1, Alex Galchenyuk
Will always be one of the brightest athletes on this team. While it was Brendan Gallagher who managed to fight for the puck and get it out in front, Galchenyuk saw it all the way and batted it in. Please never rip these two apart ever again. Add Max Pacioretty to the mix and our top line is so legit, it hurts (other teams' confidence).
Galchenyuk has more than proved he is the top-line centre we had been 'lacking.' There is absolutely no reason for him to be slotting in anywhere else come opening line-up next year.
This season, Galchenyuk was able to score 30 goals - two of which came from tonight's game. The kid has no quit.
2. Greg Pateryn vs. Tyler Johnson
There was quite the disagreement about this hit online.
While I am not saying that there was intent to injure by Pateryn on Johnson, with the speed he had heading towards the boards, the angle from which he checked Johnson, and the fact that Pateryn has like seven feet and a hundred pounds on Johnson, I just don't think it was a smart play.
Now look, the Tampa Bay Lightning aren't even in my top ten, but hey, they do have a playoff run coming up and they need a healthy roster. Did Pateryn deserve 5? Yes. Did he deserve the game? No.
Don't agree with what I'm saying? Imagine the uproar if it were a reverse situation.
3. No one has a better release than Pacioretty.
4. Paul Byron dropped the gloves. No, really.
Byron and Vladislav Namestrikov exchanged some pleasantries during the second period and, believe it or not, these two squared off. Considering I'm fairly certain that this was Byron's first-ever fight (NHL or otherwise) he fared relatively well.
5. The future is bright
Once again, the youngsters show that they are capable of playing at the NHL level. Pacioretty gets 30 goals on the season, Galchenyuk gets 30 goals on the season - it was a pretty special way to round off a tough year.
I want to change gears here. I know we typically take the time to give you ten takeaways from the game that we cover, but I want to finish this article off with a few takeaways from the season.
We know that injuries plagued the Canadiens this season, having lost 372 man-games to injury and many star players along the way. Clearly, the biggest blow this season was goaltender Carey Price. That being said, can we please take a moment to congratulate Mike Condon on one hell of a season? He was given the impossible task of replacing the best goaltender in the world in the toughest hockey market in the world and I, for one, think he handled it with dignity and grace.
With little to no offensive support and many issues on the blue line due to injury, Condon was one athlete on the team I knew would show up every night. Let's not forget that this is Condon's first season in the NHL, taking on the superstars of this season. He played 55 games, which is the most for a Habs rookie since Ken Dryden. I could not be more proud of him.
7. Lack of adjustment
Star goaltender down? No adjustments. Plenty of holes on the blue line? No adjustments. David Desharnais injured? Ok, I guess we can give the kids a chance.
I have often commented on Michel Therrien and his favouritism - how it affects the organization, player development, and so on. It became incredibly apparent this season, taking months for players like Galchenyuk, Pateryn, and Andrighetto to slot in where they should have been all-season long.
8. Trade Rumours
This is a staple in any NHL season, with any NHL team - but due to the season fans have endured, the mere thought of the Canadiens marketing someone like P.K. Subban has everyone in a frenzy. If you still think that the Canadiens would trade their top defenseman, please read this.
9. Healthy Price Isn't the Answer
It has been stated that GM Marc Bergevin wants to see what Therrien can do with a healthy Price.' There has been nothing but positive, supportive remarks from Bergevin surrounding Therrien and the rest of the coaching staff and if that doesn't give you an ulcer, nothing will.
This team has the talent in boatloads - what it needs is a coaching and development staff to take them to the next level. Therrien is not the one to do that.
10. Thank You
Time to get a little sentimental.
This was my first season with Habs Eyes on the Prize and this community welcomed me with open arms. It was a tough year for all of us and I know we expected so much more from this season. You are a passionate, opinionated, and intelligent group and I look forward to interacting with you throughout the off-season and into 2016-2017. Cheers.