Brendan Gallagher isn’t one to just shrug his shoulders.
The Canadiens fired 37 shots on Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom but walked away with their first regulation loss of the season. In 37:39 of five-on-five play, the Canadiens controlled 60% of shot attempts, 65% of scoring chances, and had 17 high danger scoring chances (compared to four for Calgary).
Gallagher says that there is room for improvement on how the team can finish those chances.
“It’s a good goalie on the other side but there’s always ways to score on those guys. It doesn’t matter who’s in there you have to find a way to bear down,” Gallagher said. “We didn’t capitalize.”
After seven games where the Canadiens scored more goals than they probably should have had, they were bound for a game that fell the other way. That doesn’t mean that the team wasn’t looking for ways to make life harder for opposing goaltenders going forward.
“He made some good saves but it’s still on us as a forward group,” he said. “There are a few times our defencemen took a shot and we gave him too clean of a look. We were getting pushed out a little bit too much. Something we could work on and areas to improve.”
It’s a refreshing change for the Canadiens. After a few years where they failed to finish on their chances, it could be easy for players — especially one who has been there for those years like Gallagher — to fall back into that mindset.
But, like in so many other aspects, this Canadiens team expects more from themselves.
“We put expectations on ourselves to put the puck in and we just didn’t do it,” Gallagher said.
It was a slow start for the Canadiens for the second straight game against the Flames, but unlike Thursday night they improved at five-on-five and weren’t able to capitalize on their five power plays.
“I thought it was a strong competitive game. The first 10 minutes they controlled the play,” Gallagher said. “After that, I liked our game, I liked our energy. We had a ton of chances in front of the net, we have to find a way to outwork their goaltender. He made some good saves but I think we all had some chances we would like back.”
The Canadiens will now have Sunday off as they wait for the Vancouver Canucks to meet them at the Bell Centre for back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday.