Young guns lead Canadiens over Stars
Pacioretty, Subban, Eller and Gallagher have strong outing in Dallas
DALLAS — Max Pacioretty says he plays his best hockey when he turns his brain off.
“I’ve had coaches tell me I shouldn’t think so much,” Pacioretty said after he scored two goals and added two assists to lead the Canadiens to a 6-4 win over the Dallas Stars Thursday night.
“I thought that was one of our better games offensively and I think was one of the best games Davey (Desharnais) has played,” added Pacioretty. ”We scored some goals tonight and we could have had a few more.”
The win gave the Canadiens a 3-2-1record in their six-game holiday road trip and kept the Canadiens comfortably in a playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
“We had a pretty good road trip and with that kind of record after a tough road trip, we’re feeling pretty good,” said defenceman P.K. Subban, who had a goal and three assists. Two of his assists were highlight-quality as he sent Pacioretty off on a breakaway and then used some nifty stickwork to set up Desharnais.
But Subban shrugged off the praise for his contribution.
“We had some guys who made some little plays that may not make the highlights but they opened up opportunties for us,” he said. “I thought the line of Pacioretty, Desharnais and Gallagher played outstanding today.
“They moved the puck, they moved themselves, they got into the open ice,” said Subban. “Even getting down 1-0, we battled through adversity and we worked for each other. Today was a good example of unselfish play. Guys weren’t trying to do it by themselves. They were trying to find each other and that’s important at this time of the season.”
The Stars scored two goals in the third period to pull even at 4-4 but Subban said there was no fear that the game would slip away as it did on Tuesday in Carolina.
“You look at the two goals they had, they were lucky goals,” said Subban. “Don’t get me wrong, they worked hard but there were two knucle pucks. They were fortunate. They did a good and worked hard but we did a good job of blocking pucks and getting in the lanes. We knew they had some inexperienced defenceman and we put pressure on them.”
Subban’s performance came a few days prior to the selection for Canada’s Olympic team and, while Subban steered away from the topic, coach Michel Therrien said he was pulling for the defehceman.
“It was one of those crazy games,” said Lars Eller, who scored the winning goal. “We don’t score a lot but we’ve scored in these last two games. We thought we should have won in Carolina but we have a good feeling going home.”
“We’re looking up,” he added. “We’re not chasing a playoff spot and we have our eyes set on winning our division.”
There were some rough spots in the game.
The Canadiens continued to struggle in the faceoff circle. They won only two of 17 faceoffs in the first period and finished the game with a success rate of 33 per cent.
The scoreboard folks poked some gentle fun at the Montreal fans in the crowd at the American Airlines Center but they should have thanked them for coming. The game drew only 13.007 fans despite the fact lower-bowl tickets were available for $39.
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