But consider this. In Galchenyuk’s first 45 games this season, his goal total was 10. In the 19 games as a left wing he has a team leading 9-goals. That kind of production is too difficult to ignore.
Forget about Corey Perry or Ryan Getzlaf, Galchenyuk was the best player on the Anaheim ice Wednesday night,. He scored both Canadiens goals, and Lars Eller missed a wide open net off a perfect feed from Galchenyuk in the overtime that could have won the game.
His statistical line says it all – 6 shots on goal of his eight attempts. He blocked two shots and recorded one takeaway in 17:19. In his last nine games, Galchenyuk has seven goals and in six of those games he was the Canadiens best forward.
There may be a time when the Canadiens try him again at centre, but don’t hold your breath.
By the way, Max Pacioretty logged an unproductive three minutes more than Galchenyuk in this game. The difference is, Pacioretty put in 2:50 killing penalties, which is increasingly becoming Pacioretty’s main value to the team. Galchenyuk isn’t asked to kill penalties.
Besides Galchenyuk, the story of this game was the kids. The Canadiens started seven players with less than 50 games experience including six rookies. The veterans who sick and tired of losing, seemed to be carried on the tide of their effort.
It’s easy to forget that Mike Condon is a rookie. After giving up six at San Jose Monday night this was a character bounce-back performance. The Ducks outshot the Canadiens 18-5 in the second period and had chances to put four or five on the board against Condon but came away with just one. Condon is still having his rookie ups and downs, but the ‘downs’ seem to be occuring less often as his experience has deepened through his first forty-four NHL appearances.
For someone who distrusts young players, Michel Therrien has given Michael McCarron an awful lot of responsibility and in very short order. He started the game centering Galchenyuk and Lars Eller. Included in his night, three hits, 1 shot and plus one. And more importantly in my mind, in this post Brandon Prust era, he had no hesitation in taking on Kevin Bieksa after his cheap shot on Lars Eller. We haven’t seen enough of that this season.
Centre Phillip Danault is still considered a rookie. He won seven of nine face-offs. In his three games he has won 18 of 30 which is 60%. The Canadiens wouldn’t have traded Weise and Fleischmann to Chicago without getting Danault in return. We’ve finding out why.
The rest of the kids – Morgan Ellis in his NHL debut, plus Sven Andrighetto, Stefan Matteau and Jacob de la Rose who all put in a hard day’s night. And there was nothing wrong with Greg Pateryn’s night alongside Mark Barberio on defense.
As the Canadiens are set up right now, with half of their regular defense out with injuries along with three regular forwards, it’s hard to imagine the team playing a better game than this; especially on the road against a team that will be going into the playoffs as one of the Stanley Cup favourites.
Now it’s on to Los Angeles Thursday night. Two games in twenty-four hours. Ben Scrivens will be in goal for that one.