Category Archives: Brendan Gallagher

Habs High Five

Three shots in the first, seven in the second, and eight in the third, and as feeble as that may sound, the Canadiens still found a way to down the New York Rangers 3-1 at Madison Square Garden, and in doing so find themselves king of the hill, top of the heap, with five straight wins racked up to put them first in the East.

New York opened the scoring in the second period, and with Montreal’s lack of offence, one goal might have been enough. But it wasn’t. Not after Max Pacioretty, with his second of the season, found the back of the net with just 1:15 left in the middle frame. Perfect timing, this goal. And a downer, I’m sure, for the Rangers.

In the third, Alex Galchenyuk converted after nice work from linemates Brandon Prust and Lars Eller, and lately we’ve seen Chucky set up two winners ( against Florida and Carolina) and score his own winner tonight. The guy’s had a fine start to his big-league career, and he doesn’t seem nearly as cocky as Nail Yakupov in Edmonton. In fact, he’s as serious and focused as can be, mature for having just turned 19, and I’ll bet there’s an army of young Montreal ladies who’d love to help him take a shower.

Still, this game could have gone south in the final minutes when Tomas Plekanec took a tripping penalty with just 3:06 remaining, and shortly after Tortorella pulled Henrik Lundqvist for an extra attacker. But Raphael Diaz settled things when he sent the puck 170 feet into the empty net, and the streak continues.

They found a way, and the beat goes on.

Random Notes:

New York outshot Montreal 25-18. Carey Price, recovered from the flu, held the fort and as they say in hockey lingo, he gave his team a chance to win.

Lars Eller enjoyed a fine night, he skated hard and handled the puck well, and the coach should be pleased.

Next up – The Islanders at the Bell on Thursday.

Hopefully Brendan Gallagher’s concussion has vanished into concussion universe, never to be seen or heard from again.

So happy with the team right now, but if I was a bit of a nitpicker, I’d say Erik Cole was slightly lazy in covering his man in front of the net when the Rangers made it 1-0. But they won so all’s forgiven and forgotten.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Habs Roll Along

What a terrific bonus it is when the backup comes in for the ailing starter and wins both games, the second being a nice fat shutout. And what a bonus it is, after a young spark plug goes down with an injury, that another young spark plug carries on and helps get the team on the board when the score was tied 0-0 in the third period.

And then there was Max, notching his first of the season on a brilliant……..well, not quite, goal that put the game out of reach. More on that in a minute.

Peter Budaj and the gang take out the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0, and find themselves number two in the east, just a point behind the Pittsburgh Sidneys. It’s now six wins in the last nine, the guys are going good, and I’ll go as far as saying we like it like this. Yes, they were in our bad books after losing three straight recently, but that was then, so long ago. It’s now lodged deep in the far recesses of our memory banks and the gang is presently forgiven.

Don’t forget team, we love you, win or tie.

It wasn’t a barn burner by any stretch, this meeting with the Raleighites. (Raleighonians?) The night was mostly a tight checking affair that lacked any thriller effect, but at least the crowd got their money’s worth in the third when Alex Galchenyuk dashed in and helped Brandon Prust open the scoring. It was reminiscent of Rene Bourque’s overtime winner in Florida when Galchenyuk burst in and got the puck over.

Seeing this driving to the net makes my heart soar like a Ryukyu Woodpigeon. It’s what the team needs to do, and didn’t do much of last year. It’s terrific that they’re making enemy goalies and defence work now, and it’s mostly led by the kids, a new guy who’d come over from the Rangers, and a guy named Bourque whom we thought was a dud, at least I did, and is turning out to be a beauty.

Just a different-looking squad now. It gives us great hope.

Soon after the Prust opener, Tomas Plekanec beat Cam Ward to ease things somewhat, and then Max Pacioretty, looking for his first of the season, bounced one in from his side of the red line, the puck did a little dipsy-doodle, and suddenly, Max had his first and the team held a 3-0 lead.

There’s nothing like a lucky bounce to possibly get the motor running for Patches. Hopefully, one crazy puck will lead to a bucket of goals from here on in.

Random Notes:

Shots on goal – Montreal 26, Canes 19.

Max’s goal was similar to the way J.C. Tremblay would sometimes light the lamp. The difference is, Tremblay was actually trying to score when he attempted these. Max was as surprised as anybody on his.

