MONTREAL - Here are a few key storylines from the Canadiens' 5-4 win over the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night.
Mete, Byron boot the monkeys from off their backs
Of the five goals the Canadiens scored against the top team in the League, two of them came from a player who doesn't light the lamp very often, and one came from someone who is used to scoring quite a bit more often than he has this season.
Of course, that would be referring to Victor Mete - who had scored his first NHL goal in his 127th game - and Paul Byron, who entered his 15th game of the season still looking for his first of the season.
Video: BOS@MTL: Byron pots goal to snap 17-game drought
In Byron's case, head coach Claude Julien was happy with his winger's effort but reminded reporters that the 30-year-old brings much more to the table than just scoring.
"We know what Paul can do. He's had a big of a slow start this season, but we all know his assets and what he brings," said Julien of the two-time 20-goal scorer. "Tonight was a big game, and he showed up. He's one of the players we count on a lot to give speed, but he's good at both ends of the ice."
If Byron was relieved to get the monkey off his back, he was just as excited that Mete shed his even further away by tripling his career output in goals.
"He's playing very, very well. I wasn't worried about him," Byron said of Mete, who skated for 20:53 and registered five shots on goal and three blocked shots. "The first one is always the toughest, but I think he's got it now."
Video: BOS@MTL: Mete beats Rask with quick wrist shot
Mete may have been the subject of some gentle ribbing at the hands of his teammates, but knows that deep down, it came from a place of love and support.
"It's huge. Everyone always just tells me to stay hot, even though I only scored one goal," he recounted with a laugh. "They always chirp me, but motivate me at the same time. It's a good feeling."
Video: BOS@MTL: Mete restores lead with sizzling wrister
A key turning point in the game happened 5:23 into the third period with the teams tied at 4-4. The Bruins thought they'd scored when Charlie Coyle slipped it by Carey Price in the slot, but the Canadiens decided to use their coach's challenge to contest a very tight possible offside call on the zone entry.
Julien, who was coaching the 1,200th NHL game of his career, explained that the gamble was worth the risk given how the Bruins kept clawing their way back into the fight.
"The momentum was in Boston's favor at that moment. If we don't win the decision, with their go-ahead goal and power play, the game could've gone the other way," shared the veteran bench boss. "We were right for winning it and we were able to stop Boston's momentum at that moment and we took a bit better control."
Rookie Ryan Poehling, who was playing his first game back with the Canadiens after starting the season with the Laval Rocket, agreed that the call played a big part in which way the tide would turn in the game.
"It was so weird, too, because Lehky [Artturi Lehkonen] gave me one in the slot almost, and I just went to the opposite side. It could've been a 5-4 game us, and then they went down and scored," outlined Poehling. "When you're playing a team like this, anything can happen so quickly. We got pretty lucky on that one."
Video: Ryan Poehling on his first game back with the Habs
Despite surrendering a two-goal lead in the second period, the Canadiens managed to hold the NHL's hottest line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand to two points, which played a big part in halting Boston's six-game winning streak and handed the Bruins their first regulation loss since October 10.
"The most important thing is it was a huge win for our team tonight," stated Byron. "It was a very, very good effort by everyone."
Julien gave a lot of the credit to his top line of Tomas Tatar, Phillip Danault, and Brendan Gallagher of keeping the NHL's top two point-getters at bay, but made sure to spread his praise around.
"They were good. The Danault line had a goal tonight, on the Pastrnak penalty. But there was also [Ben] Chiarot and [Shea] Weber, who were on the ice for almost all of the Bergeron line's shifts. We had a group of five players who we were hoping to see spend as much time as possible on the ice against that line. It's probably the best line in the League. They have so much chemistry, they know each other so well, they find each other anywhere on the ice. It was quite the challenge our players had tonight, and they responded well."
The Canadiens practice at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday before departing for Philadelphia.