Moving rookie Brendan Gallagher to a line with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty paid off for the Canadiens. The line scored the first two goals of the game and the Canadiens skated away with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers Saturday night. Also scoring for the Tomas Plekanec and Rene Bourque. Bourque’s goal was awarded to him after he was tripped while going for the empty net. Peter Budaj was in the Canadiens nets after Carey Price came down with stomach flu. The Canadiens outshot Philadelphia 29-19. It was the Canadiens third straight win and with nineteen points the team is only two behind the front running New Jersey Devils for the Eastern Conference lead.
The Canadiens will host Carolina Monday night and then play the Rangers at Madison Square Garden Tuesday.
At Random –
Catching Fire – The presence of Brendan Gallagher on the line seemed to light a fire under both David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty. In the first period the line produced seven scoring chances, three of them from Gallagher. Pacioretty turned Flyer defenceman Kimmo Timonen around at the line and then gave the puck to Gallagher, who’s quick release startled Brian Boucher.
Game Winner- Early in the second period, Pacioretty got loose on a semi-breakaway. He fed Gallagher who found Desharnais in the slot. 2-0 Canadiens.
Breathing Room – Tomas Plekanec’s goal to make it 3-1 was the result of simple hard work. It started with Rene Bourque blocking Brayden Schenn’s clearing attempt and giving it to Plekanec who appeared to hang on to the puck too long in front. He then wheeled and shot, get the rebound back and shoot it over Boucher who was now sitting on the ice. 3-1Canadiens. That’s seven on the season for Plekanec now.
Paying the Price – Four minutes into the third period Gallagher was slammed into the end boards in Philadelphia territory by Luke Schenn and left the ice with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. He didn’t return. Seven minutes later on a partial breakawaye, Max Pacioretty was hauled down by Timonen and slid hard into the Flyers goalpost. He left with either a rib or wrist injury. Two thirds of the game’s most productive line done for the night. and his night was over. With four minutes left Alexei Emelin appeared to have been slew-footed by Claude Giroux and left the ice in pain. He didn[t play another shift. And then with 78 seconds left in the game Colby Armstrong took a puck in the face. No reports on the seriousness of any of the injuries. Gallagher and Pacioretty are particularly worrisome.
Shut Down – It’s becoming a familiar sight. The Canadiens team-game frustrating their opponent. At the end of forty-minutes, the Flyers had a total of ten shots on goal. Five of them came during the four straight penalties the Canadiens picked up in the second period.
Payback – The Canadiens owed one to Peter Budaj after they let him down in Buffalo last week. They looked after him on this night. P.K. Subban dove in front of a shot from Tye McGinn after Budaj was caught out of the net in the second period and with 3 ½ minutes left and the score still 3-1 Budaj had reach behind him after he failed to handle a shot cleanly. Otherwise a nicely controlled night in the Canadiens goal.
Re-United- The power play point combination of Andrei Markov and Raphael Diaz was the talk of the town through the first five games of the season. When P.K. Subban joined the team, he was placed with Markov again and production disappeared. With one power play goal their last 16 opportunities, Michel Therrien finally went back to what worked. Diaz and Markov together to open the third period and, although they didn’t score, it was the best-looking Canadiens power play in four games.
Up and Coming – The third four-game week for the Canadiens in a month. They host Carolina Monday; head for Madison Square Garden and the Rangers Tuesday and return home for the Islanders Thursday and the Rangers Saturday.