Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien was already in the process of making lineup changes in the first period of Saturday night’s 6-0 disaster against Toronto when he replaced Erik Cole with Travis Moen late in the first period.
Given a full day off to consider the current three game losing streak, he has decided to continue the shakeup.
In Therrien’s most interesting move, Max Pacioretty will join the two rookies, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher on what, based on early season success, might now be considered the Canadiens second best line. With Pacioretty in the group, one can legitimately expect the ice time of Galchenyuk and Gallagher will increase substantially from the eleven or twelve minutes per game they’ve so far been allowed.
Brandon Prust has been moved up to play with Desharnais and Cole. How long that lasts will probably depend more on Cole than Prust. While Cole has shown a willingness to compete, he has looked out of shape and a step behind his opponents and teammates. Even with full training camp, it was seven games into last season before Cole demonstrated any kind of on-ice comfort level.
There is absolutely no need to tinker with the Plekanec/Gionta/Bourque line and undisciplined Ryan White appears to be the odd-man on the fourth line with Eller centring Colby Armstrong and Moen.
Projected for Tuesday’s game in Tampa
Bourque – Plekanec – Gionta
Pacioretty – Galchenyuk – Gallagher
Prust – Desharnais – Cole
Armstrong – Eller – Moen
Emelin – Markov
Subban – Gorges
Bouillon – Diaz
Healthy Scratches – C-Ryan White; D-Tomas Kaberle; D-Yannick Weber