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Ten Takeaways from the Canadiens vs Stars game: Galchenyuk is the future

The Habs were the weaker team on paper but Alex Galchenyuk once again stepped up for his team against the best of the West.

Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

1. Alex Galchenyuk is where he belongs

On the top line centering the team's best wingers. Michel Therrien took the scenic route to get him there, but Galchenyuk is finally where he will play his most effective hockey.

Therrien thinks it's a confidence thing, and that Galchenyuk had to be built up to where he is now. There is proof to support that theory; before his move back to the middle, Galchenyuk had been playing inspired hockey. He had scored in several consecutive games, and his possession play was noticeable.

When he moved to the middle, things seemed to click instantly. Yes it was only one game, but sometimes you can just tell when things work. Galchenyuk belongs at centre. It is where he will play his best hockey. It is where his linemates will play their best hockey. It is where he will be able to make the team better as a whole.

2. Serge Savard weighed in

I know I'm harping on the Galchenyuk at centre thing a lot, but outside of Carey Price's return and Michel Therrien's future, it is the biggest ticket in town. Serge Savard appeared on 91.9 Sport, a French radio station, and weighed in on some Habs topics. Among them was his firm belief that Galchenyuk should be playing centre.

This is a big deal, because Savard was instrumental in bringing in Marc Bergevin, as well as his foxhole buddy Therrien. If Savard thinks that things aren't being run properly and went on record saying so, then there could be something up.

3. Injuries! Injuries!

I never really realized how hurt the Habs were until this stat blew my mind.

We're looking a lot of new blood. Up front: Sven AndrighettoMike BrownPaul Byron (Not on opening night but close to it), Phillip DanaultStefan MatteauMichael McCarron, Jacob de la Rose, Lucas Lessio. On defence Mark Barberio and Victor Bartley, and Ben Scrivens in goal.

Of these players, four were called up from the IceCaps, two were waiver claims, and five were acquired via trade. That's a lot of turnover. Winning teams don't normally have that kind of turnover. Successful teams win because of consistency. When you can't ice a consistent lineup it makes it hard for teams to string together a winning season.

No excuses though, right?

4. Iffy goaltending all-around

Scrivens' first and third goals allowed were weak. The gaffe on the tight angle shot, and the slow reaction to the wrap-around. I will give you the fact that Pateryn should have been on the post, but Scrivens was nowhere close. He looks uncomfortable (though that is his style).

After Kari Lehtonen's early theft on Matteau, he was mediocre. Three goals on 11 shots. He had no chance on two of them, but that Danault goal was pretty bad.

Goaltending. It's important.

5. Pateryn is learning

There was a play that I singled out several games ago. Pateryn had the puck under pressure behind his own net, and curled out to start the breakout. He panicked, and lost the puck. Last night he was faced with a similar situation, and made the right play. The difference between the failed exit and the successful one was Pateryn's body positioning.

On the turnover, he was awkward and unbalanced. Last night he was square, established a low center of gravity, and assessed the situation. In situations like those, you can't worry about the player behind you. If you play afraid, you will make the mistake. I'm sure Pateryn watched some video and learned. It was nice to see progress.

6. Alex Galchenyuk keeps on giving

Another multi-point game.

As the games trickle away he just keeps on impressing. Elliotte Friedman said yesterday that Galchenyuk's performance is a great sign for the Habs, or other teams. The notion is that his rise in play could lead to a trade. I for one would be devastated if they moved on from Galchenyuk, because you don't know what he is yet. You know what he could be, you know what you want him to be, but you haven't seen his ceiling.

Ideally, he becomes a number one elite centre for the Montreal Canadiens. He looks like he is well on his way to becoming that. He has played his best hockey alongside Max Pacioretty, and shows no signs of slowing down. That's a combo they could potentially win a cup with.

7. Shot totals aside, I thought the Habs were the better team

I'll say it before and I'll say it again: With this season all but done, all we want to see is passion and exciting hockey. We want them to care, and they do. With the youth in the lineup, a lot is on the line, and they want to prove themselves to their general manager. It's showing,  as they are playing fast and strong.

They're playing with a purpose which a welcome change from the listless emotionless hockey we got accustomed to seeing before the youth injection. The skill may not be there but the effort and desire is. They were also creative, in particular the top line. I can't remember the last time we were treated to imaginative hockey. It's not Therrien's game, but his troops don't seem to care.

8. Zone entries on the power play remain a challenge

They need to establish the decoy quicker as the puck carrier enters the neutral zone. Right now they have three skaters stationary on the line while a puck carrier tries to enter the zone, or pass it off while entering. If the defending players play close to the line, there is nowhere for the puck carrier to go, which forces a dump and a likely change of possession.

They need to make an extra pass in the neutral zone to open up the blue line a bit more, which will lead to more controlled zone entries.

9. The Canadiens are fantastic at 3 on 3

They know that it's all about possession, and they don't force plays. They wait for openings to happen based on the natural ebb and flow. Ironically, this very same strategy could benefit them greatly on the power play.

I really am a fan of their overtime play; it's something I've noticed all season long. They are calm, they work the puck and rely on their strength, which is speed. Galchenyuk did a great job to keep the puck after blowing up a stick with his shot and from there it was gravy. You knew what was going to happen and they played it to perfection.

Another huge night for Galchenyuk.

10. The fans cheered because they paid for something to cheer about

They took one of the league's best to the limit. Shot totals aside, I thought the Habs were the better team.

Again, what the fans want at this point is exciting hockey. Things like the tear that Galchenyuk is on give the fans something to look forward to. If they're not going to make the playoffs this year, which is very likely, what everyone wants to see is a sign that next year will be better.

If they can put together some more efforts like that of last night, it will go a long way to convincing fans that the future is bright.