The Montreal Canadiens are once again missing on-ice energy from the injured Brendan Gallagher. Just like a year ago when the pesky forward missed 17 games with a hand injury, the Habs are lacking that little bit of extra energy with him out now.
Montreal Canadiens Missing Energy from Injured Brendan Gallagher
Since that game, the Canadiens have a modest 4-4-1 record, but lack the energy that he brings to the ice. Their four losses have been 4-1 losses to the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, a 7-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, a 1-0 loss against the Detroit Red Wings, and an 3-2 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres. The Canadiens seemed deflated in those games, to say the least.
There aren’t many players on the Canadiens that bring what Gallagher could bring. He puts everything on the line, night in and night out. The 24-year-old gets in the corners, drives the net, throws off his opponents, and even stands up for his team mates.
Energetic Players in Lineup
Andrew Shaw, who recently returned from injury himself, has a similar playing style to that of Gallagher. But he crosses the line at times and hurts the team with penalties. Shaw has 80 penalty minutes, while Gallagher has a mere 31.
Alexander Radulov also brings a lot of energy and charisma to the Canadiens. With his team-leading 25 assists and second-best 35 points, Radulov brings it every night. But despite his physical presence and strength coming off the wing, Radulov just doesn’t have that net-front presence Gallagher has.
Although Gallagher isn’t enjoying his best season offensively, the Canadiens are still hurting. He only has six goals and 12 assists in 39 games, but his contributions to the team are far greater.
In Gallagher’s absence the Canadiens have scored an average of 2.7 goals per game, compared to 3.1 goals/game while he was playing. Not to mention, they were averaging 31.1 shots/game before his injury, and now only 26.5 shots/game since.
Gallagher has an impressive 55% Corsi-for percentage with a 57.6% goals-for percentage for five-on-five play. Gallagher has contributed in 16 of 19 goals (84.2%) during which he has been on the ice on five-on-five. To say that his 18 points is not productive enough, ignores all the other aspects that he brings to the Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens were in this situation a year ago. Gallagher broke his hand blocking a shot, and missed 17 games because of it. It was clear during those 17 games that the Canadiens missed his presence. They went a league-worst 5-11-1 with only 31 goals scored during that stretch.
On Gallagher’s return, in the 2016 NHL Winter Classic, he scored and the Habs won 5-1. It seemed as if Gallagher’s return was going to save the Habs season, but unfortunately for them it did not.
Regardless of that, the Habs are hoping they don’t fall down the same road as a year ago. Obviously the absence of Price last season didn’t help, but he is not playing his usual self now either.
Canadiens have played well with injured stars before. Most recently, they had seven regulars out of the lineup for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, which they won 5-3. When Galchenyuk was hurt, Danault stepped into his spot perfectly and the Habs kept on rolling.
It’s a next-man-up mentality for the Canadiens. With a not-so-ideal past nine games, the Habs will miss the energy from injured Brendan Gallagher, but should continue their Atlantic Division-leading winning ways