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Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Newly Formed Duo Could Lead To Excellent Line



Canadiens Evans Farrell Gallagher

The Montreal Canadiens have very little left to play for this season.

Playoffs are out of reach and only the Draft lottery shuffle remains to close out the final stretch of the season.

However, from an individual standpoint, there are still more questions than answers in the locker room, particularly when it comes to the glut of forwards on the roster.

Two players, in particular, are feeling the pressure.

Both Jake Evans and Brendan Gallagher recently returned to play, recovering from mid-season injuries that sapped all their momentum. And though the two forwards have filled crucial roles on the team in recent years, given the Canadiens are in the midst of a full rebuild, job security simply isn’t a luxury any player can take for granted.

It’s the harsh reality of professional sports.

Sure, you may have given the organization some of the best years of your career, but what have you done for us lately?

Fortunately for Evans and Gallagher, not only did their goals down the stretch align, but they also happened to be placed on the same line by head coach Martin St-Louis.

And the results have been great.

By The Numbers

The duo hasn’t just been earning points, though that’s certainly an important part of the equation.

United by their renewed sense of urgency, both Evans and Gallagher have earned four points in their last five games, using a relentless forecheck and an elevated work ethic to force their opponents into making mistakes on a nightly basis.

More importantly, they’re controlling the puck while they’re on the ice, which, in turn, has led to the Canadiens actually holding a scoring chance advantage in four of the last five games, a feat they had not accomplished this season until the newly formed duo was put into place.

Together, Evans and Gallagher have controlled 59 percent of the shots, 47 percent of the high-danger chances, and 62 percent of the expected goals in March.

For reference, the rest of the Montreal Canadiens have controlled 53 percent of the shots, 44 percent of the high-danger chances, and 51 perfect of the expected goals.

In addition to generating impressive offensive production, their tenacious style of play leaves plenty of options for the third member of the line. Ideally, a player with shooting talent would be added to the mix, but regardless of who ends up playing with the two hard-working players, they should have a relatively easy time finding open ice in the offensive zone.

Brass Tacks

When it comes to Gallagher’s future, the conversation tends to shift to his contract, which pays him an annual average value of $6.5 million through 2026-27.

It’s the type of contract you award to a top-six player, which, to be fair, was the case when Gallagher signed his extension. He was one of the best 5v5 goal-scorers in the league for the better part of a decade before injuries sidelined his momentum.

But despite the expensive contract, Brendan Gallagher can certainly provide a certain value to the Canadiens throughout the rest of the lineup, especially if he can maintain his current level of play, not to mention his excellent chemistry alongside Jake Evans.

A strong third line can become an anchor for a successful team, and as it stands, the Canadiens already have two-thirds of the equation figured out.

All statistics are 5v5unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick

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If we could find a way to recreate the magic Danault, Gallagher & Tatar had together in version 2.0, that would be huge for the team moving forward. It’s only been a couple of games, but Evans & Gallagher have definitely shown good chemistry. I had envisioned Gurianov playing in the top 6, but if a shooter is all this line is missing, then he certainly fits the bill. He just happens to be a LW too…


Last thing we need is more Gallagher hockey. We suffered through low skill, dump and chase hockey during the Bergevin era, where players couldn’t string two passes together or stick handle around a pylon. This year we have been treated to watching players will skill. Please don’t hype this “brand” of hockey.

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