For years now, fans have been claiming that the Montreal Canadiens are Carey Price. Without him, the Habs would be a very ordinary team. While there is definitely some truth to the theory, the same cannot be said (at least not at the same level as prior years) this season.
Yes, the Canadiens went through a rough stretch in the month of December but the goalie tandem of Mike Condon and Dustin Tokarski had a saves percentage of well below the respectability mark of .900-.915 and that, ultimately, resulted in some loss which otherwise might not have been.
During the Winter Classic, the Canadiens welcomed back a big part of their team in Brendan Gallagher. It feel ironic to say that considering that the diminutive forwards is listed at 5-foot 9-inches, but it soon became obvious how much the team missed him while he was healing two broken fingers for blocking a shot.
You see, Gallagher is not only a good offensive player, but he has taken over from former Detroit Red Wings Tomas Holmstrom as the best player in the entire NHL to cause havoc in front of the opposition’s net. Further, Gallagher not only gets into goaltenders’ way, but he plays in their mind when he’s on the ice.
During his absence, the Canadiens’ offense went missing and it’s no coincidence that they spotted five goals against Tukka Rask, one of the better goalies in the league, with Gallagher in the line-up.
You think Price is valuable. He definitely is. But it would be a mistake to count out Gallagher as one of the team’s most valued player.
Down 5-1 and with nothing to win, Bruins’ head coach Claude Julien showed very little class by sending his goon line for the last shift of the game, resulting in some very unnecessary pushing and shoving after the last whistle.
What better way to sell the game than to have a hand shake between the two teams after the game in front of 70,000 fans and a big TV audience? At least, that’s what the league thought… until the Bruins refused to do it, that is.
But I guess, as long as Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is in bed with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, Boston will always be above the rules.