SUNRISE, Fla. — Canadiens coach Michel Therrien told his fourth-liners that he wanted to see more production on the scoresheet and they responded Tuesday with a pair of goals in a 4-3 shootout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We spoke to them before yesterday’s game and we told them that we were happy with their defensive game, and the work they were doing on the penalty kill, but that scoring only one goal for us in 11 games just wasn’t enough,” Therrien said Wednesday after running his squad through a practice in preparation for Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers (7:30 p.m., TSN-HABS, RDS, TSN 690 Radio) .
“I think the message definitely got through and they answered the call and got us two goals,” Therrien added. “Over the course of a season, we need everyone to contribute and I certainly appreciate their game yesterday.”
Travis Moen scored his first goal of the season, Colby Armstrong picked up an assist for his first point as a Canadien and Lars Eller had two assists to give him five points in 10 games.
Therrien noted that Eller, who has bounced all over the depth chart, has played well since he was a healthy scratch for two games. The coach said he wanted to see more intensity from the young Dane, and Eller has responded.
“It all starts with defence, and you can’t worry about what line you’re on,” Eller said. “Ideally, you want to play on the same line all season, but the world wasn’t built that way. Things can change quickly and you have to be ready for it. It doesn’t matter if I’m on the second line or the fourth, whether I’m a centre or a wing, I have to be ready to play.”
Eller says he’s comfortable with his current linemates.
“I’ve played with Travis in the past and we’re starting to get some chemistry with Army,” Eller said. “Last night, we had some bounces going our way. Sometimes you get and sometimes you don’t. But I think we created some of that luck by being around the net and being hungry.”
Said Moen: “Larry has always been an excellent defensive player. He skates well, he plays a strong game offensively and he’s got a lot of talent. It’s a pleasure to play with him. He’s a player whose game can really go through the roof when he’s playing with confidence. We had a good game together on Tuesday and we hope we can keep that kind of play going.”
Eller played more than 13 minutes Tuesday and Armstrong and Moen each topped 10 minutes, which put them in the same range as rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk.
“It’s great to see all four lines getting ice time like that,” Moen said. “(Therrien) has confidence in all of his lines and he didn’t hesitate to send us out there. It really doesn’t make a difference to us if we’re considered to be the fourth line or not.”
Therrien was asked whether he planned to deliver a similar message to Erik Cole, the veteran who has only scored twice after delivering a team-leading 35 last season.
“You want to see everybody make a contribution, but I’m not worried as long as they’re getting chances,” Therrien said. “And last night Cole was drawing penalties and one of them led to our first goal.”
Therrien doesn’t plan any lineup changes for the Florida game, which means Carey Price starts in goal and Ryan White, Yannick Weber and Tomas Kaberle are healthy scratches. Therrien said he’s happy with his top six defencemen, which means Weber and Kaberle will continue to sit. Weber has dressed for only one game this season, while Kaberle became a spare part with the return of P.K. Subban.
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