BOSTON – With a win in Boston and a huge team effort, the Habs take sole custody of first place in the Eastern Conference.
There’s nothing easy about walking into TD Garden and snatching two points away from one of the toughest teams in the league. While the Canadiens may not have played a picture-perfect game on Sunday night, their team effort was at its finest, and was the reason they came out on top in all the right ways.
“It was an interesting game to play in, for sure,” said Brendan Gallagher, who logged one of his best performances of the season and like linemates Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais, picked up two points in Sunday night’s win over the Bs. “To come into this kind of environment where everyone hates us and to be able to walk away with two points is a great way to kick off this road trip.”
Playing a fearless and physical brand of hockey since the first game of his NHL career has helped 5-foot-9, 178 pound Gallagher post a team-high plus-12 differential to date, leading all NHL rookies in that category.
“Just like Davey [David Desharnais], I love to play in this type of game. We were talking about it before the game started. This is one of the most physical teams in the league and you have to get yourself ready for a game against them,” continued Gallagher, who spent his night trying to outwork Zdeno Chara and the rest of the Bruins. “I’ve played against some pretty big guys – maybe not as big as him – but when you go into the corner with that guy, you know you’re going to get hit. You just try to absorb it, turn your body and keep control of the puck. We tried to make him work as hard as we could, and I think we had done a pretty good job by the third period.”
Not everything that matters in a game comes down to shots and points, as Brandon Prust proved yet again Sunday night, continuing to be every bit the team player he was billed as when Habs GM Marc Bergevin signed him in the offseason.
“What Brandon Prust does for his team, for his teammates, for myself, is an incredible demonstration of leadership. I think we responded the right way in the third period and you have to give a lot of credit to a guy like Prust,” praised Michel Therrien, of the winger’s willingness to get his team fired up with a second period bout against one of the NHL’s most feared heavyweights, Milan Lucic. “What he did takes a lot of courage and I’m very happy with how the guys responded to it. Not everyone can do what he does. He knows when to hold back and he knows when it’s time to wake his team up. Tonight is a big win for everyone in that room.”
After giving Prust an ovation when he finally exited the box the rest of the Habs got to work, producing two unanswered, third period goals to hand the Bruins only their second regulation loss of the season at home. Peter Budaj offered up another solid performance in goal, turning aside 31 of 34 shots, including 10 in the final frame.
“We’ve given up some leads this season and it’s usually from sitting back and being too conservative. That’s something we talked a lot about,” explained Prust, following a nail-biting end to the tightly contested matchup. “We wanted to keep on them and keep pressuring them and playing in their zone as much as we could and it worked well tonight.
“There are a lot of reasons for our success. The way we’re coming together and feeding off each other lets us play hard,” added Prust, who logged three hits over his 14:39 of ice time in addition to dropping the gloves for a seventh time this season. “We have a no quit attitude. When we were down we talked each other back up and made sure to keep each other focused. That’s how we got back in the game.”
With points in 11 straight games and a great start to a long road trip under their belt, the Canadiens will look to keep rolling against the Islanders on Tuesday night. Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.ALSO SEE:
Game Highlights: Canadiens-Bruins