Next for the Habs – Tuesday night, when they make their way to Manhattan to meet the Rangers. This will be Brandon Prust’s first clash with his former team and we should see a big game from this key guy.

Carey Price caught a stray puck while sitting on the bench and tossed it to someone in the crowd. It was a nice, funny moment, with smiles all around.

The team is second in the East, which makes them first in the Northeast, a point ahead of Boston. This see-sawing will likely continue for awhile, but as long as the boys keep winning, things are bound to open up just slightly.

So the new task at hand is this – never lose. It’s the only way.

 

 

 

Another In The Win Column

I set my PVR to record the Habs-Flyers game, went to work, and avoided the computer and radio for hours so I wouldn’t know the score. I almost made it. A fellow I know drove his semi off the ferry later in the evening, opened his window and yelled at me, “Habs 4-1!”

But I also really liked it when I heard the score. So it was a good/bad thing.

For the time being at least, the Montreal Canadiens find themselves a lofty 5th overall in the league and 2nd in the east after taking it to the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night at the Bell, although some dark clouds may have drifted in. Brendan Gallagher, Max Pacioretty, Colby Armstrong, and Alexei Emelin all left the ice, and we’ll hear soon enough whether the team just took a major hit in the body count department, or whether some serious bullets just got dodged.

Imagine if Max is down for the count? One thing after another. Where’s his Guardian Angel for goodness sakes? And Gallagher. Imagine if he’s gone for awhile? What a sensational young player this guy is, and until he disappeared into the infirmary, he’d recorded a goal and an assist and was a man on a mission. Armstrong’s been playing better lately, seems to have turned a small corner, and now he might be down. And Emelin is a guy who goes about his business of making players on other teams keep their heads up.

We need these guys back right away, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Random Notes:

PK Subban made an amazing defensive play when the game was 2-0 Habs. With the net wide open, he slid across and blocked a Philly shot that seemed a sure goal, and if there’s any justice, it’ll be on all the highlight packages for the next twenty-four hours or so. Unless TSN and others decide to show more Colton Orr fights.

Shots on goal, Habs 29, Broad Streeters 19.

Next up – Monday, when the Carolina Hurricanes pay a visit.

Peter Budaj in nets was solid as can be and stopped some quality chances from the Flyers, although there weren’t a lot. The Flyers showed very little zip tonight.

Whenever I see camera shots of Philly coach Peter Laviolette, his face and hair somehow reminds me of Reggie Mantle from Archie comics. Next time you see the Flyers, dig out your Archies and see what I mean.

Rene Bourque was hauled down when he had the puck and the net was empty, so he was simply given the goal, even though it never went in. This is not something that occurs on a regular basis. In fact, I can’t remember seeing this. Although me not remembering things isn’t all that unusual.

Along with Bourque, scorers were Gallagher, Desharnais, and Tomas Plenanec, with his seventh of the season.

A fine but maybe costly win for the Habs. It’s three straight now, and the bleu, blanc et rouge are way up the standings. Although that could change within hours. Imagine if we wouldn’t have blown those third period leads against Boston and Buffalo.

Doing Lines

Hockey Inside Out reported yesterday that Michel Therrien is going to put Max Pacioretty with Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, and place Brandon Prust with Erik Cole and David Desharnais.

That’s fine. Max might be a good fit for the kids, adding some size and puck skill, and maybe Prust will provide some spark and sandpaper for his new partners. Gotta try something. The season’s almost over.

It’s just too bad though, that the line that had so much chemistry, Max with Cole and Desharnais, hasn’t worked out as planned. It’s disappointing. It was the one line, last year at least, that couldn’t be tampered with, the one that we could rely on seeing fine and exciting things from. It was nice to have a big line. It made me think we almost had a good team.

But that was then. This year, Cole has a lousy two goals and two assists, Desharnais isn’t much better at three and two, both in eleven games, while Max has managed six assists and not one goal in his seven games. These are not numbers we expected from the so-called big line, the line without a cool name like the Punch Line or Kid Line. Maybe that was the problem. They began to go downhill because they didn’t have a good name.

Therrien probably didn’t expect these low numbers either. So he’s trying something different, and we can only keep our fingers crossed that things will click, the kids will love playing alongside Max, and Cole and Desharnais get the message and turn things up a notch or two. Although the kids might be taking their life in their hands playing near Max, who’s so unlucky he’s bound to have an Acme safe fall on his head at some point.

