MONTREAL - The Canadiens weren't about to let the fatigue of playing back-to-back games keep them from securing their sixth straight win.
On Thursday night, Michel Therrien's troops rallied from a 1-0 deficit entering the final frame, scoring three straight goals to post a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre.
Alex Galchenyuk, Max Pacioretty and Torrey Mitchell lit the lamp as the Canadiens upped their record to 7-0-1 on the year to remain the only club that has yet to drop a contest in regulation time.
By besting the Lightning for a fifth consecutive time, the Canadiens also became the first team in NHL history to win at least seven of their first eight games in three straight seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"We keep on going. We never give up. It might sound cliché, but that's it. We know we can win games, whether we have the lead or not. We have a lot of character players, leaders, and guys with talent on this team. We know that sooner or later, the puck is going to go in," shared Galchenyuk, who notched the game-tying goal on the power play at the 6:12 mark of the third period on a tape-to-tape cross-ice pass from Andrei Markov. "We knew it was going to be tough. We have to play a simple game and put everything on net. It was a big character win for us, especially at home, too."
Video: TBL@MTL: Galchenyuk puts home Markov's feed for PPG
As has been the case all month long, the key to the Canadiens' success continued to be the consistent effort of players up and down the lineup. This time, it was up to every single one of them to dig deep in order to fight back from behind against a Lightning squad with plenty of firepower up front and a solid goaltender of their own in Ben Bishop - and they ultimately met the challenge head on with another all-important offensive outburst when they needed it most.
"We've played a lot of hockey, but we haven't really relied on too many individuals to take over. So, I think when we have everyone rolling like this and we have everyone in the game and making a difference, it makes it easier to play back to back and a lot of games at once. It's been great," explained Pacioretty, who registered the game-winner just 4:11 after Galchenyuk got the Bell Centre faithful on their feet with the equalizer. "We've been playing by committee. Everyone's been rolling and I think it made it a lot easier to play back to back because of that."
Video: MTL@TBL: Pacioretty beats Bishop to put Habs on top
Goaltender Carey Price was certainly in agreement there. The All-World netminder, who improved to 4-0 on the season with a 30-save performance between the pipes, was quick to praise the work his squad did in front of him against a rather formidable lineup.
"Whenever we can get four lines rolling, get everybody involved in the game, everybody's got energy, especially on back-to-back games like that. It's a real big difference-maker. Look down the bench and you can throw anybody over the boards. It's just huge for us," mentioned Price. "It was all about the structure that we played. I thought we did a pretty good job of shutting down their top couple of lines. We played pretty well."
Video: Mitchell on the character of the group
Thursday night's win is just another step in the right direction for a Canadiens team that sits atop the NHL standings with 15 out of a possible 16 points in the bank thus far this year. Up next is a date with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday in Montreal, which will undoubtedly bring out the best in Therrien's contingent once again as they look to stay the course and keep on winning.
"We're proud of the effort and we're happy we got the win and kept rolling," concluded Galchenyuk. "We have a really tough schedule. We have only one day and then another game, so we've got to enjoy this one and focus on the next one."