Brendan Gallagher finally returned to the Habs lineup, notched a goal and an assist, and never missed a beat with his mind blowing work ethic while getting clobbered in and around the crease, usually by an aging skyscraper named Zdeno Chara.
Gally’s a huge difference maker, a leader by example with balls the size of a large planet, and we saw at this 2016 Winter Classic in Foxborough what we already knew. This guy has to be healthy in the playoffs.
Without Gallagher in the lineup, his coworkers lacked fire, but with him punching the clock they’re a different bunch. Today showed a team with character and confidence, as they did when they won nine straight in the beginning.
Not at all the boring and stagnant bunch we came to know and dislike in December.
The Canadiens bombed the Bruins 5-1 at Gillette Stadium with nearly 70,000 fans in the seats, and it was Gallagher leading the way after missing 17 games with a hand injury. He added passion, grit, and will, things lacking during the team’s big slump.
The rest of them should be ashamed of themselves. They can’t play well unless inspired by a smallish yet shifty and feisty right winger?
Why can’t Max or PK or anyone else pull off that sort of inspiration?
And every time he banged it out in the crease against guys like Chara, I was worried he’d get hurt again. Teams will surely go after him even more now, because it’s obvious he’s the straw that stirs the drink.
Do we have some protection for Gally? Not much at all, unfortunately. PK and Eller, both of whom dropped the gloves in the past couple of games, won’t exactly be relied upon, to say the least. And then there’s…….
And the Winter Classic? I’ve never been able to fully embrace these outdoor games. For whatever reason, it upsets me to see fans in seats so far from the ice. Even those in the first row need binoculars.
Often the games aren’t up to scratch, especially when it’s snowing or minus-30 or the ice begins to melt.
And who can be sure about anything that Gary Bettman loves?
But this game was good, the weather was fine, and the right team unleashed a throttling.
Mike Condon was excellent throughout, including a lightning quick glove save on Ryan Spooner in the dying seconds of the second period.
The Canadiens jumped into the lead just 1:14 into the first period when David Desharnais scored his first in more than a month (which is what Tomas Plekanec did on Monday in Tampa Bay), while other marksmen included Paul Byron with a pair, Max, and of course Gally.
Dale Weise was injured in the third period and didn’t return.
Max’s arm hit a camera stuck through the glass, and if I had a say in things, I’d be telling camermen that when players are skating near you, pull your friggin camera in. How hard can it be?
Canadiens outshot the Bruins 30-28 overall, including a dominant 14-3 in the first period. But the Bruins would close the gap and outshoot Montreal 11-5 in the third frame.
Next up – Tuesday, the final game of this eight-game road trip, when the boys hit Philly. The Flyers know from this Habs-Bruins game that the secret to success is to maim Brendan Gallagher. So zebras (and teammates), it’s up to you.
Gally artwork by Wade (Darth) Alexander. Thanks Wade.