Alex Galchenyuk Comes Up Big In Habs Win Vs. Stars

Photo: Francois Lacasse / NHLI via Getty Images

Photo: Francois Lacasse / NHLI via Getty Images

Alex Galchenyuk Comes Up Big In Habs Win Vs. Stars

Alex Galchenyuk was, once again, the Story of the Game Tuesday night as the Habs won in overtime against the Dallas Stars.

Following an extremely disappointing 4-game losing streak on the road, the Canadiens were back at the Bell Centre to face the strong Stars (first in the West).

Since February 12, Galchenyuk has had 5 2-goal games – including Tuesday’s where he scored the game-winning goal. His productivity of late has been more than impressive: it’s been a case for dubbing him “untouchable” as far as the team roster is concerned.

The game started with a Dallas goal at the 3-minute mark of the first period. Max Pacioretty tied the game 2/3 of the way through the period.

In the second period, the Stars scored early on with a power-play goal at 17 seconds in. But the Habs made a definitive statement when, on their 11th and 12th shots of the game, they scored two quick goals: Galchenyuk at 53 seconds in, and newcomer Phillip Danault at 3:37.

The period was a strong one for both teams, with the Stars tying it with just a minute left.

It was good to see the Canadiens keep pushing through a fast-paced third period, which ended with no tie-breaking goal.

Overtime was the dramatic part of the game.

The Habs got a great chance when Galchenyuk took a shot that went wide, but the team kept pressing. On the same shift, Kris Russell, of the Stars, broke his stick in his own zone; with the Habs pressuring Kari Lehtonen, set up to shoot, it was essentially a 3-on-2 game, and they wasted no time capitalizing on the advantage.

With his classic one-timer (on a beautiful pass from Andrei Markov), Galchenyuk beat Lehtonen, and won the game for the Habs at 1:59 of the OT period.

Let’s take note of the roster for the Canadiens. Brendan Gallagher, injured in the game against Winnipeg on Saturday night, is out for 2-3 weeks, it was announced on Tuesday. Lars Eller was out of the lineup as well, for undisclosed reasons.

Arpon Basu put it succinctly:

But the Habs have filled the gaps with players like Lucas Lessio (who recorded his first assist with the Habs on Tuesday night), Mike Brown, Mike McCarron, Jacob De La Rose, Sven Andrighetto and so far, even through losses, the call-ups have played well.

For a team depleted – without its star goaltender for most of the season – and a revolving door of call-ups, the Habs have managed to keep a disappointing season exciting as we saw in Tuesday’s game.

But there is no doubt to anyone who has been paying attention that Alex Galchenyuk is The Story. Mine isn’t the first, or only one which is making mention of his talents, and that’s because he is a remarkable player who stood out even more in this game.

It helps that he’s been put into the role of top-line centre for the past two games, and it has looked good on him. Two goals the past two games, plus an assist on Tuesday night, a game-winning OT goal, and a dominant performance every single game – these are the reasons he is getting so much well-deserved attention.

In fact, in the past 7 games, he has had 4 2-goal games, 9 goals altogether. He’s sitting at 23 goals, 44 points this season, and there are still 15 games left. Should he continue in this vein, he’ll hit well over 30 goals for the season, and possibly more.

We have all discussed his being misused/underused this season, and how that is squarely on the coach’s shoulder. In fact, asked that very question, Michel Therrien didn’t seem to attribute anything to the change in position. Here is his full statement:

I know, you’re scratching your heads too. Is anyone else wondering – with frustration in their hearts – what might have been this season had Galchenyuk been put there all season long? Imagining all the goals the Habs might have scored? Imagining not having a slump at all?

Sure, all hypotheticals, but it’s hard not to see the correlation between the new role Galchenyuk is playing and the successes he is seeing.

Is it too little too late? Well, no, because it’s not “too little” at all. This is his time to shine, and to enjoy his meteoric rise. There’s nothing wrong about that.

But too late? This has been a roller coaster season, and who knows what might happen in the next 15 games? (No one knows, and that’s part of how much fun this game can be)

For now, my advice is to just enjoy the games; if you’re hoping for a tank, there’s nothing I can really say – I don’t see how any fan can watch a winning game like this, especially the joyous celebration on the ice after the team won, and not feel the same exhilaration.

