The Montreal Canadiens have played just two games, but their youngest line is proving to be the most productive.
Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, and Lars Eller helped spur the team to victory over Philadelphia Saturday night, but their combined efforts have them leading the team in scoring.
It all starts with the 24-year-old Eller whose two goals and three assists see him evolving as a real offensive threat. After acquiring him in the Jaroslav Halak trade in 2010, their patience is paying off.
At 19 years old, Galchenyuk, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, burst on the scene last season showing glimpses of what made him one of the top prospects in that draft. His four assists have him becoming the team’s top playmaker and the 21-year-old Gallagher is cashing in with the goals.
Should Danny Briere and Max Pacioretty (recently injured) hit their stride offensively, Montreal could be a dangerous goal-scoring team if the “kid line” continues to produce like this. Obviously it’s early in the year, but Habs faithful have to enjoy seeing this evolution.
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.