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Canadiens vs Bruins Winter Classic Top Six Minutes: A triumphant return for Brendan Gallagher

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Montreal found its form during the Winter Classic and put the screws to the Bruins in Foxboro.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

For our new readers and members, the Top Six Minutes is a continuation of the discussion in the game thread. We try to keep it light and entertaining. Full recaps are up the morning after every game.

I just made miniature pizzas. Well, I cooked four frozen ones from out of a box, sprinkled some pepper on them, and ate them consecutively without breathing.

It's part of my ritual when the Habs play a big game - I have to wear a Montreal Jersey, I have to cook some food in the oven, I have to get the gigantic red Montreal Canadiens finger down from the wall.

Players have rituals too, of course, which is why we feel a little bit like them when we execute our good luck routines. We use them to try to stay positive when the team is in a rut.

Sometimes it's tough to stay positive - I find myself going through my rituals and getting increasingly, irrationally angry, because I'm pulling my weight and I feel like these schmucks in Montreal are starting to slow down when they need to hit the gas. I swear and say, "Jesus! You're a good hockey team! Play like it!"

It's become part of my ritual.

Today we are in Boston. It is the Winter Classic everybody has always wanted. Please don't suck.

Pre-game

  • Don Cherry calls out PK Subban and Max Pacioretty for looking particularly sharp in their pre-game suits. PK looks like he walked out of a gangster film and it's amazing. Patches looks like he may actually be Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.
  • Nothing says "let's play hockey" quite like bland, middling adult alternative bands. Rockin'!
  • OK. Just a few more minutes of pre-game. We're almost through this.

First Period

  • I'll tell you what - this game looks great. The jerseys, the colouring of the boards, the ice surface. It almost looks real!
  • Goal! Just like that, it's 1-0 Montreal. Desharnais bats one in on the rebound of a Dale Weise shot, breaking a twenty-three game slump. New Year's Resolution?
  • PK Subban is having so much fun. Will he score? Wouldn't it be nice if he did?
  • There was never any doubt that Gallagher would pick up his game immediately, and he's been in Rask's face from the outset here. He also tangles with Chara. Mighty Mouse, eat your heart out.
  • Ray Ferraro is one of my favourite analysts, and it's terrific seeing how excited he is about his son's burgeoning career.
  • Montreal is absolutely dominating after one period. Shots are 18-3. Yes. Good. Yes.


Second Period

  • The Habs pick up right where they left off, and I'm starting to look into whether it is possible to peel the roof off the Bell Centre going forward.
  • 2-0! Paul Byron taps one in from the top of the crease off an assist from Brian Flynn.
  • The Habs proceed to absolutely pepper the Bruins over the course of the next shift. Rask robs Weise and then Kevin Millar takes a penalty. If the Habs get one here this thing might really break open.
  • I keep predicting PK will score only because it has to happen eventually. It doesn't on this powerplay.
  • The Habs are rolling four lines again, and with Gallagher back and those lines returning to normalcy, the team is looking like its old self again.
  • Boston gets two powerplays. Dale Weise goes to the room. Condon forced to make big saves. I take back what I just said.
  • Brendan Gallagher. Can you believe it? He whacks one in - the Habs' third goal from in tight - from right in front of Tuuka Rask. It's 3-0 Montreal.
  • Mike Condon makes what might be the best save of his career to this point. He gets an extra second when Ryan Spooner doesn't one-time his chance, so Condon double clutches and commits a filthy glove stymie. I love saying stymie, and I say it a lot. I watch a lot of games alone.
  • Condon seems to have really found another gear since Scrivens was brought in. The motivation has changed: his play was starting to sag, but now instead of carrying his team, he's got to preserve his place on it. The motivation is more intense, but the responsibility is more personal. It doesn't seem as big.
  • You know Carey Price is wishing him the best of luck, but I wonder if he's feeling jealous of this opportunity. He wants to make that save on this stage.

Third Period

  • Dale Weise is gone for the rest of the game with an upper body injury. Luckily in Emelin and Gallagher we still have two players capable of mercilessly aggravating the Bruins.
  • Boston scores - Adam McQuaid (from PEI!) fires it from the point and it's tipped by Matt Beleskey. It's not even five minutes into the third and that's a dangerous goal.
  • Therrien threw all of the Habs names up in the air and they fell into new lines. Actually, he's trying to adjust without Weise - looks like Galchenyuk is with Gallagher and Plekanec is with Pacioretty and Eller.
  • The Bruins have had several near misses in this period. The Habs are cashing in their PDO chips from December.
  • Snow has started to fall. Why, this would be a picture perfect scenario for Max Pacioretty to snipe one on this 2-on-1 that just started with Brendan Gallagher. I hope he scores a hockey goal!
  • He does! Captain America rips his sixteenth of the season to make it 4-1. That is precisely the kind of timely scoring Montreal has lacked.
  • A bizarre sequence follows. Patches runs into a camera in the corner, then the puck is rifled by Plekanec and hits Rask in the throat. Everybody's hurt!
  • THEN a camera man get plunked by a puck on the sideline. Let the conspiracy theories begin!

  • Blade is going to be devastated. He has no idea. What a chump.
  • As the game winds down here, the Habs have to be happy with what they've accomplished. A big effort from Mike Condon, a superb return for Brendan Gallagher, and a complete game on the biggest stage against the team's most bitter rival. If I wrote it in a script, you'd say it was cliche. 
  • Lars Eller fought. You can't make that up.
  • Lord Byron hath seen fit to bequeath upon his Most Valued Compatriots another goale in the dying minutes. It's 5-1 Montreal!

It's the game Habs fans were hoping for - a complete effort from the team that showcased depth and the ability to score. It was a big stage, and a great day for outdoor hockey. Welcome back, Brendan Gallagher. We missed you.

EOTP 3 Stars

3. Fair enough.

2. Great job by WIND today. Solid possession game.

1. I think not.


Highlights