Photo: Francois Lacasse / NHLI via Getty Images

Photo: Francois Lacasse / NHLI via Getty Images

But if you’re just going with the flow – because what else can we do, right? – enjoy the wins, take the losses in stride, and celebrate being a Habs fan.

In addition, I have always been a Greg Pateryn fan. From the time he took a whole bunch of stitches in the playoffs against the Sens, came back the next game and helped the Habs get past the round, I knew he was one to watch. The way he’s been playing this season shows why he is so valuable. And with Tom Gilbert about to become a UFA, along with his extended injury, it looks like Greg Pateryn is auditioning – successfully – to assume Gilbert’s place on the blue line. I have no doubt that’s how it will play out. But as always, time will tell.

Next game will be on Thursday (March 10th), against the Buffalo Sabres at the Bell Centre. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m. Now that we know the Habs are without Gallagher, let’s see if this winning game can serve as a template for more wins.

It’s certainly time for an extended winning streak, don’t you think?

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One Response to Alex Galchenyuk Comes Up Big In Habs Win Vs. Stars

  1. Reading Therrien’s commentary on Gally27’s success demonstrates exactly why he needs to go. He uses this type of rationale on why he’s jerked Gally27 around. But other players on this team that have struggled have been rewarded with extra ice time, extra ice time on the power play. I won’t mention names but let’s use this example say – DD – I didn’t say anything about initials. All year this guy has under performed yet he was placed back as the #1 centre. Yes he started on the third line but jumped up to the top and for a short stay as the 2nd line centre. He has received all those extra’s yet has done next to dick all in producing goals, PP goals and assists in those categories. It has been identified that he hardly ever shoots making his game very predictable yet nothing is done. He is a menace on our side of centre and with that in mind he is protected with very limited starts in our end. He displays below average defensive abilities and the same in defensive positioning. Yet nothing is said by the coach about this or is anything done to change these poor habits. Yet other players pay the price with benchings or being called out and thrown under the bus by the coach. Again, this never happens to DD. Why? Is it because he’s Therrien’s Pet -> Yes! I could go on but what’s the use. This team needs to play its best players in the best positions to succeed but this is often not entertained by management/coach. If you are going to discipline players you don’t make an example of the few and let the rest skate away free. But this is done again and again. Poor and Indifferent play has been the staple of Capt. Max’s play for most of this year. Whether he’s sulking about how he got undersold by Bergevin on his contract or maybe not happy playing here. But he’s skated free of his underperforming play. He’s also been A Questionable choice for the Captains role. Example – the Habs recent visit to Colarado. Late in the game Subban had a turnover inside the Aves blueline and on the ensuing rush the Aves scored the winning goal. After the game Therrien immediately blamed Subban for the loss. After the goal was scored he benched with Capt. Max and was not on the ice for the last few mi Utes in the game. From the outside if you didn’t see the play you only imagined that Subban intentionally gave the puck away leading to the goal and you could sort of understand Therrien’s temper and actions. But then you saw the replays of the incident and you had to wonder what play Therrien was looking at. When Subban fell down the Aves started out with a 3 man rush And they were defended by 3 Habs that included Capt Max. Everything was going ok until the Aves crossed our blueline. At this point Capt Max joined some other game in progress because he dropped coverage of his man and allowed him to spring free. To compound that error Capt Max then moved onto the puck carrier who was already being covered. Once he had fully committed himself to this course of action the puck carrier passed the puck ahead to the open man creating a 2on 1 situation for the Habs lone defender.. And once the defender moved to the puck carrier allowing him to make a nice pass to the open man who tapped the puck in for the winner. So Therrien went ballistic in blaming Subban for this goal. Not once did he mention the poor decisions made by Capt Max that did lead to the goal. Did Capt Max do the right thing and own up that he was the one that caused the goal and defend his wronged team member? Nope! He sat silently and said not a thing to make things right. It reaffirms clearly he is not “Captain” material. It also deepens the thinking that there is indeed a rift between the two players which is not good for the team. Lastly, after a day to review the play again did Therrien change his tune. Not surprisingly “No” which is the typical behaviour of a Loser for a coach for this team.

    Ned Stark March 9, 2016 at 4:23 am Reply

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