NEWARK – The Canadiens didn’t get the start they wanted against the Devils, but the finish was exactly how they drew it up.
Spotting their hosts a two-goal lead through the first half of Friday’s game, the Habs headed into the second intermission down 2-1 on road ice, getting outhit and outshot by their hosts. In the next 25 minutes, they nearly tripled the Devils in the shot column before rallying back to pick up their first shootout win of the season.
“It was huge, but at the end of the day in the locker room, we believe in ourselves. There was never any doubt that we could come back and win the game,” confirmed Alex Galchenyuk, who scored the tying goal midway through the third before scoring the first goal of the shootout. “We’ve done it so many times before. We were calm and we were confident in ourselves. We knew we just needed one goal – one good shift – to get us going.”
That’s something Galchenyuk has been making a habit of recently, having now picked up three goals and five points in his last four games. Given his recent surge, it was no surprise to see Michel Therrien turn to the 21-year-old sniper when he needed an offensive catalyst to help spark his team’s comeback.
“We made some changes in the third and put Galchenyuk with [Tomas] Plekanec and [Max] Pacioretty. We were pushing to try to at least get a point and then get into overtime. Galchenyuk’s line has been playing really well, but I really wanted to get that point,” explained Therrien of his decision to move Galchenyuk to right wing on the top line for the third period. “We were all-in with that. The last six or seven games, I’ve found Galchenyuk has been really dynamic.”
Before notching the equalizer off a great no-look pass from Pacioretty, Galchenyuk had already chipped in with some great pressure that helped lead to Sven Andighetto’s opening marker – the rookie forward’s second goal in three games since being called up from St. John’s. Growing more confident with each passing game, Galchenyuk has hit his offensive stride and isn’t planning on slowing down any time soon.
“The last couple of games, I’ve paid more attention to my offensive game and I’m trying to go out there and just play my game,” he explained. “Relax, maybe, and have fun and just go out there and make plays. It’s definitely paid off for me.”
It’s also been paying off for the Canadiens, who now boast a 3-3-0 record when trailing after two periods, proving that there’s more than one way to pick up two points.
“We have to be better at the start, but we also know we’re not going to jump out to leads every game,’ said rookie netminder Mike Condon, who enjoyed the first shootout win of his career on Friday night. “We had the confidence in the third that we could score, and it was just a matter of bearing down and getting the job done. We did that tonight.”
With the Devils making their way to Montreal for the tail-end of the home-and-away series, the league-leading Canadiens plan on starting Saturday’s game the way they ended on Friday night.
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com. SEE ALSO
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