Canadiens’ David Desharnais, looking every bit the hockey player, in the Habs dressing room post-game.
Stubbs video capture
Rene Bourque is looking like the player the Canadiens thought they were getting last January when they sent Michael Cammalleri to Calgary.
Bourque scored two goals Saturday afternoon to help propel the Canadiens to a convincing 6-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres Saturday afternoon at the Bell Centre.
“It was a pretty solid team effort and I was glad to be part of it,” said Bourque, who was a disappointment last season. “We’re breaking out of our zone with speed and we’re creating chances.”
“For starters I feel better,” Bourque said asked his improved play. “I’m more comfortable, healthy. I never doubted myself even when things weren’t going well”
Bourque, who has three goals and two assists, said ihe enjoys playing with Brian Gionta and Tomas Plekanec. The chemistry with Gionta was in evidence on the Canadiens’ first goal at 19:52 of the first period.
“I just kept driving to the net,” said Bourque, who was rewarded at 18:15 when he was hooked as he took a pass from Gionta. The two combined on the same scenario to score on the ensuing power play.
“That was an important goal for us because we were all over them but we hadn’t scored,” said Bourque. Montreal had a 15-1 edge in shots in the opening period.
David Desharnais, another player who has worked to keep his confidence level up, also scored two goals, his first of the season.
“I was telling myself I have to be better; I’m going to be better,” said Desharnais. “I knew nobody was going to feel sorry for me. The last couple of days I cleared my head. I had to get back to the point where hockey was fun.
“I didn’t think of it as being in a slump, five games isn’t a slump,” he added. “I’ve been in the league for more than 100 games and I know what we can do,”
Another player who had a breakout of sorts was Lars Eller, who scored a goal and added two assists for his first points of the season.
Eller has bounced around the depth chart but has been given an opportunity to skate with Desharnais and Erik Cole. That was Max Pacioretty’s spot before last season’s leading scorer was sidelined by an appendectomy and Eller was asked if he felt any more pressure now that Pacioretty is close to a return.
“I can’t think about that,” said Eller. “I just have to play hard. There are a lot of talented players in this room. The coach has some decisions to make and I’m trying to make that decision more difficult.”
It was also another big game for the kids. Brendan Gallagher scored his third goal of the season while Alex Galchenyuk collected two assists and played a season-high 15:30. He won nine of his 11 faceoffs.
“He’s learning to play defensively,” coach Michel Therrien said of Galchenyuk. “He still has things to learn but he’s coming along.”
The 18-year-old’s popularity with the crowd resulted in his being named the first star for the second time in seven games.
And then there was the return of P.K. Subban, who modestly rated his own performance as “good, didn’t feel too great.” He played 18 minutes, picked up an assist on Desharnais’ second goal and hit a post during a power play. He was used in every situation and, while he said his timing was a bit off, he was happy that his conditioning was good.
“I wanted to see how I felt in the third period and I was good,” said Subban.
Therrien dressed seven defenceman and spread the work around. He’s likely to go back to six and bench Tomas Kaberle (7:28 of ice time Saturday) when Pacioretty returns which could be as early as Sunday against Ottawa.
Video in the dressing room after the game: