Playoff Preview, Danault, Bergevin, Belzile | Habs Notepad | All Habs Hockey Magazine

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Eric Staal (Photograph by Andy Devlin/NHLI through Getty Photos)

ROCKET SPORTS MEDIA | LAVAL, QC. — The Canadiens week began with a feel-good story. For a second consecutive match, Cole Caufield handed his staff a 3-2 victory by scoring the time beyond regulation clincher towards the Maple Leafs.

“Cole is likely to be small in stature, however he likes large moments. We’ve seen that for the reason that begin. He has a superb shot. He’s been an excellent addition to our staff,” Philip Danault mentioned.

On Wednesday, the Senators snapped the Habs’ three-game successful streak by handing them a 5-1 loss in Ottawa. “We have been flat from the begin to the end of the sport and we simply couldn’t discover our vitality and rise up to that degree,” Josh Anderson mentioned.

The next evening, the Maple Leafs took a 4-0 lead via 20 minutes, and went on to a simple 5-2 win towards the Canadiens. “You’ve bought to fail to reach this League, particularly as a goalie. It’s only a bump within the street for [Primeau],” Jake Allen mentioned after coming into reduction of Cayden Primeau within the first intermission.

On Saturday, Montreal took a 2-0 lead earlier than permitting three unanswered targets as Toronto is victorious 3-2.

“I don’t assume we managed the puck as effectively within the second interval. We’ve bought to do a great job of getting pucks behind their defensemen. They wish to keep up and have tight gaps, and we’ve bought to get pucks behind them and play of their zone. I don’t assume we did a adequate job of ending performs rapidly sufficient in our zone after which transitioning that into pucks of their finish,” John Merrill evaluated.

Playoff Preview

The Canadiens first spherical opponent will possible be towards the Maple Leafs. Toronto is headed into the postseason with confidence, having gained seven of their final 10 video games. However, Montreal has misplaced three consecutive video games with an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot.

“I hope it means nothing. It shouldn’t while you get to the playoffs. Every little thing’s all new. It’s zeros throughout the board for each participant, each particular person, each staff. Whether or not that’s the matchup for us or not, our mindset goes to be about successful the sequence beginning with Sport 1. We’re not going to fret about that,” Eric Staal replied when requested concerning the significance on the staff’s struggles versus their potential first spherical opponents. Toronto gained seven of the ten confrontations this yr versus Montreal.

“I’ve confidence in our staff. We’ve gamers who’ll be coming again quickly,” Dominique Ducharme mentioned following Saturday’s sport. This week’s two-game sequence versus Edmonton might not have an effect within the standings, however might help increase Montreal’s confidence headed into the playoffs.

“I feel we’ve bought to have higher begins,” Merrill answered when requested about enhancements wanted. Montreal opened the scoring solely as soon as of their final seven matches. “We’ve bought to place collectively an entire sport and get a win. That’s the place your confidence begins to construct. You construct confidence while you win video games and string wins collectively. Then, you’ll be able to really feel good.”

Danault Absence

Ducharme introduced on Saturday that Philip Danault is sidelined with a concussion that occurred on Thursday evening. No timeline was offered for his return.

“We’ve to exchange him collectively, particularly since we’re on the street. He’s an vital participant in many alternative conditions, particularly on faceoffs. We’ve to carry out effectively in that space. Everybody should elevate their sport a notch,” the coach mentioned.

Danault has been the staff’s chief in most statistical faceoff classes. He has the very best general (52.5%), even energy (55.1%), offensive zone (62.7%), and defensive zone (47.4%) faceoff success charges.

On Saturday, Eric Staal struggled tremendously on the blue dot successful solely two of 13 attracts. It seems to be a one-off situation, as he had gained 61.7 p.c of the faceoffs within the earlier six matches.

Suzuki gained half of all of the attracts he took, however misplaced 71 p.c of the faceoffs towards Auston Matthews. Within the earlier 9 matches this season, Danault gained 61 p.c of the 82 faceoffs towards Matthews.

Bergevin Discussions

Sportsnet’s Elliote Friedman reported that Geoff Molson and Marc Bergevin have begun discussions on a possible contract extension. Bergevin’s present deal expires on the finish of the 2021-22 season, subsequently the proprietor will possible decide on the final’s supervisor future with the group on the newest previous to the beginning of subsequent season.

The truth that there’s a dialogue being had by each events, just about eliminates any probability that Bergevin is relieved of his duties on the finish of the season. There’ll both be an extension or a mutual determination to half methods.

For my part, Bergevin’s acquisitions that he made forward of the 2020-21 season will likely be adequate for the proprietor to make a suggestion to retain his companies. Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, Joel Edmundson, Jake Allen, and Corey Perry have all made a big contribution.

The in-season roster administration was questionable, however I don’t assume it is going to be sufficient for Molson to go in a brand new route. Contemplating the group’s bilingual requirement for the function, there’s a restricted pool of choices to rent an skilled alternative. Until Bergevin decides to depart the group, I doubt that the proprietor would rent a second consecutive inexperienced basic supervisor.

Belzile Season Debut

Alex Belzile made his season debut in Toronto on Saturday, slotting into the roster spot that was left vacant by Philip Danault. Belzile performed to the fitting of Artturi Lehkonen, and Jake Evans on the fourth line.

“He performed playoff video games with us final yr. He is aware of what to anticipate. He’s a man who performs the fitting method and brings a whole lot of vitality. He’s an actual hockey participant,” the coach defined the choice. In final yr’s put up season, Belzile recorded one help in six video games.

On his second shift, Belzile obtained an help on Brett Kulak’s aim that gave Montreal a 1-0 lead. “I felt good, I do know that issues can change rapidly within the hockey world. I used to be prepared all yr lengthy, I do know my strengths, so I attempted to maintain issues easy and be intense. Once I try this, I carry one thing to the staff,” Belzile evaluated his efficiency.

The Riviere-du-Loup native completed the evening with 8:29 of ice time, one shot on aim, and minus-1. If not one of the injured gamers are able to play on Monday, Belzile ought to costume once more for Monday’s sport.

“He’s a competitor, he’s actually robust intimately that brings good habits on the ice, and makes good selections with the puck,” Rocket coach Joel Bouchard mentioned on Sunday about Belzile. In 14 video games with Laval, Belzile scored three targets, and added 5 assists.

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By Chris G., Senior Author
All Habs Hockey Journal
Copyright © 2021 Rocket Sports activities

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