On another subject, it’s not hard to see what the difference in Rene Bourque has been. Bourque is now moving his feet like he’s doing the Quickstep, it seems he’s overcome all that he had to overcome, like the abundance of beautiful Montreal women which surely had affected his groin area, and we see that the guy can really motor and be a dangerous presence. It’s great to see. He was so ineffective last year, almost Colby Armstrong-like, but it seems it’s all in the past now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White No Help Whatsoever

If there’s one thing we’ve learned so far this season, it’s that except for a lot of hair, Ryan White doesn’t have a whole lot underneath his helmet.

White helped his team lose in Ottawa four games ago by taking four minutes in penalties, and tonight he helped lose the game in Buffalo by taking four minutes again, this time by retaliating and flailing away after getting bumped on a solid hip check by Steve Ott.

Einstein then watched from the sin bin as Tomas Vanek closed the gap to 4-3, which ultimately led to the Sabres tying it with just two seconds remaining in the third.

Damn. It’s hard to re-live this.

The game then went to overtime, no one scored, but the Sabres ended it by finding the back of the net twice in the shootout.

Three games in the press box after the White display in Ottawa didn’t teach him a thing. How many should it be now, ten? Maybe more. The Canadiens don’t need this immature lack of discipline. For them to win, everything, in all areas, has to be going almost perfectly.

Tomas Plekanec opened the scoring, but the Sabres replied almost immediately. In fact, just 15 seconds later. In the second period, Brendan Gallagher gave his team the lead, which lasted all of 35 seconds before it was tied again. But P.K. Subban, on a 5 on 3 power play, gave the boys the lead once more, and then in the third, Tomas Plekanec buried one on a clear cut breakaway.

It was 4-2 at that point. Things were going swimmingly. Two big points coming up.

Then Ryan White stepped on the ice.

Random Notes:

Yes, Ryan White will sometimes come to the defense of a teammate. Yes, he adds an edge, which can be an important aspect at times. And yes, he can cost his team the game. Or games. This sort of thing can’t continue.

Shots on goal – Buffalo 40, Habs 32.

Peter Budaj was in goal tonight and although he stopped many difficult close-in encounters, he still makes me nervous. I can’t help it.

It’s two games in ten that Budaj has been called upon, and I don’t understand this. Maybe I’m wrong. Who am I to question an NHL coach? But does the number one guy have to rest every five games or so? It’s just my personal opinion, but it would be only around now that I’d even be considering putting the backup guy in for a night. Maybe even several more before I’d give him a start. These points are important. And Price might be the best on the planet right now.

Alex Galchenyuk was the lone Habs marksman in the shootout. Rene Bourque and Brian Gionta couldn’t get it done.

Next game – Leafs in Montreal on Saturday. I’m thinking we won’t be seeing Ryan White.

 

 

Up To Now

Borrowed from Canadiens.com, here’s how they’re doing so far.

Forwards & Defensemen
# Pos Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
79 D Andrei Markov 7 4 4 8 0 4 4 0 3 10 40.0
61 D Raphael Diaz 7 0 8 8 0 4 0 0 0 9 0.0
14 C Tomas Plekanec 7 4 3 7 -1 2 3 0 1 22 18.2
27 C Alex Galchenyuk 7 1 6 7 5 4 0 0 0 12 8.3
17 R Rene Bourque 7 3 2 5 0 6 2 0 0 17 17.6
73 R Brendan Gallagher 6 3 2 5 6 0 0 0 1 14 21.4
21 R Brian Gionta 7 2 2 4 0 0 1 0 0 23 8.7
51 C David Desharnais 7 2 2 4 -2 10 1 0 0 7 28.6
67 L Max Pacioretty 3 0 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 10 0.0
55 D Francis Bouillon 7 0 3 3 3 0 0 0 0 7 0.0
81 C Lars Eller 5 1 2 3 0 4 0 0 0 12 8.3
72 L Erik Cole 7 1 1 2 1 4 0 0 0 17 5.9
8 L Brandon Prust 7 1 1 2 4 46 0 0 0 5 20.0
22 D Tomas Kaberle 6 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 7 0.0
32 L Travis Moen 7 0 1 1 -2 9 0 0 0 5 0.0
26 D Josh Gorges 7 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 6 16.7
74 D Alexei Emelin 7 0 1 1 2 4 0 0 0 3 0.0
53 C Ryan White 6 1 0 1 1 42 0 0 0 9 11.1
76 D P.K. Subban 1 0 1 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 0.0
20 R Colby Armstrong 7 0 0 0 0 4 0 0 0 3 0.0
68 D Yannick Weber 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0
GOALIES

Habs Blast Buffalonians

I’m so proud of the Habs today. They brushed off their 5-1 loss to the Ottawa Senators like pigeon poop on a new fedora, came out alive and well for this Saturday matinee against against a normally fine Buffalo Sabres squad, and played with fire and drive, even outshooting the visitors 15-1 in the first period.

