After rolling out to a blistering 7-2-1 record over the first ten games of the season, the Montreal Canadiens have sagged a bit in their past two contests.
The Habs have left their fanbase with an uneasy feeling after 3-1 and 3-0 losses to Florida and Columbus respectively. During those loses, the shortcomings that persisted over the first ten games were amplified and are now the talk of the town.
The Canadiens are a dismal 3-for-42 on the power play and have not had any improvements in that department since the return of Andrei Markov last Saturday.
The problems with the power play were masked over the first ten games of the season because the Habs were finding ways to score 5-on-5.
Well, since Markov's return, that area of play has all but dried up for the Habs as they have just one goal for over the last two games.
To make matters worse, the second line that is anchored by Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta has been firing blanks all season. Over the first 12 games of the season, each player is stalled at three points each (one goal and two assists each), and are behind the likes of Benoit Pouliot, Mathieu Darche, Travis Moen and Jeff Halpern in scoring.
Their production has no doubt been affected by the endless carousel of players that have auditioned on their line: Tom Pyatt, Travis Moen, Benoit Pouliot and Mathieu Darche.
But just like with the power play, when the Habs were winning, the Gomez-Gionta lack of production seemed to be a little more palatable. Now, however, without any secondary scoring to speak of, all of the offense responsibility lies on the shoulder of the Tomas Plekanec trio.
Plekanec, with his linemates Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn were ripping it up over the first ten games but have since gone cold. As such, the Habs are just not able to score goals and seem an awful lot like the .500-ish team from last season.
With all of this in mind and all of the discussions about Gomez and Gionta on the Montreal airwaves, I thought it would be a good time to ask you what you would to fix the problems on the team right now.
More specifically, if you were the coach, what would you try up front to get Gionta and Gomez going?
Would you keep them together and put a specific winger on their line? Would you try to make a trade for a winger? Would you split them up and shuffle the forward lines? Would you recall someone from Hamilton?
Whatever your plan is, let me know. I want to know what your line combinations would be, who you would play with whom and why.
I'm going to collect all of this information from Hockeybuzz.com, The Bleacher Report, and HabsAddict.com, and will compile and post the results over the weekend.
Reprint from HabsAddict.com