Canadiens' Vanek demoted to fourth-line at practice

Thomas Drance
Rick Osentoski / USA TODAY Sports

Montreal Canadiens winger and highly-regarded pending unrestricted free-agent Thomas Vanek has had a rough go of it this postseason, despite the team's underdog run to the Eastern Conference final. 

Vanek's effort has been called out by head coach Michel Therrien, he's been ineffective and unlucky, and he's managed just five goals and eight points in 13 playoff games.

On Wednesday morning at Canadiens' practice, Vanek took line-rushes on Montreal's fourth-line. Actually, he took line-rushes as perhaps Montreal's 13th forward per's Arpon Basu:

Vanek had a particularly feeble outing in Montreal's 3-1 loss to the Rangers in Game 2. Though the team as a whole was only outshot 27-26 at even-strength in Game 2, with Vanek on the ice they were outshot 9-4. Beyond one tough game, the Canadiens have been outscored with Vanek on the ice at evens during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and have controlled a paltry 44.7% of five-on-five shot attempts. 

Despite Vanek's postseason struggles, the Austrian sniper is still one of the best - if not the single best - shooter in the game. Facing the impenetrable goaltending of Henrik Lundqvist, that's the type of player a team desperate for goals might find helpful.