It was 1-0 after the first, when the new and improved Rene Bourque, with his first of two, converted on the power play with just eight seconds remaining, and it became 4-0 after two when all kinds of great things happened, unless you’re a Sabres fan. In that case, things sucked.

Brendan Gallagher, from Alex Galchenyuk, gave the Canadiens a 2-0 lead, then David Desharnais with his first, finally, and Lars Eller, also with his first, just 28 seconds later, and the Habs had things well under control. To see the kids sparkle, to see Bourque continue his merry ways, and to see a couple of guys finally get those Steinways off their backs, and it becomes a tremendous way to grab two points.

P.K. Subban, in his first game in eleven months, was effective, hitting the post with a big drive in the third, and assisting on Desharnais’s second goal of the night, a power play marker that made it 6-1. Subban is so flamboyant, even when he’s rusty.

Carey Price was once again as stellar as can be and although not overworked, was steady and showed both his club and the Sabres that not much was going to get by him. No player can be more important than a good goalie, and we’ve got one of the best.

The Ottawa game soured things for a few days, but rebounding like this makes my heart soar like a San Benedicto Rock Wren.

The third period got complicated, at least for me. Rene Bourque made it 5-0 before Buffalo finally got on the board when the red-hot Tomas Vanek broke in, and I had to begin watching the clock for a quick exit to leave for work. So at this point, there can be no random notes, no scoring summary, and no real wrap-up to this at all. All I’m doing is trying to see the end of it before bolting to the car.

Gotta run. 6-1 Habs. A great day. Tomorrow, the big Habs-Sens rematch. Same time, same place.

 

 

A Crashing Halt

The Canadiens had a decent third period, and maybe a goal early to make it 4-2 might have set the wheels in motion, but the goal didn’t happen, and the boys get hammered 5-1 in Ottawa. That’s fine. Maybe a good kick in the ass is healthy sometimes.

Ryan White didn’t help matters by taking two minutes for roughing and two more for mouthing off to the referee in the second period when the scored was tied at one. Because of his silly lack of discipline, the Sens suddenly led 3-1 and the game for all intents and purposes was over. This type of avoidable stuff can set in motion all kinds of nasty stuff, beginning with a loss, which could lead to another loss or three, and all of a sudden a team going good becomes a team going bad.

Sport can be a fragile thing, and blowing a fuse at the official is never the smartest thing to do. The guy in stripes always wins, and White needs to put on a dunce cap and go stand in the corner.

Lars Eller went from the first line to the fourth, than back to the first, then enjoyed power play time. Was he being punished, then rewarded? Will he be on the trading block soon? Is his job secure? Hey Danno, ask that eight ball, will ya?

This was only game six. Did Michel Therrien feel Carey Price was tired? I think the coach should have gone with Price in the hopes that the winning streak could continue. Why tamper with momentum? But Peter Budaj was in nets, and you can say he was fine and the team was fairly bad, but the bottom line was five goals going in. I think I would’ve waited at least several more games before I rested our number one guy. This isn’t a forty-year old Johnny Bower we’re talking about here.

At least the Canadiens continued their power play ways, although it was just one, a Tomas Plekanec marker helped by Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz. This goal was the opener, and at that point, all was right in the universe. Then the universe exploded.

Random Notes:

Montreal outshot Ottawa 32-27.

The G-Force kids were mostly a non-factor all evening. I guess they can’t be expected to rise us out of our seats every night. Okay, we expect it. It’s just not going to happen, that’s all.

Erik Cole and David Desharnais really need Max back. The three compliment each other, at least they did last year, and with Max gone for awhile, it’s not the same. Cole has created some dangerous moments, but Desharnais has been mediocre at best. The good thing is, we know he can play better. So we wait.

Next up – Saturday at the Bell, when the Buffalo Sabres provide the opposition.