Gally & Gally Chip In On Rally; Habs 4 Jets 3

Photo: OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE

Photo: OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE

The Canadiens and Jets have been two of the hottest (Canadian) teams as of late with both teams riding a three-game winning streak coming into tonight. Both starting goalies have had tremendous starts to the season; Ondrej Pavelic posting a 2-1-1 record, 2.20 GAA and a .932 save percentage and Carey Price posting even more impressive numbers with a 3-1 record, 1.73 GAA and a save percentage of .936. Simply outstanding. Now although P.K Subban has signed he will not join the lineup until Saturday, so the Habs were without his services once again when the Canadiens faced the Jets tonight.

With the Bell Centre rocking (as usual), coach Therrien once again had his team prepared as the Habs kept their feet moving and forced all sorts of pressure on the Jets in the opening period. Once again it was the Habs getting on the board first with Rene Bourque potting his first of the year on the man advantage with a slap shot from the point. Assists credited to Andrei Markov (2) and Rafael Diaz (6). This goal officially removes the monkey from Bourque’s back who many had written off coming into this season. One would hope this is just the start of a strong season for Bourque. Montreal would find themselves once again receiving offensive production from “the kids” as Brendan Gallagher entered the zone and promptly sniped home his second of the season, sending the Bell Centre faithful and Habs fans everywhere into a frenzy. Assists credited to Francis Bouillion (2) and Alex Galchenyuk (3). It’s great to see the youngsters justify the decision to keep both with the big club for the remainder of the year. Gallagher and Galchenyuk have combined for nine points (three goals and six assists) in four games thus far and are showing no signs of slowing down. Soon after, Travis Moen and Chris Thorburn engaged in a tussle to try and steal some momentum for the away team and with Andrei Markov in the sin bin for hooking Blake Wheeler made the Habs pay with his third goal of the season with assists going to Olli Jokinen (2) and Tobias Enstrom (7). It appears Winnipeg’s plan had worked as you could feel the momentum sway their way.

Unfortunately for Montreal the momentum carried over to the second period as the Jets would draw even with Nik Antropov sliding the puck into the empty cage with Carey Price well out of position. The goal marks Antropov’s first of the season with Brian Little (2) and former Habs Ron Hainsey (2) drawing assists on the play. With the game tied Montreal appeared dead on their feet and looked defeated after once again blowing a two goal lead just as they did against New Jersey two nights ago. But the bleeding did not stop there as Olli Jokinen, who earlier appeared to purposely knock the net of its moorings, sniped a goal of his own from Evander Kane (4) and Dustin Byfuglien (4) at the 11:48 mark to give the Jets their first lead of the game.

Photo: OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE

Photo: OLIVIER JEAN, LA PRESSE

Now Montreal fans have been known to voice their opinions no matter what they may be but when the Habs found themselves down the fans did everything in their power to pick them right back up. An influx of energy and grit combined with a scramble and a lucky bounce or two the Habs were the ones tying the game with Erik Cole finally netting his first goal of the season with 4:52 remaining in the second frame. After seemingly giving up on the previous sequence Cole positioned himself just to the left of Pavelic and even as I write this I do not know how he got that shot off fast enough to beat Pavelic considering the puck was practically in his skates. None the less the game was tied yet again. I should also mention Gallagher and Galchenyuk once again marked their names on the score sheet with both notching assists on the play. Now to be honest I found myself questioning the decision to keep both (mostly Galchenyuk) players with the big club as I was unsure it was wise to burn a year on his (Galchenyuk) ELC for a shortened season but I am sure glad to be proven wrong.

I tweeted earlier in the game that Tomas Plekanec had to be a little more patient and that “it” would come. Now I don’t know if someone relayed the message to him or not but he would find the back of the net for the third time this season with a power play goal at the 5:31 mark to put the Habs up once again. Also the defensive pairing of Diaz and Markov on the power play continued to click as Diaz picked up his seventh point (all assists) of the year while Markov notched his third helper and seventh point as well. It is amazing what a healthy Markov can do for a team don’ you think?

With the good does come the bad and that was penalty trouble. It felt like every time Montreal would put together a few good shifts or score a goal the Habs got called for something. Brandon Prust was penalized twice in less than five minutes with one being an obvious goaltender interference call and then being called for diving yet he was hit from behind into his team’s bench. Not sure how that works. Armed with confidence and serious mental toughness Montreal found a way to once again kill off such badly times penalties which in turn preserved the win, their fourth in a row.

My only issue with tonight’s game was the play of David Desharnais. Although I thoroughly enjoyed his success last season he has yet to showcase those exact skills. While players like Eller are forced to take a back seat and essentially earn their ice time it is time for DD to suffer the same fate. Past merits do play a factor but in a shortened season teams cannot afford to give away precious ice time to players who are simply not getting it done. I’ll be commenting on this in greater detail this week.

In closing, another gutsy 4-3 win for the Canadiens who were able to do so without relinquishing a point to the opposition. On the offensive side standouts to me were Gallagher, Galchenyuk and Cole as where Gorges, Bouillon and Emelin brought their A-game with a solid defensive and physical effort. With the absence of Max Pacioretty the Habs are going to look for more offensive output from not so likely sources. They won’t come every night but when they do they are going to stick to what they have been doing thus far and that is sound defense and strong physical play. Up next for Montreal are the Ottawa Senators who have points in their last two games and will likely turn to Petr Budaj for his first start of the season.

Go Habs Go

Follow me on Twitter @MTLCanadiensTV

 

 

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