THE PLEKANEC LINE – Canadiens-6 Detroit-3 (Nov. 30, 2017)

Dec 1st, 2017 | By | Category: Canadiens, Canadiens Game Story, Latest News

Let’s hear it for for the Tomas Plekanec line. Led by Brendan Gallagher they scored half of the Canadiens goals in the Canadiens  6-3 win in Detroit Thursday night.

For five years now, the line centred by Tomas Plekanec has been a dumping ground for slumping wingers. There have been seasons when Plekanec has had to play with as many as 20 different linemates. That lack of consistency had hurt his productivity, especially over the last three season as he crossed into his 30’s.

It was the same-old to start this season under Claude Julien. Through the first eight games at various times he started games with Charles Hudon, Artturi Lehkonen, Ales Hemsky, Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher.

On October 20th in Anaheim the Canadiens were down 3-0 at the end of the first period and Julien decided to blow things up. Along with taking Max Pacioretty off the Drouin line for the first time he also put Charles Hudon and Brendan Gallagher together with Plekanec.

He must have seen something he liked. In the ensuing 18 games, while Julien has tinkered with all of his other lines, he’s left Plekanec/Gallagher/Hudon basically untouched. And for good reason. Quite simply night-in, night-out they have been the Canadiens best over the last six weeks. In 18 games together the line has scored 15 goals. Eleven of Gallagher’s 12 goals have come since the Anaheim game.

I’m going to close this with a note from the analytics people. Heading into the Detroit game the line had a 56.5% Corsi rating. Per 60 minutes of playing time they produce 34.9% scoring changes while allowing 21.94 against. Enough said.

BY THE NUMBERS

Gallagher produced 2 goals and an assist vs. the Wings; Hudon a goal and Plekanec two assists. Six points for the night. The line was plus-6. Plekanec won 15 of 21 faceoffs (71%). That includes 14 of 18 in the neutral and defensive zones. That is a productive night’s work.

MISSED THE WAKE-UP CALL

Carey Price won the game for the Canadiens in the first period. Gallagher deflected the puck in to open the scoring but then it was all Red Wings. The Canadiens, who arrived in their hotel rooms at 2:30 in the morning, had no legs. They were outshot 13-6.   But more telling, the scoring chances were 11-2 in Detroit’s favour. Price let in two, one on a deflection off Victor Mete and another on screen shot with Justin Abdelkader completely blocking his view.

It could have been 5-1 at the end of the period. instead of 2-1.   Price gave the Canadiens the chance to come back.

THE CAPTAIN HEATING UP

We’ve seen it all before. Max Pacioretty going through one of those frustrating offensive dry spells. Remember last season when he got to the 20th game of the season with only four goals and still wound up with 35 when it was over.

Pacioretty started to break out of it with the empty net assist against Columbus which ended a six game stretch of no points. Against the Wings he scored a goal and assist and now has 4 points in his last three games. At least it’s a start. With Shaw and Danault the line had six points.

ODD DECISION

I can understand Julien not wanting to break up his other lines to fill the void left by the Jonathan Drouin injury. But Jacob de la Rose centering the first line? That one raised some eyebrows. De la Rose last registered a point in an NHL game on February 16th 2016. It worked out after all.   It was de la Rose’s hard work that led to what turned out to be the game winning goal when he dug the puck out of the corner moved out and then set up Alex Galchenyuk at the goalmouth.  With de la Rose as their centre, Galchenyuk had four shots and Paul Byron three.

MOVING ON

The Canadiens are now in third place in the Atlantic Divison but let’s not get overly excited. The Bruins, who are one point behind them, have four games in hand. Still, it’s four wins in a row, which is a season high. The Canadiens will try to build on that at the Bell Centre Saturday night, the first of another five straight home games.

One Comment to “THE PLEKANEC LINE – Canadiens-6 Detroit-3 (Nov. 30, 2017)”

  1. Bay_Bye says:

    remember although it does not matter as long as the puck goes in. but Pacs did not score, the Detroit defender actually put it in his own net but Pacs was last Hab to touch it…but hopefully this sparks him to play better

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