(Sports Network) - Depth has certainly been a strength for the Montreal
Canadiens this season and the club only figures to get stronger when
defenseman P.K. Subban returns to the ice.
They've done pretty good without their young blueliner so far and shoot for a
fifth straight victory on Wednesday evening against the Ottawa Senators.
Montreal has made up for the absence of Subban, who was a restricted free
agent holdout until signing a new two-year deal on Monday, by averaging four
goals per game over a four-game winning streak that followed a loss to Toronto
in its season opener.
Rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk have contributed to the winning
streak and both learned on Monday that they would be sticking with the club
rather than return to the AHL and junior league, respectively.
Galchenyuk, the third overall pick of the most recent draft, has a goal and
four assists in five games, while Gallagher has logged a pair of goals and two
assists in four games. Both notched a pair of points in Tuesday's 4-3 win over
the Winnipeg Jets.
Gallagher, a fifth-round selection in 2010, had a goal and an assist, while
Galchenyuk notched two helpers. Rene Bourque and Tomas Plekanec added power-
play goals, with Plekanec posting the game-winner 5:31 into the third period
as his shot from the top of the right circle hit off a Jets defender and into
Defenseman Andrei Markov assisted on both power-play tallies and has four
goals and three assists in his past four games.
"Our power play is doing pretty good right now," said Plekanec. "Two or three
years ago we were first in the league and it's pretty much as it is now. We
have some guys here that can really move the puck and help the power play
really click. I was fortunate that my shot went off a skate and it proved to
be the winner."
Carey Price made 18 saves, 11 of those in a perfect third period after giving
up two goals on just four shots faced in the second.
Subban, meanwhile, is expected to join the club in Ottawa but it is unknown
when he will play his first game of the season. After Tuesday's road game,
just the Habs' second of the season, the club returns home for three straight.
The Canadiens hope to do so with their winning streak still intact. They have
already matched their longest string of consecutive victories from last season
and will try to win five in a row for the first time since Feb. 26-March 8,
Despite the four-game winning streak, the Canadiens still trail the Senators
by a point in the standings as Ottawa has opened the season by going 4-1-1 in
its first six. The Sens snapped a two-game slide on Tuesday night after
rallying to beat the Washington Capitals 3-2.
Ottawa trailed by two goals after the first period and looked to be in danger
of carrying that deficit into the final frame before Jim O'Brien redirected a
puck into the net with 1:23 left in the second. Milan Michalek then tied the
game early in the third before Sergei Gonchar put home the game-winner on the
power play with 2:30 to play.
"This wasn't an easy one because we didn't come out strong and quickly fell
behind," said Gonchar. "But we fought back and I think this game shows a lot
about the character of our team."
Craig Anderson made 31 saves for Ottawa, which was without Jason Spezza due to
an upper body injury and the forward's status for this game is unknown.
Michalek, meanwhile, has points in each of the Sens' first six games,
registering a pair of goals and four assists.
Ottawa has lost eight of its past 12 against Montreal, including four of the
last six played at home.
The Sports Network