There has been a legitimate argument this year that the top line for the Montreal Canadiens was not the one it was expected to be. The line of Phillip Danault, Brendan Gallagher, and Tomas Tatar had been a powerhouse for this team, but they just didn’t seem to have the juice that some of the other trios have exhibited on the year.
It got to the point where they even had to be split up for a time, as they just weren’t producing at their customary rate. When Dominic Ducharme took over the head coaching duties, he wasted little time in putting them back together, and the results have been about the best he could have hoped for.
Since being reunited under Ducharme, they’ve gotten progressively better with each passing game, and appear to be in scary good form at this point.
They were quite clearly three of the best players on the ice last night against the Ottawa Senators. Danault and Gallagher both tallied a goal and an assist apiece, while Tomas Tatar chipped in with two assists of his own. They did get a fortuitous bounce to permit their first goal on the night, but when you play as dominantly as they did, it’s not surprising to see bounces go their way.
Dominant would almost be putting it lightly. They controlled 66.67% of shot attempts, 77.78% of scoring chances, and 100% of high-danger chances while on the ice at five-on-five. Ottawa may have had last change, but it offered them zero comfort in dealing with a top line that didn’t seem to care who they were out there against.
And last night was just their latest conquest. In the last five Habs games, they’ve accounted for eight goals and 14 assists between them. They’ve found their stride, and hopefully this is a sign of them getting back to what we’ve come to expect of them over the last two seasons.
The unplanned break has given the Habs games in hand on the entire North Division, but they’re still chasing the Oilers, Jets, and Leafs ahead of them in the division. If they’re to make up ground and solidify themselves in a good playoff position, they need to go on a bit of a roll.
They appear to have started one here, and if they can keep getting performances like last night’s from their top line, it could soon find them right behind Toronto and in contention for the top spot in the North.