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When your Leaders Step up!

March 23, 2019, 11:07 PM ET [1 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
When the puck dropped tonight at the Bell Centre, the Canadiens looked like they were nervous and not ready for the game. While Montreal got more shots on net in the first than the Sabres did, the Buffalo outfit had the puck more often than not and they scored the only goal of the first period just past the halfway point. As the period came to a close, Habs fans were slightly worried and were hoping that Claude Julien might find a way to get his team to come out strong in the second.

In his post game comments, Claude Julien said that he didn't like Domi's first period and that he had told him. Seems like the coach lit up a fire under him because he was everywhere from the start of the second. Smart passes, great skating, I'd even say that at one stage, he was doing more spins than a figure skater and good grief it was working for him! I particularly enjoyed how he was instrumental in this Lehkonen Bobby Orr like goal:

About four minutes later, Brendan Gallagher scored his 32nd goal this season which is a career high for him. For all the crap we regularly hear about Trevor Timmins and his picks, he hit the bullseye when he picked Gallagher at the 147th rank in the 5th round. This player who had been deemed too small time and time again is a lot more than just grinder he has got guts, grit and determination for sure but he's also got talent and a lot of it. You do not get 2 consecutive 30 goal season without talent. He can do it all, get into space when no one's looking and take a well placed shot or get his hands dirty in front of the net and risk his life deflecting Weber rockets:

5 minutes after Gallagher gave the Habs the lead, Domi orchestrated another beautiful play which lead to Andrew Shaw's goal giving him 40 points on the season. Which is his best total in a season so far in the NHL. He had gathered 39 points in Chicago in 80 games back in 2013-2014...this time though, he's reached 40 points in just 56 games. I really can't help but wonder how many he would have gotten had he stayed healthy.

The next two goals were scored by Buffalo who tied things up thanks to Alexander Nylander and Marco Scandela (what? A Montreal native who scores in Montreal? That never happens...). A win that almost seemed like a sure thing less than 2 minutes before seemed to be slipping away from the Habs grasp... Until Paul Byron scored with less than 2 minutes to go in the 2nd period to make it 4-3 Canadiens. After a 6 goal period, it was easy to know that an intense 3rd was coming.

The Montrealers who had made it to the Bell Centre really were treated to a very entertaining affair with another 4 goals being scored in the 3rd frame. Brendan Gallagher got goal number 33 to make it 5-3 before Jack Eichel brought the Sabres back to within 1 a little over 5 minutes later seconds after Andrew Shaw's ill advised 4 minute penalty was over. Thankfully for the Habs, the Sabres got a penalty and for once, the power play was successful when Domi scored the Tricolore's 6th goal. Tomas "Tuna" Tatar then completed the scoresheet with his 23rd of the year in what was his 500th match in the NHL.

Quick notes:
-After a great game for Drouin on Thursday night, he was guilty of a costly turnover which lead to the Sabres tying up the game at 3-3...he was once more the forward with the least time on ice tonight;

-Claude Julien refused to give a definitive answer to the "Will Price be in net tomorrow" question as he had not discussed it yet but did end up saying that it was more than likely;

-Shaw's 4 minute penalty could have been a disaster but I don't think we can hold that against him. Lately, he's been a huge leader for this team alongside Domi and Gallagher. The 3 have a few things in common they are intense and are at their best when the play on the edge.

-Shaw underwent the concussion protocol tonight but was thankfully cleared.

Columbus had a night off tonight but the Hurricanes were playing and triumphed over the Minnesota wild to stay in the first wild card spot. What does that mean? Well, that tomorrow's dual with the Canes is even more important:

The puck will drop at 19:00 tomorrow and you really do not want to miss that! It promises to be a hotly contested match!
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