BROSSARD - With just four goals in four games - and three straight losses to boot - it was inevitable that head coach Claude Julien would make some noticeable changes to his lines up front sooner rather than later.
That's exactly what transpired on Wednesday morning as the Canadiens got right back to work at the Bell Sports Complex following their 3-1 defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks in their home opener.
Artturi Lehkonen assumed Brendan Gallagher's spot on the top line alongside Jonathan Drouin and Max Pacioretty, while Gallagher skated with Tomas Plekanec and Paul Byron. Charles Hudon found himself paired with Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw, and Alex Galchenyuk practiced with Torrey Mitchell and Ales Hemsky.
After practice, Galchenyuk fielded plenty of questions with respect to his being moved down in the lineup. In short, though, it didn't faze the 23-year-old forward at all.
"We're just trying to get a win. You don't take things personally. You try to go out there and improve your game individually and as a team," said Galchenyuk, who has racked up eight shots on goal on the year, but is still without a point. "My job is to go out there and make myself better and try and help the team win. That's what I'm focused on."
Video: Alex Galchenyuk on the start of the season
With that in mind, the former third-overall selection isn't about to place any additional pressure on himself so early on in the season.
"I'm not in school. I'm not here to give myself grades," mentioned Galchenyuk, when asked to evaluate the state of his game right now. "I've got to keep coming in here and working."
Captain Max Pacioretty didn't hesitate to come to Galchenyuk's defense when asked about his play.
"I think Alex hit two posts last night, didn't he?" noted Pacioretty, referencing Galchenyuk coming especially close to getting on the scoresheet against Chicago. "He had chances. If that goes in, he feels great about his game. He's just got to keep at it. The chances are there and it's a matter of an inch or two. You've just got to bear down to make sure that you're on the right side of that inch."
Pacioretty insists Galchenyuk has all of the tools to do just that - and the unwavering support of his teammates as well.
"That's going to be our team this year. If things aren't going well, we stick together. There's so much more in this room than people realize," explained Pacioretty. "I've talked to him often. He's a close friend of mine and he wants to put in the work to help the team win."
Video: Max Pacioretty on the Canadiens' lines and Galchenyuk
It isn't just Galchenyuk who is eager to right the ship, of course. It's essentially the group as a whole.
"I don't think it's just him. There's just one player [Gallagher] with two points, so the whole team is in the same boat," said Jonathan Drouin, one of seven Canadiens players with just a single point to their credit on the season. "It's about helping out offensively, whether you're a defenseman or a forward… We all have to work harder and be determined."
Danault is certainly in agreement there.
"There are 82 games in a season and a lot left to get back on track. We've played just four. I'm not reading too much into it. We just have to roll up our sleeves and put the effort in during practice and games," said Danault. "I know Chucky will get his game going. Everyone has to."