In the Habs Room: ‘Shootouts are shootouts,’ Brendan Gallagher says

“It’s a coin toss,” forward adds after Habs battle back from 3-1 deficit in third period before losing in shootout against Seattle Kraken.

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The Canadiens are still the worst team in the NHL, but they haven’t been playing like they are since Martin St. Louis took over as head coach.

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They didn’t win Saturday night at the Bell Center — dropping a 4-3 shootout to the Seattle Kraken — but once again they didn’t give up. That’s one of the biggest changes St. Louis has been able to make since replacing Dominique Ducharme.

The Canadiens were trailing 3-1 going into the third period against the Kraken with Michael Pezzetta scoring their only goal. But they came out strong in the third period, getting a goal from Alexander Romanov at the 1:04 mark and another from Nick Suzuki at 17:48 that deflected in off Kraken defenseman Adam Larsson’s stick, setting the stage for the shootout.

All seven Canadiens shooters — Rem Pitlick, Cole Caufield, Suzuki, Mike Hoffman, Paul Byron, Joel Armia and Pezzetta — failed to beat Kraken goalie Phillip Grubauer. Marcus Johansson was the only Kraken able to get past Canadiens goalie Samuel Montembeault for the victory.

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The Canadiens are now 7-5-1 since St. Louis took over, including 7-2-1 in their last 10 games.

“We’re trying to get back to building that culture around here where you come to the rink expecting to win and sometimes you’re going to have to come from behind,” Brendan Gallagher said after the game. “Guys stuck with it, eventually got a bounce at the end. Too bad we couldn’t score in the shootout for Monty. I think the place would have erupted if Pezzy found a way to put one in.

“Shootouts are shootouts,” Gallagher added. “It’s a coin toss. I think overall we’re OK with the game and now we’ve lost two in a row. So we go on the road and the urgency picks up a notch to end the losing streak.”

Canadiens' Nick Suzuki, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Seattle Kraken during third period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Saturday, March 12, 2022.
Canadiens’ Nick Suzuki, right, celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Seattle Kraken during third period NHL hockey action in Montreal on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Photo by Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press

The Canadiens flew to Philadelphia after the game and will play the Flyers on Sunday (7 pm, TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

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“I think the boys feel very good about their game and so do I,” St. Louis said. “It’s never perfect… not every game’s perfect. We’ve had a couple of games where we were I feel close to perfect. But overall we’ve been pretty good. Sometimes you just don’t know if you’re going to get the goals or you’re going to get the key saves. But overall we’re in every game and I think the boys see that.”

Canadiens defenseman Joel Edmundson, who had been sidelined all season with a back injury, finally played his first game. I have logged 16:38 of ice time with six hits, two shots and was plus-1.

“It doesn’t matter how often or how much you practise, it doesn’t really relate to a game,” Edmundson said. “There was a few shifts where I was trying to catch my breath and started to cramp up in the third (period), but it’s nice to get back out there with the guys. I think about the next couple of games I’ll get back into game shape.”

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Edmundson won’t play Sunday in Philadelphia with team doctors thinking the back-to-back games would be too much after not playing for so long. The 28-year-old was originally expected to only miss the first 2-3 weeks of the season with his back injury, but kept having setbacks.

“I was just trying to go to the rink every day and be positive,” Edmundson said. “If you beat yourself it just drains you… you don’t have the energy to do the things you need to do at the rink. So I just went to the rink every day with a positive mindset.

“It’s a new day… why not be positive,” he added. “To be negative it’s just going to wear you down. That’s just my mindset.”

Edmundson’s father, Bob, was battling lung cancer and he was hoping to return to action in time for his Dad to watch him play. Sadly, his father died on Jan. 7 at age 61.

“It’s been an emotional day, that’s for sure,” Edmundson said. “I think about him every day. I was really hoping to get a goal for him tonight, but the next goal is definitely going to be for him. I know he’s up there looking down on me and he’s going to be with me the rest of my career and the rest of my life. I definitely wouldn’t be here without him.”

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