Gallagher helps Canadiens beat Senators, 4-1
MONTREAL (AP) Brendan Gallagher helped the Montreal Canadiens cap a great homestand with another win.
Gallagher scored the tiebreaking goal in the second period, Carey Price stopped 24 shots, and the Canadiens beat the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Saturday night.
Brandon Prust, Tomas Plekanec and Alex Galchenyuk also scored and Max Pacioretty had two assists for Montreal, which completed a 4-1-0 homestand after losing six of their previous seven (1-5-1).
''That was big for us,'' Gallagher said. ''When we started that home stretch things weren't going great for us, so it was good to be able to turn it around here, get some wins and get our confidence back.
''Now we go on the road and we know what style of hockey we have to play.''
The slump, and an injury to Lars Eller, prompted coach Michel Therrien to move 20-year-old Galchenyuk from left wing to center and surround him on the top line with Gallagher and Pacioretty.
The result was four goals and two assists for Galchenyuk, two goals and an assist for Gallagher and one goal and six assists for Pacioretty, who is normally a scorer but has been the line's top passer so far.
''That's what we're bugging him about,'' Gallagher said. ''I guess we've got to start giving him a few. He's making it pretty easy on me and Chucky (Galchenyuk).''
Pacioretty, the Canadiens leader in goals with 13 and points with 27, said there are no defined roles on the new unit.
''Anyone can get in on the forecheck, we can all be the guy in front of the net taking way the goalie's eyes,'' he said. ''It's really hard for the opposition right now to get a good read on our line, knowing that we all can fill any role. It's going well. We hope to keep expanding our game, but we like how we've started off together.''
Erik Condra scored for Ottawa and Robin Lehner stopped 25 shots. The Senators, coming off a 6-2 win at home over Anaheim on Friday night, dropped to 3-2-1 since Dave Cameron replaced Paul MacLean as head coach.
Gallagher got the go-ahead goal at 7:30 of the second as he finished off a 3-on-2 rush. The puck went from Pacioretty to Galchenyuk to Gallagher, who shot it into the open side of the net.
The Senators had chances to tie the game with two power plays early in the third, but weren't able to generate any good scoring chances.
''I thought we played well enough to win,'' Cameron said. ''(Alex) Chiasson misses a real good chance, and then we have two power plays and we generated absolutely nothing, not even momentum.
''I thought the compete level was really good and we worked hard in a good building against a good team. That gave us a chance, we just weren't able to pull it out.''
Plekanec swept a puck in off the far post from the edge of the crease on a power play with 3:10 remaining in the third, and Galchenyuk knocked in a pass from Alexei Emelin 44 seconds later to seal the win.
The Senators opened the scoring with a short-handed goal 2:50 into the game. Montreal's Sven Andrighetto fell at the Ottawa blue line, allowing Condra to skate in and send a harmless looking wrist shot that got through Price and dropped in the crease. Condra then poked it in for the goal.
The Canadiens got it back at 6:38 when Prust had a harmless looking shot of his own from the right circle and it got between Lehner and the post before falling just over the goal line.
NOTES: Pacioretty was in the Montreal lineup despite leaving Thursday's game against Anaheim and going to hospital with what looked like a serious injury. ... Eller returned after missing two weeks with an upper-body injury, while AHL call-up Andrighetto bumped Michael Bournival out of the lineup. ... Joey MacDonald backed up Price with Dustin Tokarski on a conditioning sting with Hamilton of the AHL. ... With Curtis Lazar loaned to the Canada's world junior team, Jean-Gabriel Pageau dressed for the Senators. ... Ottawa listed D Patrick Wiercioch as a scratch. Chris Neil and Marc Methot are injured. ... After the game, Montreal re-assigned G Joey MacDonald to Hamilton.