It is obvious to anyone paying even casual attention that the Canadiens were in need of a roster shakeup to break their pattern of win-one lose-one that has existed over the last month. Michel Therrien started things mid game Saturday in Toronto and with former first round draft choices Nathan Beaulieu and Louis Leblanc now on the roster he has been presented with the flexibility to make some significant moves.
Both Beaulieu and Leblanc are going to be in the lineup when the Canadiens play the Penguins in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night. At practice Tuesday Leblanc was on a line with Michael Bournival and Travis Moen. That will be the Canadiens fourth line. Daniel Brière will again be moved to his natural position at centre ice between Brandon Prust and the slumping Rene Bourque. Lars Eller remains on the left wing with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. The Desharnais line remains intact.
It may be a coincidence, but the Canadiens goalscoring slump started when Therrien decided to break up the Subban/Markov defense pairing 13 games ago. They were back together Tuesday and Beaulieu will play with Josh Gorges. Alexei Emelin, who has struggled on right defence, was moved down the depth chart to play on the left side with Raphael Diaz.
Odd men out at least for the Pittsburgh game are rightwinger George Parros and defensemen Francis Bouillon and Douglas Murray.
Here are the projected lines for the Pittsburgh game –
Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Eller – Plekanec – Gionta
Prust – Brière – Bourque
Moen – Bournival – Leblanc
Markov – Subban
Emelin – Diaz
Beaulieu – Gorges