Photo Finish Final
MONTREAL – The votes have been counted. A recount was necessary. But, with 50.08 percent of the vote, Brendan Gallagher bested the competition and earned canadiens.com Play of the Year honors.
With his first NHL goal, Gallagher succeeded Lars Eller, who captured the title last year with his “spin-o-rama” goal in a shootout against the Jets. At the outset of the tournament, Gallagher had five entries in the competition, including the first of more than a few goals he scored this past season. This one, however, garnered the most attention, particularly because of the celebration that followed the magnificent play.
|Plays of the year from 2007 to 2013|
To start the tournament, Gallagher’s first NHL tally easily topped a goal by Ryan White with 78 percent of the vote. With a shot that would defy most goaltenders, the rookie sensation then bested a desperation save from Peter Budaj against the Flyers. Again, Gallagher moved on with a significant margin of victory, as 77 percent of you preferred his goal (and the ensuing celebration) to the spectacular stop from the Slovakian netminder.
Things started to heat up in the quarter-finals, particularly when it came to the play entitled “Even Steven”. Brendan Gallagher had to go up against a formidable opponent…Brendan Gallagher! But, recognizing the historical impact of the rising star’s first NHL goal, you preferred it to an impressive spin move that allowed him to beat one of the best goaltenders in the league in Ryan Miller of the Sabres.
We had to wait until the semi-final to see Gallagher square off against an opponent that matched him vote for vote. Alex Galchenyuk was that adversary. The two semi-final battles were tilts between two young players. On one side, Gallagher won with 57 percent of the vote, while Galchenyuk won the other semi-final with 59 percent of the vote. The bracket was set for a closely contested battle in the final.
Galchenyuk’s top-shelf goal in tight against the Penguins impressed everyone, leading to a “photo finish” contest against Gallagher and his “Even Steven” highlight-reel play. After counting the votes, Gallagher came out on top with a tally of…hold on to your seats…50.08 percent of the vote. With so much talent, it should come as no surprise that both players are seemingly inseparable. Proof of that is in the fact that Galchenyuk was the one who fed a perfect pass to Gallagher for his first goal.
Now, all that remains is to hope that Gallagher makes the most of his summer and returns in fine form in 2013-14 to defend his canadiens.com Play of the Year title.