Brendan Gallagher Scores As Habs Win In OT Vs Panthers

Photo by Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

Brendan Gallagher Scores As Habs Win In OT Vs Panthers

Brendan Gallagher scored late in the 3rd period to force overtime in Florida Thursday evening, while Phillip Danault‘s OT winner gave the Habs the victory.

In a game that had too many penalties taken, not enough offense generated, solid goaltending on both ends, and a less-than-exciting tone to start, the Habs emerged with 2 points when they rallied and clinched the win.

Let’s get to the recap.

First Period: Shots 17-9 Montreal

Goal: Jason Demers (Jussi Jokinen, Jason Marchessault), 13:58

The game lagged after Jason Demers opened the scoring for Florida. There were no penalties, play was back-and-forth, and not very exciting. (Just being honest here – it was not an entertaining period to watch)

Second Period: Shots 16-10 Florida

Goals:

  • Max Pacioretty (PPG; Alexander Radulov, Nathan Beaulieu), 5:45
  • Vincent Trocheck (PPG; Keith Yandle), 9:02

The Habs took 3 penalties, and got 2 power plays, scoring on their second power play. It was Max Pacioretty who got the equalizer for the Canadiens.

As Gallagher screened James Reimer, Pacioretty took a perfect shot and tied the game.

The Panthers got their go-ahead goal less than 4 minutes later, however, on their second power play of the period. They got another power play just 20 seconds later but Al Montoya was not going to let it happen twice:

Videos of this highlight-reel entry went viral immediately. This one just has to be seen:

In fact, he was instrumental in keeping the score 2-1 throughout the period, and into the 3rd.

Third Period: Shots 12-8 Montreal

Goal: Brendan Gallagher (Phillip Danault), 17:23

There were Moments in this period: no penalties, but one blatant delay-of-game when the Panthers deliberately knocked their net off just as the Habs were approaching a wide-open net. The referees did not call it, and play continued without a goal – or penalty.

It began to seem as though the Habs were destined to watch the time run out, until 17:23, when Brendan Gallagher not only tied the game but scored his first goal in 14 games (his 2nd in the last 30).

https://twitter.com/peteralper99/status/814674330978254848

The Panthers tried to rally, but Montoya shut the door, and the game went to overtime.

OT: Shots 2-0 Montreal

Goal: Phillip Danault (Max Pacioretty), 00:39

The OT began with some déja-vu anxiety, remembering 24 hours earlier when Tampa Bay forced the extra time on the Habs – with frustrating results. But this time, it didn’t take 96 seconds. It took only 39, when Phillip Danault – who had just assisted on Gallagher’s tying goal a few minutes earlier – got a breakaway.

When it’s 3-on-3, a breakaway is bigger than ever, and Danault’s speed, timing, and shot beat Reimer to win the game. Reimer was not happy at all – but this extended video will show the exuberance of the entire team with their hard-fought win, and their tributes to their goaltender.

Yes, the game was in Florida. Yes, the cheers are deafening. That’s because there are a lot of Habs fans already in Florida, but over Christmas break, Montrealers, and Eastern Canadians in general, find their way South, and with the affordable prices of tickets, book themselves a Habs game while on holiday.

Some Thoughts

What a difference a day makes!

  • Al Montoya was stellar. His solid performance – neither of the 2 Panthers goals could have been saved by him – was important not only because he recorded his first win since October, but also because he was facing his former team.

Besides that incredible save in the 2nd, Montoya made very big saves all night, and can be credited with the Habs being able to tie, and then win the game. His confidence was obvious, and the team supported him 100%.

  • While the game was a little shaky for a while, and the Habs were less-than-impressive on their power plays, they did rally, and they did play a full 60 minutes (or 60:39, as it were). This makes the difference in how the game is played and in its result.
  • Phillip Danault has truly shown himself to be a star on this team. With an assist and the game-winning goal, along with his skills throughout, he is a player to watch, and an exciting one too. In fact, many of us are playing the “who should the Habs protect?” game, as regards the upcoming draft and the Las Vegas team getting players. It’s abundantly clear that the Habs may have to consider protecting Danault, along with the other untouchables.
  • Brendan Gallagher – we all breathed a sigh of relief when he got that goal. He was close when Pacioretty scored in the 2nd, but this was the goal he needed: an important, game-saving goal that broke his drought and gave the team what they needed to win. Glad to see you back, Gally!
  • I know I’ve said that OT is exciting, with this 3-on-3 format, when it’s played to its fullest and not ended quickly. But now I have to backtrack. When the Habs are the ones scoring within the first minute of OT, I’m more intrigued than watching a full 5-minute period.
  • So now the Habs have played their pretty-tough back-to-back (first of 3 in three weeks’ time) and came away with 3 out of a possible 4 points. Not too shabby!
  • As we remember last season, where they were riddled with injuries (and are missing important players this season already – Alex Galchenyuk, Andrei Markov, Greg Pateryn, Andrew Shaw) – it’s easy to worry about what we will see in the New Year. My attitude is to simply let it unfold, and believe in what we’re seeing.

This season is very different from last; there’s been more consistency, fewer spurts of winning with long bouts of losses. More wins peppered with losses. Have they had a tough time lately? Sure, but is any team immune? Not in hockey. Show me the team that goes 82-0, and I’ll show you a fantasy story.

I have a good feeling about this season. I don’t doubt the Habs will make playoffs, and who knows what will happen from there, right? Let’s just enjoy the ride.

Next game is New Year’s Eve, Saturday night in Pittsburgh, when the Habs face the Penguins. Puck drop is 7:00 p.m., so you’ll have plenty of time to get to a New Year’s Eve party afterwards.

Of course, with the Habs playing on New Year’s Eve, who needs anything more, right?

Stay safe, enjoy your New Year’s, and we’ll see you for the recap Saturday night!

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