MONTREAL - Paul Byron made his promotion to the Canadiens' top line count in a very, very big way on Tuesday night.
The 27-year-old Ottawa native - who was paired with Alex Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov - notched his second game-winning tally against the Boston Bruins early on this season, putting home a loose puck with just 62 seconds remaining in regulation time to lift the Canadiens to a 3-2 win at the Bell Centre.
With the victory, Michel Therrien's troops became just the second team in franchise history to win their first eight home games of the year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
"It's a lot of fun [playing with them]. They make the game fun. They're so smart. They get creative. They want to make plays. It's not just chip-and-chase hockey," explained Byron, who now boasts three goals and eight points in 13 games during the 2016-17 campaign. "When you're with them, you've just got to make the most of those opportunities and create some offensive chances."
Video: Paul Byron on his game-winning goal
And, that's exactly what Byron did. After picking up the secondary assist on Galchenyuk's fifth goal of the year that put the Canadiens up 2-1 just over five minutes into the middle frame, his relentless work all night long was rewarded with the sixth game-deciding tally of his career - four of which have come since he was claimed off waivers by Montreal in October 2015 from the Calgary Flames.
Coming up big in these Original Six matchups is particularly special for the former QMJHL standout given his upbringing in close proximity to his current hockey home.
"I grew up with the Habs-Bruins rivalry. My dad was a Bruins fan. My older brother was a Leafs fan. I watched a lot of Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada games. Coming to Montreal, I knew how big this rivalry was," shared Byron, who also boasts the game-winning marker in last season's Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Massachusetts on his resume. "Playing the Bruins, it's a special game. You've got to relish these opportunities. When you play a team like that, it kind of feels like a playoff game."
Galchenyuk, meanwhile, had plenty of good things to say about the way Byron went about his business in helping the Canadiens improve to 11-1-1 to sit atop the NHL standings with 23 points in the bank already.
"I think he played a great game. He used his speed well on the forecheck and backcheck. He also created a lot of plays, and I've got to give a lot of credit to him. Obviously, that's a big goal. It was huge," praised Galchenyuk, before expanding upon Byron's blazing speed further. "We all know that even if a guy has a step on him, the second he touches the puck, we all call it on the bench: "That's a breakaway, easy." It's nice. He's been using his speed to his advantage."
Video: Alex Galchenyuk on the success of his line
And, Byron is succeeding because of it, so much so that the Canadiens' No. 41 has steadily become a constant threat to the opposition if left unchecked. Even if his opponents think they might have him contained, though, they might be sorely mistaken and end up paying a serious price for it on the scoreboard as a result.
"[My speed is] definitely what I think got me to the NHL. Playing for Bob [Hartley] in Calgary, he always used me in all situations, too. And, coming to Montreal, Michel has given me a lot of opportunities to play up and down the lineup. Any chance I get to play with those guys, I try to make the most of it. I know I'm a complete player, so I can play anywhere in the lineup," concluded Byron, clearly confident in his abilities. "I'm a player who works hard, who skates, who tries to pick up pucks for them. I try to seize opportunities. It worked [against Boston]."