MR. VERSATILITY: Showcasing a few different facets of his game on Thursday night, Brandon Prust was equally effective with his gloves on as he was with them off. The gritty forward began his night by going toe-to-toe with 6-foot-3, 240-pound Luke Gazdik in defense of Josh Gorges and added the piece de resistance of his performance by banging the eventua game winner past Devan Dubynk midway through the second period. While his first of the year likely won’t be making the rounds on highlight reels anytime soon, Prust knows it’s not how you score that matters; it’s how many.
“You’re not going to see a lot of pretty ones from me,” he joked of the goal mouth scramble play. “We talked about that. One of the keys for us to win is getting pucks to the net and crashing. Most or our goals have come from around the net this year. It was probably one of my better games so far this season. Sometimes the fight kind of jumpstarts you a little bit and you kind of get you going. [Gazdik] is pretty strong so it was a battle.”
HOMECOMING: THE SEQUEL: One night after enjoying his first NHL game back in his hometown, Brendan Gallagher was already looking forward to repeating the process. Born in Edmonton and raised in Vancouver, the 21-year-old has a goal and an assist in the books so far on his homecoming tour, and he’s ready to add to those totals in front of another hefty cheering section at Rogers Arena.
“It’s not cheap, but I don’t mind,” admitted the former Vancouver Giant with a laugh, having played in front of 20-30 friends and family members on Thursday with another 10-15 expected at Rogers Arena on Saturday night. “It’s nice having everyone here. There are a lot of people who supported me along the way and helped me to get here so I’m happy they can come.
“When I first step on the ice, it’ll be really cool. There are going to be a lot of people watching who helped me get where I am at this point and they sacrificed a lot. You want to play well and show them how proud you are of what they’ve done for you,” he added. “That said it’s just going to be a normal hockey game. Once the puck drops you have to play the same way and do the same things. If you do that, the rest will take care of itself.”
FILLING THE VOID: When the Canadiens left for the first stop of their nine-day Western road swing, captain Brian Gionta wasn’t on the team charter for family reasons. While he met the Habs in Calgary a day later, taking part in the first two games of the trip against the Flames and Oilers, the father of three won’t be in the lineup against the Canucks on Saturday, having headed back to Montreal on Friday morning, again for family reasons. Head coach Michel Therrien confirmed that no callups will be made prior to Saturday’s game and Ryan White will be back in the lineup after sitting out against the Oilers.
“Obviously it’s family over everything else,” confirmed a concerned P.K. Subban of Gionta missing the team’s fifth game of the season. “I’m not too sure the extent of the situation. He’s our captain and our leader and you can’t replace a Brian Gionta, but we have to have guys in here who are willing to step up and get it done. We’ve done that in the past when guys have been injured where we’ve still found ways to win hockey games. It’ll be the same for us tomorrow.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
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