MONTREAL - With three straight overtime victories under their belt, it's safe to say that the Canadiens have their collective swagger back - and they're hungry to keep things rolling in the right direction.
Alex Galchenyuk played the role of overtime hero for a second straight game on Tuesday, settling the score with 67 seconds remaining in the extra frame to lift the Canadiens to a dramatic 1-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Bell Centre.
Seeing his troops come up clutch again was a sure-fire indicator to head coach Claude Julien that his troops are coming around for real after struggling to establish momentum of any kind in the weeks leading up to the current win streak, which has also seen them come out on top in four of their last five games.
Video: Galchenyuk's OT goal lifts Habs to 1-0 victory
"It seems like we've got our smile and our confidence back. We're having more fun than when I first arrived. We felt like we didn't have confidence then. But, things are starting to take a turn for the better and we're hoping to keep things going," said Julien, who has guided the Canadiens to 4-2-0 record since taking over behind the bench, with every single one of those wins coming after regulation time had expired.
"We're confident and we believe in ourselves…We're learning to play in tight games and that's what it will take to be successful going forward," added Julien, whose squad will enjoy some well-deserved rest on Wednesday ahead of Thursday night's matchup against the Nashville Predators.
Like Julien, Galchenyuk is a firm believer that the Canadiens are in the midst of an all-important learning process that is steadily yielding positive results.
"We talked about getting on a roll. The first thing was winning back-to-back and then the next step was winning at home," said Galchenyuk, whose 15th goal of the year - a power play blast - found its way past netminder Sergei Bobrovsky through a crowd in front of the Blue Jackets' net. "Now, we've got one day off and we get right back at it on home ice. We don't want to lose too many and we didn't get a lot of wins recently on home ice. We've got to find a way to keep winning here in Montreal."
Video: Alex Galchenyuk on the Canadiens' OT success
With assists on Galchenyuk's game-winning tally, both captain Max Pacioretty and assistant captain Shea Weber reached personal milestones. While Pacioretty attained the 400-point plateau for his career, Weber picked up his 300th helper in the NHL ranks. Carey Price, meanwhile, notched his third shutout of the season with a 26-save performance between the pipes.
That being said, Tuesday night's win was somewhat bittersweet for many players in the Canadiens' fold after learning that veteran David Desharnais had been dealt to the Edmonton Oilers with the trade deadline looming.
Pacioretty, in particular, was eager to share his thoughts on his now former teammate, who played 435 games for the CH over the last seven-plus seasons.
"I know he's a great player and I know that given an opportunity, he's going to be able to show what he's got. I've always believed in Davey. He's always proved people wrong. Maybe a fresh start is what he needed, so as a friend I'm happy for him that he can get an opportunity, but I'm also going to miss him," said Pacioretty, before expanding upon Desharnais' overall contribution to his own personal success within the organization.
"Coming up through the minors [in Hamilton] together, I didn't score any goals my first two years. Then, I had like 17 goals in 25 games when I played with Davey. I learned how to score goals by playing with a great playmaker, probably the best AHL player I can remember. He just absolutely dominated that league and kind of showed me how to get open and how to score. We were kind of able to continue that through the NHL and play a lot together for parts of five or six years," added the five-time 30-goal scorer.
Video: Pacioretty on the win over Columbus
As for newcomer Jordie Benn, he couldn't have asked for a better way to begin his tenure in Montreal after coming over from the Dallas Stars on Monday, chipping in with five blocked shots and three hits while logging 15:09 of ice time in a winning effort. He quickly learned a few things about his new team, particularly in OT.
"This team is really resilient. It doesn't matter what's going on out there on the ice. We're still pushing," said Benn, who patrolled the blue line alongside Nathan Beaulieu. "Then, we've got calm, cool and collected Pricey back there. It's just a calming feeling for us D-men. It's crazy."