Anytime you participate or watch a team sport, such as our beloved hockey, it is more than apparent that it takes more than one player to make the difference.
So perhaps the title of this post threw you for a bit of a loop.
The Habs blasted through the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs as a cohesive unit. A team that managed depth from many different players.
But one thing struck me as a commonality among several of these men. Take a look- you’ll see what I mean.
Number 11: Brendan Gallagher
4GP 3G 2A 5PTS +1
Gallagher was a firecracker against Tampa, leading the team in series goals. But it goes further. His pure grit and determination makes him stand out on the ice. He has tenacity in that small frame and he comes to compete for a full 60 minutes.
Number 21: Brian Gionta (C)
4GP 1G 2A 3PTS +3
Oh Captain, My Captain. Despite speculation about returning in a Canadiens uniform next year, once again Brian Gionta showed us why he wears the “C”. Quiet composure on and off the ice, an incredibly strong work ethic, and experience mostly unmatched by any other player in the CH.
Number 51: David Desharnais
4GP 1G 1A 2PTS +1
Not even drafted into the NHL, most Montréalers said this pint sized player wouldn’t make it in the league. Wrong! He and Pacioretty are magical together on the ice, and with the addition of Vanek, it’s no wonder Desharnais centres the top line. Against Tampa he went to all the dirty zones and got knocked around. But he was a playmaker, and a difference maker.
Number 81: Lars Eller
4GP 2G 3A 5PTS +4
After missing the end of the season with the flu, Eller catapulted himself into the post season showing fans and media alike that he has tremendous hockey vision and great hands. His quick release from the face off dot earned him a timely goal. His composure was incredible and calm. He played solid as a defensive forward as well. He’ll be looking for playoff retribution against the Bruins in round two.
Number 31: Carey Price
4GP 4W 0L .233 GAA .904 SV%
He epitomizes ice in ones veins. Although these aren’t stunning numbers to begin the playoffs, he has gotten stronger with each game. Coming off his best NHL regular season, some of that has to be attributed to his new goalie coach and his willingness to learn. He is the backstop that makes everything else possible for Les Glorieux. A deep playoff run will be predominantly because Price is between the pipes. Coming off a Gold medal winner in the Sochi Olympics isn’t going to hurt either.
These players mentioned are not the only performers whatsoever that took this team to a four game sweep. That goes without saying.
But it’s pretty ironic that the players whose numbers end in “1” had such an impactful role. Yes – there were 10 different Habs that contributed to their 12 series goals, but these four mentioned above amassed 7G 8A 15PTS with a +9 combined rating.
Let’s hope we continue to see the Power of One moving forward into Boston.
** Honourable mention from the past goes to Number 41 **