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: SUN, TSN2, RDS

Opponent SBNation Site: Habs Eyes on the Prize

Preview:

Today, Raw Charge gently reached out and found a Montreal Canadiens fan who has been keeping himself grounded by watching the Canadiennes instead — he’s an editor at Habs Eyes on the Prize, Jared Book. Jared was kind enough to talk to us about the state of the Canadiens fanbase right now. Please note that they are currently 27th in the league with a record of 25-31-11 in 67 games played. Woof.

Raw Charge: Please explain how you’d retool the Montreal Canadiens if you were the GM.

Jared Book: Defence. Defence. Defence. So much is said about the Canadiens lack of scoring and yes, they struggle. They’ve been shut out 10 times this season. But I will not blame the forwards first. Max Pacioretty, Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Drouin and Alex Galchenyuk have talent. They can score. They’ve proven it in the NHL. The difference is that the Canadiens have no defencemen to move the puck up ice. The team has started to play better recently and, what do you know, they are giving more time to guys like Victor Mete, Jeff Petry, Noah Juulsen and Mike Reilly who move the puck well.

Does this team need centres? Sure. But I wouldn’t change the entire roster. I love the forwards and if someone offers a centre for one of the wingers, I’d do it but the biggest issue is defence and it’s not even close. They’ve lost Brandon Davidson, Andrei Markov, P.K. Subban, Nathan Beaulieu, Mark Barberio, Mikhail Sergachev and Jakub Jerabek in the last two years. And no, they are not all game breakers and not all the moves killed them but it is a full NHL defensive corps of puck movers.

Raw Charge: What’s the best hope for the future right now, and realistically, how do you think the Habs will get there?

Jared: A change in the mindset. This team is stuck in old school thinking. I’m not going to necessarily call for Marc Bergevin to be fired as long as he changes his thought process. This team needs to build themselves for the way hockey is going. The absolute best case scenario is winning the lottery, drafting Rasmus Dahlin and signing John Tavares. That is not very likely obviously, but if that happens the Canadiens are much closer to a contender than they are today with no other changes. Realistically, small moves to bolster the defence is the way to go. Maybe trade a winger for an equivalent centre but the big thing for me personally is that I have no idea what Marc Bergevin is thinking and that scares me that things will get worse before they get better.

Raw Charge: Who has still been working their ass off despite a season that resembles [Scream Emoji]?

Jared: Paul Byron, Brendan Gallagher and Jeff Petry. Those three give their effort every night and this team would be so much worse without them. Honourable mentions go to Charles Hudon and Artturi Lehkonen and there are others who have dealt with injuries as well. I also feel so bad for Max Pacioretty. He loves this team and city so much, but nothing is ever good enough. If anything he tries too hard sometimes

Raw Charge: Explain why the ownership still likes Marc Bergevin, seriously, what’s going on here.

Jared: I really don’t know. His biggest move (the Subban trade) didn’t work out. His biggest move this offseason (the Drouin trade) hasn’t worked out this year, either. If I were Geoff Molson, I’d have a real talk with Bergevin and ask him if he has learned from his mistakes. If he did, and he has, then sure I can see him getting another chance (and I think his deadline was good all things considered). That, to me, is the only explanation. If this season has made Marc Bergevin take a step back, there’s still hope and I assume that Molson has had that conversation with him. At least for the sake of the franchise I hope so.

Raw Charge: Here’s the most controversial question. What...shop sells your favorite poutine in all of Montreal?

Jared: It really depends what you’re looking for. There are some people who feel that poutine is only fries, cheese curds and gravy and anything added is no longer poutine. I don’t agree with that. For something a little different, I like a place called Shawarmaz that uses garlic potatoes (instead of fries) and shish taouk or shawarma on their poutine but that’s a personal take. I’ve heard absolutely great things about La Poule Mouillée but I haven’t tried it yet but I have heard from so many people I trust that I would recommend it without trying it myself. I also enjoy Green Stop and Blackstrap BBQ. Honestly though, as long as they use a gravy and actual cheese curds I’m not going to be too picky about poutine and I already hear people screaming at me for being wrong…

Raw Charge: Oh boy. I can hear the angry hoards rabbling in the street even now... But thank you for joining us tonight, and we hope the Canadiens can face us in the post-season again soon.

Comparison Chart

@loserpoints’ note:

The Canadiens have had an unfortunate season. They look like a decent team on paper but that hasn’t translated to success on the ice. They’ve struggled to score goals despite seeming to do a fine job of generating quality shots. On special teams, their penalty kill is a clear weakness and the Lightning should be able to take advantage of that if they get the chance.

The Bolts continue to play well. Perhaps the most encouraging sign over the last ten games is the return of their excellent penalty kill. They’ve returned to suppressing quality chances. It hasn’t quite translated to results as the goaltending hasn’t been great at 4v5 but if they continue to play this way, they should start to see some better results.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

As of yesterday’s practice.

Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Yanni Gourde - Brayden point - J.T. Miller

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Adam Erne - Cory Conacher

Ryan Callahan - Cedric Paquette - Chris Kunitz

Defense Pairings

Will we get to see Ryan McDonagh today? If so, the below lines from the last game are wrong.

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi

Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman

Slater Koekkoek - Jake Dotchin

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Lineup notes

Lines are from the last game so probably vastly wrong.

Montreal Canadiens

Forward Lines

Defense Pairings

Reilly - Petry

Alzner - Juulsen

Benn - Lernout

Goaltenders

Antti Niemi

Charlie Lindgren