1. Alex Galchenyuk on wing
Well, Galchenyuk scored, so there’s that! And no, that doesn’t mean he should automatically always be a winger from now on. It’s one game, and let’s not forget he played centre all through December when he went on an absolute tear. Plus, his goal and several of his chances came from centre ice. However, as a line, Galchenyuk, Andrew Shaw, and Artturi Lehkonen seems to be well suited to each other, regardless of who was playing where.
2. Speaking of Shaw...
He continues to play really well, and has managed to stay out of trouble, which is really great news for the Habs. Last night especially he did a terrific job of retrieving pucks for his linemates and getting in front of Eddie Lack.
3. Nathan Beaulieu scratched again
Even in his worst games, Beaulieu is usually a better defenseman than Alexei Emelin, and between bad luck, bad penalties, or downright bad play, Emelin’s had a rough time lately. If there are defencemen to be rotated out, why must it be Beaulieu, especially after a really excellent game? (Though Emelin did have that one offensive rush ... and then a really good recovery after he subsequenly turned the puck over.)
4. Eddie Lack is a treasure
No analysis here. Just needed to state a fact. Though I do wish he hadn’t played quite so well...
5. Jordie Benn is the gift that keeps on giving
He lays big hits (and good, puck-separating hits at that), is pretty much as steady as they come, and I’m so glad Sportsnet is going all in on the Gimli comparison.
6. Jeff Petry is due, and speaking of due...
Petry had two good chances last night, and looked about as dangerous as he has in a long while. Speaking of due, someone buy Gallagher some more goals. This is getting ridiculous. He goes to the right spots, and he’s back to being his pesky self.
7. It was nice to see good play from all of the lines*
All four lines moved the puck, got chances, and generally looked quite good, at least in the first two periods. Radulov looked far more dynamic than he has in some time, while Danault looked similarly energized. Gallagher was noticeable going to the net all night, and Michael McCarron threw some nice hits, and got some nice shots, which is infinitely preferable to him throwing punches. Or to having Steve Ott in the lineup.
8. The Road Runner
Boy is it always fun to watch Paul Byron pass guys like they’re standing still. From waiver claim to dangerous 20-goal-scorer, his nomination for the Masterton is well deserved.
9. Why do the Habs keep getting themselves into this situation?
The Habs played pretty well, but once again found themselves trailing after two. And this time, their third period did not inspire a lot of confidence. Between the defensive breakdowns, turnovers, and inability to beat Lack, it was not a good look. They looked better a bit later on in the period, but it was far, far too late by then.
10. Playoff standings
After last night, the Habs find themselves just one point ahead of Ottawa, who has one game in hand; the same situation heading into last weekend’s back-to-back. While it obviously would be nice to go roaring into the playoffs first in the division, as it has already been pointed out by others, it might be nice to avoid a first-round slugfest with a Metropolitan team.