1. The first line was elite for about five minutes.
In 12 games they played together as a line in 2014-15, Galchenyuk (9), Pacioretty (13) and Gallagher (7) combined for 29 points.— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) March 6, 2016
But zero chemistry. None.
I don't know what Michel Therrien's definition of confidence is, but as Inigo Montoya said, "I do not think it means what you think it means." Galchenyuk was magnificent at centre before, he was magnificent tonight, and he's more than likely to be magnificent in the future.
2. The Habs can't have nice things.
Just when Galchenyuk is finally moved to centre, and is on a line with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher, the hockey gods strike again and take out Gallagher after barely five minutes together. The Habs would announce that he was done for the night with a lower body injury, likely sustained in an awkward fall.
There were also frightening moments when Markov went down, victim to a Byfuglien slap shot to the back of the leg, and when Galchenyuk hobbled off the ice in obvious distress, but both would return, seemingly no worse for the wear.
3. The pace was much improved.
The teams skated hard, and made a much more entertaining game of it than the recent bout with the Kings. The Habs also looked a lot better--or maybe their competition was just a lot worse. Either way, except for the loss, this game, like the one against the Ducks, was worth watching, and at this point in the season, that seems to be the best we can hope for.
4. Mike Johnson was spot on all night long.
Right from the get-go, Johnson talked about Alex Galchenyuk's superior numbers at centre, laying out the stats and pointing out how ill-founded Therrien's mistrust of him at centre is. With so much of public perception shaped by the opinions of the broadcasters, having someone on SN using hard facts to set the record straight was huge.
Galchenyuk is ready to play centre. He's been ready to play centre, and people are actually acknowledging it now.
5. Morgan Ellis brought his incredible defensive stick work to the NHL.
When I saw him play in Toronto a few months back, I had to pick my jaw off the Colosseum floor over the hand-eye coordination Ellis displayed, especially in his ability to get his stick blade in front of a flying puck, and knock it out of harm's way. He stood out in a big way then, and he had at least one stand out play like that again tonight--impressive in his barely six-and-a-half minutes of play. I look forward to seeing him much more in upcoming games.
6. The new guys are a mixed bag.
Most of the call ups look great. Andrighetto played 18:27 tonight, and while not quite Brendan Gallagher, he fit in just fine on the first line. Hopefully that's the last time he's scratched in favour of a worse player. Pateryn played a hefty 21:16, and de la Rose had some moments, as he does. But then, of course, Morgan Elllis only had 6:21, which is ridiculous, quite frankly.
I remain mostly unimpressed by Danault and Matteau, however. They weren't bad, but they weren't exactly good either, and the bottom six was..shaky at best throughout the game. Speaking of call ups, what did Lucas Lessio do to be scratched yet again?
7. Emelin had another good game, and P.K. Subban's been having a rough go of it.
On the former, I have no words, but I swear it's true.
On the latter, all the narratives around Subban are endlessly frustrating, and this latest error isn't going to help any of them. It's ridiculous that he does 25 things brilliantly on any given night, but it's the one bad thing that stands out and everyone remembers.
8. This whole being a Habs fan thing is rough.
I don't know about anyone else, but I've reached the level of disheartenment where every time a game starts, Dante's famous "Abandon hope all ye who enter here" quote rings i my head, and then the Habs play well, or hang on, or someone scores, and the door creaks open, only to slam rudely shut in my face again. No playoffs, probably no lottery spot...it hurts, guys. It hurts a lot.
9. More on Alex Galchenyuk
He played 20:01 tonight--the most he's ever played for Therrien, and he was noticeable in the best way the whole time He has seven of the Habs' last sixteen goals. And, until tonight, he was doing it with sad amounts of ice time.
I'm really hoping that between Plekanec's uncontested veteran status, Eller's fantastic play at centre the previous stretch of games, and Galchenyuk's dominant performances recently, that once Desharnais comes back into the lineup, all the progress that has been made towards using the correct three centres won't be undone for no good reason.
10. Who is this man, and what has he done to Michel Therrien?
Seems there's always a mistake that costs you the game..?#Habs Therrien: "I'm paying more attention to evaluation than results."— Chantal (@pucksnlife) March 6, 2016