BROSSARD, Quebec – The Montreal Canadiens came back from the All-Star break dealing with the same questions they faced when they left.
After their final game before the break on Jan. 20, a 2-1 overtime win against the Nashville Predators in which they were outshot by a healthy 37-27 margin, Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty suggested the possibility that his teammates may suffer from overconfidence playing in front of All-Star goaltender Carey Price.
When the Predators took a 1-0 lead in the second period of that game last week, they led 26-6 in shots, and Price was the only reason that game remained scoreless as long as it did.
In their first game back following the break Tuesday, the Canadiens defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2 while being outshot by a 42-26 margin. The difference, again, was Price.
This time, it is Canadiens forward Lars Eller wondering if maybe Price's brilliance has an impact on how his team plays in front of him.
Eller was asked after practice Wednesday if he is concerned with how Montreal has been playing lately. Eller said he wasn't because he's seen how good the Canadiens can be, particularly in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season when they reached the Eastern Conference Final before bowing out against their opponents Thursday, the New York Rangers (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, SNE, MSG).