|BRENDAN GALLAGHER, Canadiens|
|DROPPING WEIGHT WITH EVERY STRIDE|
The Canadiens and Predators were involved in a taut, 1-0 game well into the third period when a goal finally was uncloaked for Montreal. And the man who got it had been hidden from the score sheet all but once in the past 24 games.
And this was not some penalty-killing specialist or fourth-line checker. This was one of the Canadiens most reliable offensive players, Brendan Gallagher.
If ever there seemed a player on a mission to remove the heavy weight of unfulfilled expectations off his back, it was Gallagher the moment he gained possession of the puck following a faceoff deep in the Montreal end.
From the moment he collected the puck Gallagher was determined to make Nashville take it a way from him. And it’s not like the Predators didn’t try.
First Gallagher flipped the puck to the side boards in the neutral zone as two Nashville defenders closed on him, with an appointment to meet up with it later. He squeezed under the two Predators and kept the appointment, rejoining the puck outside the right circle in the Nashville end.
Gallagher retained control and a third Predator tried to wipe him out as Gallagher headed to the corner with the puck. Is there some plan here Brendan?
A couple of Canadiens finally floated in to give Gallagher some support and a moment to catch his breath. And then he was ready to start up again.
Alex Galchenyuk fed Gallagher the puck right where he’d left off — in the far right corner. Gallagher, now unshackled, strode purposefully behind the Nashville net, turned the corner of the cage and with a big sweep of his stick attempted a wraparound. Predators goalie Pekka Rinne was wise to what Gallagher was up to, however, and had his stick on the ice.
But Gallagher — perhaps a bit exhausted by this time — never got to swing the puck on the net. Instead it slid into the door step where all those inviting Predator skate blades awaited. In fact he had six to choose from.
Those odds worked to his advantage and the Canadiens had finally gotten on the board. But the scoring drought was nothing compared to Gallagher’s, whose exceptionally purposeful effort drew Montreal even in the game and ended his goal-less drought at 10 games.
|3/2/2017 vs. Nashville.
Highlight available at NHL.com.