Coyotes’ Galchenyuk, Canadiens’ Domi go against former team

GLENDALE, Ariz. — A group of Montreal sportswriters traveled to Arizona several days in advance of Thursday’s game between the Canadiens and the Arizona Coyotes, and they came mostly to ask one question.

How is Coyotes forward Alex Galchenyuk doing?

Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet talked at length on the subject, but the answer to date doesn’t require a considerable amount of analysis concerning the 2012 No. 3 overall draft pick by Montreal.

Galchenyuk’s new team isn’t doing as well as his former team, and he’s not doing nearly as well as the player — forward Max Domi — he was traded for.

Galchenyuk and Domi go against their former teams on Thursday for the first time since being traded even-up on June 15 as both teams continue their crowded pre-Christmas schedules.

The Canadiens (17-13-5) lost 2-1 to the Colorado Avalanche on goals by Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog on Wednesday and have lost two in a row since winning six of seven. The Coyotes (14-17-2), who lost 3-1 to the New York Islanders on Tuesday, have lost six of seven overall and are 1-6-1 in their last eight games at Gila River Arena.

Brendan Gallagher ended Montreal’s 0-for-25 slump on the power play by scoring the game’s opening goal Wednesday against Colorado, but the Canadiens couldn’t get anything else past Philipp Grubauer, who made 35 saves. Montreal goaltender Carey Price made 24 saves, but was denied his 300th career victory.

So far, the Canadiens are getting the better of the Domi-Galchenyuk deal.

Domi has 14 goals and 33 points and is a plus-4 in 35 games, or only 12 fewer points than he had in 82 games with Arizona last season. Galchenyuk has three goals and 11 points and is a minus-7 in 23 games, and hasn’t scored in 14 games since getting a goal against the Washington Capitals on Nov. 11. Domi doesn’t have a goal in his last five games, but has three goals in his past eight games.

It didn’t help that Galchenyuk missed first three weeks of the season with a lower-body injury. But even moving back to his preferred position of center from the wing — where he played exclusively last season with Montreal — hasn’t helped him regain the scoring touch that saw him score 30 goals in the 2015-16 season.

Galchenyuk is back at left wing again because Tocchet felt he was “thinking too much” at center and needed a change to help him relax.

“He feels bad he’s not scoring but he’s like our team — we’re not scoring,” Tocchet said. “Ten game ago, we were two games over .500, the next thing you know we’re not scoring goals. We’ve lost a few games here and we’ve got to get it back. He feels bad like a lot of guys.”

The Coyotes have scored 14 goals in their past seven games, and recorded one goal or fewer in three of their last four.

“We had some chances (Tuesday) but we’re not scoring right now, and everything is magnified when you’re not scoring,” Tocchet said.

The Coyotes are beginning to slide out of playoff position in the Western Conference, so this will be an important weekend for them with three games in four days starting Thursday. They’re at home against the Avalanche on Saturday and play at the San Jose Sharks on Sunday.

The Canadiens play Saturday on the road against the Vegas Golden Knights in their final game before a five-day Christmas break.