Of course when the shots were around 25 to 5 for the Canadiens and they only held a 2-1 lead, I had dark thoughts of disaster rearing its ugly head. But the team never let it slip away, they carried on, and skated away with a solid 5-2 win over the Toronto Maple Thugs, although it went into the third before they were able to break it open.
All in all, a satisfying night. Kind of like good versus evil.
Brendan Gallagher, who at one point nearly had his upper torso removed by a steamrolling Dion Phaneuf, ended up alive and well and scoring the winner in the third period when things were tied at two and the game completely undecided, regardless of the difference in play and shots. Gally tipped it in after David Desharnais won the faceoff and got it back to Josh Gorges, causing the Leafs to whine and moan for several minutes afterward because they felt the puck hadn’t been dropped fairly.
It’s the kind of thing that warms the cockles of my heart.
Alexei Emelin scored his team’s first goal, which evened things in the opening frame, and The Thumper had several big blasts from the blueline that came close, and which seemed so out of character for the big Russian who’s not known as a point-getter. Wouldn’t it be fun to see Emelin blossom into some kind of minor offensive threat? Who knows? Stranger things have happened.
Max Pacioretty continued his merry ways by notching a couple, including one that bounced in off his skate, and the other, a wicked wrist shot that beat Ben Scrivens and reminded me of my shot when I was a smallish-yet-shifty right winger for Byers Bulldozers Bantams.
Brian Gionta found the empty net for Montreal’s fifth, and maybe this will get him going the same way Max got going after bouncing one in from centre ice a while back.
Just a fine road win, and I’ve been racking my brain trying to come with something nice to say about the Leafs but I’m having trouble. So many on that team are dangerous, not for their scoring prowess, but for their ability to injure others. This is a greasy team, and Brian Burke is being credited with putting it together. Is that a good thing?
The Habs are now three points ahead of Pittsburgh for first in the east, and it’s the Penguins in town on Saturday for what should be a beauty.
Canadiens outshot the Thugs 40-23. They had 45 shots in Ottawa two nights ago.
Raphael Diaz has a concussion to join Rene Bourque in that department, and Tomas Kaberle, filling in, played in just his seventh game of the season.
Brandon Prust was feisty once again, and with his effective play and beautiful girlfriend, the guy’s really got it going.
Michael Ryder’s play was on the quiet side, which is to be expected. New teammates, all of a sudden.
Fans at the Air Canada Centre sure take their time getting back to their seats after intermission. Five minutes into the third, it looked like one of those games when no one comes because of a snowstorm. But eventually they were filled again. Maybe the most expensive seats in the league and folks were out getting hot dogs.