A defeat for the Canadiens without playing Jonathan Drouin
BETTING À DAY
TAMPA | The Canadiens players had a lot to be forgiven for after their pitiful outing against the Panthers. Jonathan Drouin even more than the others.
But the task was not going to be easy against the always powerful Lightning, at Amalie Arena. For the last game of this three-game journey, Martin St-Louis' troops sold their skin dearly. backbone by the score of 5 to 3.
Brandon Hagel, with a hat trick (including a goal in an empty net), was the main executioner of the Canadian.
“We fought. I am proud of the group. The only thing I'm not happy with is the result, said St-Louis after the game. We were more alike. We made sure to defend ourselves better and, offensively, our game selection was much better.
Even if he offered a better performance in the eyes of his coach, the Canadian still suffered a ninth loss in 10 games (1-7-2).
As for Drouin, he did not touch the playing surface once. For 60 minutes, he remained on the bench. Like a supermarket divider, he took his place between attackers and defenders.
Even during commercial breaks, he remained seated while Michael Pezzetta and Anthony Richard, his companions in trio in theory, took the opportunity to untie their legs.
“The situation was explained to us before the game, said captain Nick Suzuki. Even though it wasn't easy, Jo made sure to encourage and support the guys on the bench. He still remained positive. »
Let the Habs players take it for granted: St-Louis does not mean to laugh with those who miss team meetings or who show up late. In the morning, the Habs coach had indicated that Drouin was going to be “dressed” for this meeting against the Lightning.
We quickly understood that being dressed and playing were two completely different concepts. Moreover, Drouin put on his uniform only because Kaiden Guhle, injured in the lower body (probably in the left knee) during the game against the Panthers, could not put on his uniform.
A regulation of the NHL stipulates that a coach must dress 20 players if he has 20 healthy and fit to play. Again, dressing up doesn't mean playing.
“At the same time, it was a bit of a safety valve when needed,” St-Louis explained. If someone gets hurt or someone fights and is out for a long time, it could have exposed the other players.”
That said, even the right hand injury suffered by Josh Anderson blocking a shot midway through the third period (which caused him to miss a few starts) was not enough to convince St. Louis to offer a presence to Drouin.
Mike Hoffman, Denis Gurianov and Jesse Ylonen were the three scorers for the Canadiens.
He rebounded well after Thursday's particular game. St-Louis had decided to trust him for a third straight game. He suffered the loss, but still faced 40 shots (41) for the eighth time this season.
He finished the game with a goal, an assist and six shots. However, his lack of combativeness is flagrant. Too often, he refuses to accept contact to get a free puck.
WHAT WE NOTED
Three centers occupied
The sanction that St-Louis imposed on Drouin forced the other three center players to work hard. Nick Suzuki was used for 25 mins 32s. Chris Tierney walked the ice for 18 mins 14s. He hadn't had such a busy night since April 26, 2021. For his part, Alex Belzile (16 mins 36s) had the third busiest night of his career.
The Sergachev's best season
While Drouin was warming up the bench against his former team, Mikhail Sergachev, the one he was traded for, was an accomplice to Brandon Hagel's first two goals. With 53 points in 68 games, the defender is having, by far, the best season of his career.
Denis Gurianov is experiencing a certain outbreak since his arrival at the Canadian. Beating Brian Elliott with a sharp shot from one of the face-off circles, the Russian scored his fifth goal in his new uniform, a fourth in his last five games. In 42 games with the Stars, he had moved the ropes only twice.
St-Louis still in the spotlight
Before the game, Phil Esposito, Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St-Louis, the first three members of the Lightning Hall of Fame, were invited to conduct the ceremonial face-off. We took the opportunity to unveil the ring of honor, on which appear the name and photo of each of the immortals.