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MTL@NYI: Milestone celebrations

Alex Galchenyuk feted his 400th NHL game with a four-point night which included a hat trick, while Noah Juulsen scored his first career goal

by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

BROOKLYN - Well, that's one way to celebrate your 400th game in the National Hockey League.

After enduring a 15-game goalless drought, Alex Galchenyuk helped the Canadiens to a 6-3 victory in the first leg of club's longest-ever road trip with a hat trick and an assist.

That said, the 24-year-old was always confident that a return to his offensive ways was but a matter of time.

"The last few months, I feel I've been playing my best hockey. The stats don't show it and that's what people focus on, but I can understand that, because honestly, I focus on it too," said Galchenyuk, who scored his 13th, 14th, and 15th goals of the season on Friday in Brooklyn. "But at the end of the day, I knew a game like this was going to come sooner or later, and I'm happy."

Video: MTL@NYI: Galchenyuk roofs one-timer for second goal

The three-goal effort was the second of Galchenyuk's career and his first since December 2014, and he affirmed that it tasted extra sweet after coming close oh, so many times since.

"The first hat trick will always be the first, but I did it in my second year," continued the Habs' No. 27. "I was expecting to get some more, but the year I scored 30 [goals], I think I had nine two-goal games, so it's good to finally get another one."

Video: MTL@NYI: Galchenyuk nets hatty in 400th NHL game

Claude Julien reunited Galchenyuk with his power play unit-mate, Jonathan Drouin, ahead of the game and you would be forgiven for confusing the head coach with a chemist based on the result.

"The three of them played well together," praised the Habs bench boss of a trio that also included Brendan Gallagher, who opened the scoring just 88 seconds after puck drop. "Even on the second goal, there was also quite the play from [Habs newcomer Mike] Reilly, so this line gave us some good offense tonight."

Asides from Galchenyuk's hat trick and 400th career game, there were some other exciting milestones reached in Brooklyn on Friday.

When Paul Byron put the Canadiens ahead 4-3 at 8:10 of the third, he scored what would end up being his first game-winner of the season.

With apologies to Byron, however, an even bigger milestone was reached by the young man who potted the Habs' insurance marker just 1:43 later. That man was Noah Juulsen, of course, and the milestone achieved was the first goal of his NHL career - in just his fifth NHL game.

"I think Lehky [Artturi Lehkonen] did all the work, pretty much," described Juulsen of the memorable marker. "He took it, he came up top and just passed it to me, and I just shot it. Luckily, it went in.

"I was just too in the game," Juulsen added of his rather low-key acknowledgement of the achievement. "The guys were all telling me I should've cellied a little harder, but I didn't even know it went in at first."

Video: MTL@NYI: Juulsen picks the corner for first NHL goal

Juulsen should be given a bit of slack for being somewhat non-reactive. He was, after all, focused on the challenge of playing with a variety of defense partners after Victor Mete left the game hurt [Max Pacioretty would also leave and not return]. It was a challenge reflected in his 21:54 of ice time, which he handled commendably, registering a pair of shots, three hits, and a blocked shot on the night.

"Up to now, our young players are not disappointing at all; On the contrary; it's encouraging to see the way they're handling themselves. There are some nights when they're playing against players who are rather important on the other side and they seem to manage that well," Julien said in commending both Juulsen and Reilly, who assisted on Galchenyuk's second goal of the night with a precision cross-ice pass. "It's also encouraging because we're seeing some nice mobility from the backend which helps us get out of our zone in different situations. It helps a lot, the way hockey is going nowadays, we're looking for players who are able to move the puck, and these young players are able to do so."

Another young player who offered up a strong performance against the Islanders is rookie netminder Charlie Lindgren, who last played in Monday's 1-0 shootout loss against Philadelphia. Lindgren made 32 saves against New York and helped the Habs earn points in a sixth consecutive game with the win.

Video: MTL@NYI: Lindgren flashes the leather on Pelech

"I thought it was really good. That's an Islander team that's making a push for the playoffs," outlined Lindgren, who has a 4-4-2 record, .931 save percentage and 2.22 goals-against average in 10 games this season. "We had to be on our toes tonight, and I thought we did a good job.

"We wanted to establish ourselves on the road. We really wanted to get this road win tonight. That definitely gave us a little extra boost," he concluded. "It's a good start to the road trip; we have a six-game road trip, and to start with a win is big."

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