Fix up, look sharp
Unsatisfied with the production he saw from each of his lines, head coach Jacques Martin decided to give the pairings a little facelift ahead of Saturday's game against the Avalanche. Having only a day between games might be tough on some guys, but for the young defensemen in the lineup, keeping busy is what it takes to move on. “It’s good because we don’t have much time to dwell on it,” explained P.K. Subban. “We’ve got to turn around and play a good young Colorado team Saturday”. Subban’s new power play partner, Yannick Weber is already looking forward to hitting the ice at the Bell Centre for a second time this season. “We knew the Flames wanted to spoil our party like we did in Winnipeg,” said the Swiss blue-liner, who played more than 20 minutes in Thursday’s game against Calgary. “With Colorado it’s our chance to show our fans that Thursday was just a little slow.” Hoping to spark some offense from his pupils, Martin made a few tweaks to his lineup at Friday's practice. After going 0-for-4 with the man advantage in the home opener, the Montreal coach started by moving Tomas Plekanec from the point to the half-wall.
“With Cammy out of the game, we’re missing someone at the hash marks and we need Pleky there,” explained Weber who will now man the blue line on the power play. “That means it opens a spot out on the point. P.K and I know each other pretty well so we’re going to move the puck a lot. It’s going to be a dangerous powerplay, that’s for sure.”
The Habs coach didn’t stop at changing up the special teams; he also played mix and match with all his forward lines. Making a move from the fourth line to the second, Lars Eller will be playing alongside of Plekanec and Erik Cole in Saturday's tilt. “Just changing a person on the line doesn’t make it successful," stressed Plekanec. "We need to support each other and play better as a group with the five players on the ice not with just changing the names on the lines. Lars is a good player; it’ll work.”
Getting set to play just his second game of the season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, Eller is hoping to make the most of his new opportunity. “Pleky and Cole who are two great players and we’ll be able to generate a lot of good offense,” described Eller who will be playing right wing. “There’s not much difference between playing center and winger; we’re going to have the puck a lot and that’s what matters.” With 10 NHL seasons already under his belt, Cole recognizes how hard his coach's job can be. “I’m happy not to have that job,” he admitted with a smile. “It’s always tough for a coach to make all these decisions and decide what works best. It would obviously be easier if each night, everyone gave their 100% and all the pieces fell into place.” That's exactly what the Canadiens will attempt to do come Saturday.
Montreal's new line-up Moen-Gomez-Gionta Eller-Plekanec-Cole Pacioretty-Desharnais-Kostitsyn Darche-Engqvist-Palushaj Subban-Gill Gorges-Diaz Weber-Emelin Lee Anne Vincent O'Connor is a writer for canadiens.com.
The Numbers Game - Oct. 13
Ryan White underwent successful surgery
Welcome home opener