Alex Galchenyuk, Brendan Gallagher, Lars Eller

Montreal’s “kid line” is on fire early

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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.

Montreal’s Murray (upper body) out 4-6 weeks

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One of the Canadiens’ notable free agent pickups will be out for the foreseeable future.

Veteran defenseman Douglas Murray, signed in August on a one-year deal, will be out for the next 4-6 weeks with an upper-body injury, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie.

The injury is just the latest to hit the Montreal defense. Two weeks ago, the club announced that Davis Drewiske had suffered a shoulder injury that would shelf him for a month; prior to that, the club had lost physical Russian rearguard Alexei Emelin, who is still in the process of recovering from offseason ACL surgery.

Murray, 33, split last season between San Jose and Pittsburgh, scoring six points in 43 games (and three in 15 playoff games). He was acquired by the Penguins at the trade deadline and saw an uptick in minutes (17:09 average TOI in San Jose; 18:30 in Pittsburgh) before falling back to around 15 minutes per night in the postseason.

This upper body ailment was the second injury Murray suffered during the exhibition campaign. Two weeks ago, he was listed as day-to-day with a lower body issue.

Canadiens ink 2013 second-round pick Fucale

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The Montreal Canadiens have signed goaltender Zachary Fucale to a three-year entry-level contract.

The NHL club made the announcement on Saturday. Fucale is the Canadiens’ second-round pick, 36th overall, from this year’s draft and is currently at Habs training camp.

Fucale was a key member of the Halifax Mooseheads in their run to a Memorial Cup championship this spring. He posted a 3-1 record for the Mooseheads in the tournament. The 18-year-old puck stopper also posted a 16-1 record in the QMJHL post-season.

Canadiens Gallagher: ‘I don’t think I’m proven yet’

Montreal Canadiens v New Jersey Devils
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One good rookie season isn’t enough.

Brendan Gallagher of the Montreal Canadiens knows this, even after he finished last season with 15 goals and 28 points in 44 regular season games, often playing against guys much larger than his 5’9″ and 178-pound frame.

His performance was enough to make him a finalist for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie. He didn’t win the award. Instead, that distinction when to Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers.

It’s still a recognition of what Gallagher accomplished in with the Habs. But it’s just one year.

He’ll return to the hockey-mad market in Montreal, where the expectations from the local fan base are sure to have grown from what they were in January.

“I don’t think I’m proven yet,” Gallagher told NHL.com on Friday.

“I think there’s still a lot left for me to accomplish in this League, so I don’t consider myself proven. I just consider last year a step in the right direction.”

Montreal signs veteran D Murray: one year, $1.5 million

Douglas Murray #3 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on April 3, 2013 in New York City.
(April 2, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)
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The Montreal Canadiens have made an interesting move, signing defenseman Douglas Murray to a one-year deal.

The contract is worth $1.5 million, according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston.

Murray, 33, split last season between San Jose and Pittsburgh, scoring six points in 43 games (and three in 15 playoff games). He was acquired by the Penguins at the trade deadline and saw an uptick in minutes (17:09 average TOI in San Jose; 18:30 in Pittsburgh) before falling back to around 15 minutes per night in the postseason.

Vancouver was reportedly interested in the hard-hitting blueliner, but Montreal seemed a more natural fit for Murray given the uncertainty surrounding Alexei Emelin.

Emelin, 27, tore up his knee in April after colliding with Boston’s Milan Lucic and underwent surgery in May. With his recovery projected to go into the start of the 2013-14 season — NHL.com’s Arpon Basu reports the Habs “have no definitive idea” of when Emelin will return — Montreal was in need of another physical presence (Emelin led the team in hits last year, with 110, despite missing the final 10 games of the regular season.)

At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Murray is capable of filling the void, but there will be questions about his foot speed and skating ability, neither of which looked good during Pittsburgh’s playoff ouster to Boston.