It’s only been two games, but the spring chickens on the Habs’ EGG line are filling Montreal’s basket with points and horrible puns.
Less than a week into the 2013-14 NHL season the hockey mad city of Montreal is crazier than a fox in a hen house for the play of new linemates Lars Eller, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brendan Gallagher. The trio is off to a scorching hot start and because of the first letters of their surnames, they’ve been dubbed the “EGG” line, much to the consternation of its young hatchlings. Gallagher has even gone as far to say that the name “sucks”. Apparently he’s either too young to the remember the Ranger’s GAG line from the 70’s or maybe eggs just aren’t cool with the under 25 set.
Awful egg puns aside, the line really is off to a great start. Eller, at 24 the eldest member of the group, is leading the way with 3 goals and 5 points. Galchenyuk, 19 years old and only 16 months removed from being drafted, has 4 assists. And the undersized Gallagher, 21, has chipped in 3 points of his own. Like a well-made omelet, the EGG line has so far been the perfect blend of complementary ingredients.
Galchenyuk is unquestionably the biggest star of Montreal’s new triad and should be considered the yoke of the line, if you want to get technical. The 2012 3rd overall pick is coming off a solid rookie season and the young Wisonsinite has all the right tools to become a franchise player for the Habs. While it’s still extremely early, if Galchenyuk can continue his strong offensive play Montreal could find themselves battling with Boston and Detroit at the top of the Atlantic Division.
Gallagher is another second year player with a big upside, although he doesn’t have the ceiling that his younger and more skilled linemate has. Undersized but scrappy, he’s been underestimated his entire career, much like a similarly vertically challenged winger named Martin St. Louis. Originally a 5th round pick, if Gallagher is even the half the player St. Louis is, the Habs will have found a real Faberge egg in grandma’s pantry.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the EGG line is Eller. He’s taken a longer road to prominence than his younger linemates and so far he’s been best known as the player the Canadiens got for 2010 playoff hero Jaroslav Halak. He’s shown flashes of brilliance during his time in Montreal, but he’s yet to seize a top 6 forward role with the club. Two games does not a season make, but Eller might finally be ready to tip the trade scale in Montreal’s favor.
Despite the EGG line’s fast start, there’s no telling how long it will last. In an age when line combinations might not last a period, let alone a season, the EGG line’s timer could go off at any time. Until then, or at least until someone comes up with a cooler nickname (LAB Line? Somehow Not A Russian Line? Legion of Bonhomme?) the EGG line will bedevil defenses and leave them scrambled.