Injured in the upper body, Juraj Slafkovsky will not face the Stars
Undefeated at the Bell Center since the start of the season, the Canadiens will try to stretch their winning streak to three. A streak he only experienced once during the season. With Martin St-Louis newly in office, the Habs had even enjoyed five straight wins from February 17 to 26.
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After the visit of the Coyotes, who were easy prey, the Montreal team may face a slightly bigger challenge. Winners of three of their first four meetings, the Dallas Stars have yet to suffer defeat in regulation time.
Their fairly tight defense has only allowed six goals since the start of the campaign. In goal, Jake Oettinger, with a .966 save percentage, is no stranger to this situation. Consequently, the troopers of St-Louis will have to be insistent in the opposing zone.
“We will have to be patient in attack and stretch our time of possession in their territory. If you can avoid risky games, they will have to defend themselves longer. When that happens, it creates more breaches, it brings opportunities and it can encourage them to receive penalties,” explained Martin St-Louis.
To face the leaders of the Central Division, St-Louis will make only one change to its formation. Rem Pitlick will return to the roster after being sidelined in the last three games. He will take the place of Juraj Slafkovsky, injured in the upper body.
The Habs said the rookie’s state of health would be reassessed daily. Not to mention certainty, one might think that the bodycheck served to him by Josh Brown, just before he scored his first National Hockey League (NHL) goal on Thursday night, had more consequences than it seemed.
One more weapon short of a man
Since St-Louis is always one to see the glass half full, he was quick to point out that having Pitlick in the roster would allow him to have one more player on hand who is capable of playing on the back foot. .
He nevertheless acknowledged that the situation of the 25-year-old Ontarian must not have been easy to live with over the past week.
“It is certain that not playing is not pleasant, he indicated. Last year, there was less traffic at this position. We had more injuries and less depth. There, it’s the opposite: we are healthy with a lot of depth. So that cuts everyone’s usage time a bit.”
Met in the locker room, the main interested party, who had only been left out once in 47 games with the Habs, last season, admitted that it was sometimes difficult for him to content himself with the role of spectator, but that he tried to maximize every opportunity.
“I love hockey. So, for sure, I prefer to play. But I try to learn from all situations. For example, the other night Sidney Crosby was here. I did not have [pas encore] really realized how he moves on the rink or noticed his cornering technique. These are small details that I can add to my game.
The Joels are getting a little closer
In addition, Joel Edmundson and Joel Armia have taken a new step in their rehabilitation process. Both Joels were training with their teammate for the first time. However, they both wore a sweater color that kept them out of contact.
““Eddy” [Joel Edmundson], he’s a big guy. I said to “Roby” [Stéphane Robidas]: « cuddle that he is fat! » laughed St-Louis.
The day Edmundson returns to training, the Canadian will certainly be able to boast of betting on one of the strong defensive brigades of the NHL.
“It’s fun to see him skate with us. He has quite an imposing presence on the rink. He has his reputation throughout the NHL. He’s a tough guy to face. He will help us win even more matches,” said David Savard.
Not to mention that the return of Edmundson could bring back a little more to normal the time of use of certain rears of the Canadian, including Savard, who spends an average of 22 min 42 s per game on the ice.