After a thorough beating of the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, that led to the firing of head coach Alain Vigneault, the Tampa Bay Lightning get set to play the last team in the Atlantic Division, Montreal. The Habs are not an unlucky team or a team struggling to put things together — they’re just bad. They’re 46% in shot share, scoring chances, and expected goals across the board.
The Habs do have a low shooting percentage due to their team’s unbelievably bad finishing ability. The Lightning aren’t great, at least they’re average.
While the recent Montreal teams haven’t been known for their prolific offenses, they’ve always been a score-just-enough-for-Carey-Price-to-bail-us-out kind of team, the struggles are real this season. Roster churn has been responsible for part of their problem:
Generally, coaches get fired for bad goaltending, but after looking at the Flyers and Canucks, it can definitely also happen when the team is getting filled in on shots and just not scoring when they get their chances. I don’t think it’s likely Dominic Ducharme is going to get fired, but another 7-1 loss could accelerate some decisions by the new President of Hockey Ops.
As for the Lightning, they are continuing to gobble up the points despite injuries. Earlier today they recalled Fredrik Claesson and re-assigned Alex Barre-Boulet. That indicates Erik Cernak may not make it back due to the lower-body injury that caused him to miss last game. It also means that Gabriel Fortier gets to stay in the NHL a little longer.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines:
Ondrej Palat — Steven Stamkos — Mathieu Joseph
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Gabriel Fortier
Patrick Maroon — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Corey Perry
Taylor Raddysh — Ross Colton — Boris Katchouk
Scratched: Alex Barre-Boulet
Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh — Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev — Cal Foote
TBD: Erik Cernak
Andrei Vasilevskiy - Projected Starter
Montreal Canadiens Lines:
Mike Hoffman - Nick Suzuki - Jake Evans
Tyler Toffoli - Christian Dvorak - Cole Caufield
Jonathan Drouin - Ryan Poehling - Joel Armia
Michael Pezzetta - Mathieu Perreault - Artturi Lehkonen
Ben Chiarot - David Savard
Alexander Romanov - Brett Kulak
Mattias Norlinder - Chris Wideman
Jake Allen - Projected Starter