MONTREAL – Two teams rode three-game win streaks into Tuesday night’s tilt at the Bell Centre. Only one got to keep rolling.
Another four goals scored, another hard-fought battle, and another win for the streaking Habs. After a season where getting back on track when things went off the rails in a given night was a tall order, the 2012-13 edition of the Canadiens have proven in their last two games that they have no intention rolling over when the going gets tough. A new year and a new culture in the dressing room is clearly paying dividends as every Hab seems to be buying in.
“Our goal right now is for us all to be accountable for each other. That’s really what the identity of this team is all about, and it’s making all the difference,” highlighted Rene Bouque, who opened the scoring for Tuesday’s game – not to mention his own season – when he lit the lamp on a first-period power play. “You can see it in tonight’s game. We scored at the beginning and then had to comeback from behind and battle the whole way for that comeback. I think we’re all on the same page.”
As the Habs demonstrated Tuesday against the Jets, being accountable for one another doesn’t stop at puck support. When Brandon Prust was driven into the boards with a hit from behind right in from of the Canadiens bench, every player on the ice took matters in their own hands – with the least likely candidate leading the charge.
“It was great to see that,” shared Prust, who got back up just in time to see 5-foot-7 David Desharnais go after the 6-foot-6, 245 pound frame of Nik Antropov. “I guess Antropov had seen Davey’s record in fights and decided it was safer not to take him on. I saw him get in there and I know that everyone appreciated the gesture. When he got back to the bench, I gave him a little tap on the back to say thank-you. It did a lot of good to see that.”
Despite the fact that the Habs wound up having to kill a penalty instead of going on the power play, their effort wound up paying off and stacking the momentum back in their corner.
“Those are the kinds of penalties you want to kill off,” added Prust. “It shows a lot of character on the part of our team, and we’re really happy we were able to do that.”
A look at the scoresheet solidifies the team concept even further, with eight different players picking up at least one point on the night. Once again the line of Gallagher, Galchenyuk and Prust were standouts with the rookies nabbing two points each and finishing the match with Chucky as the game’s second star and Gally taking top honors.
“For me, tonight was a huge win for us. The Jets took advantage of their chances and we played a good game,” said head coach Michel Therrien, who understandably wouldn’t mind seeing his squad pay a few less visits to the penalty box, but also couldn’t be happier with the drive his men have been displaying on the ice.
“I think there’s a very thin line between passion and aggression. We have to make a few adjustments, but I never want to take that passion away from my team,” added Therrien, who will hope there’s more on tap when the Habs take on the Senators in Ottawa Wednesday night in their first back-to-back game of the season. “When the passion isn’t there, that’s when you start to run into problems. Right now we’re playing with a lot of passion. We have each other’s backs and that’s an excellent sign.”
Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.
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