Montreal Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien liked what he saw from Alex Galchenyuk at center on Saturday. The Habs lost the contest 4-1, and Therrien shuffled up his line combinations in the third period. Galchenyuk was given a chance to center a line with Max Pacioretty and Brendan Gallagher and the trio was impressive.
The Montreal Post-Gazette quoted Therrien following the loss to Colorado:
The positive (in this game) is the adjustment we made with Galchenyuk playing [center] with Pacioretty and Gallagher. It’s something we’ve been thinking about and we decided to do it in the third period and I was really pleased. This is an experiment that we’re going to repeat again.
Galchenyuk was drafted as a center, but has been used primarily as a wing this season. With Lars Eller’s hot streak coming to and end and the forward having trouble finding his scoring touch again, the opportunity is there for the former second-overall draft pick to step in and play his natural position.
The 19-year-old has 11 points in 15 games on the year, and already developed some strong chemistry with Gallagher. Tack Pacioretty onto that line and some interesting things could happen down low. Gallagher—while diminutive—is an absolute hound in front of the net, and Pacioretty is a power-forward type that can drive to the net and make things happen with his size and speed.
Galchenyuk will have a target-rich environment for his slick passes in this setup, especially if P.K. Subban frequently plays the blue line behind the line. He’s an outstanding passer, and Galchenyuk was credited with having some of the best (if not the best) hockey IQ and vision in the 2012 entry draft.
He’ll get another crack at being a pivot when the Canadiens take on the St. Louis Blues at home on Tuesday.