The Montreal Canadiens have announced that forward Brendan Gallagher will be out for at least six weeks. The team made the announcement Tuesday after he had successful surgery to repair two broken fingers in his left hand.
Gallagher suffered the injury on Sunday night in a game against the New York Islanders by blocking a Johnny Boychuk shot.
The Gallagher injury is another tough one for the Habs to contend with, as he had recorded at least a point in the last seven games and was tied for second in team scoring with 19 points. He played on a line with Max Pacioretty and Tomas Plekanec, a line responsible for a combined 59 points so far this season.
The Gallagher/Pacioretty/Plekanec line has also been responsible for propelling the Canadiens over the hump as far as goalie Carey Price is concerned. Some have considered the successes of Montreal to come down to their netminding, but Gallagher has been no small part of the effort to prove otherwise. His offensive prowess has given this team something else to bet on.
“He does so many things well and he’s important to our team,” forward Dale Weise said. “But he’s the glue guy on that line.”
In fact, Gallagher has been added to any struggling line combination by head coach Michel Therrien because he’s the type of player who can get things done. He’s been one of Montreal’s most consistent players and he knows how to drive the net, which has given the club a number of advantages offensively. His ability to stir the pot has made him a pest in the eyes of the opposition.
That’s something his replacement, Devante Smith-Pelly, will take into consideration.
“Just get in the crease, I guess, and smile every time I get hit in the head,” Smith-Pelly said when asked how he would fill in for Gallagher. “It’s obviously going to be tough to replace that, so I guess we’ll have to do it by committee.”
Gallagher’s tenacity is likely what caused him to fling himself in front of Boychuk’s shot in the first place, but so it goes. This is hockey and Gallagher is one of the best at doing what he does. The Canadiens will have to weather this storm as they have all the others, but this does put them in a difficult situation for the next six weeks.