Grinding it out
Combining for two goals, two assists, 10 shots, four blocked shots and eight hits, there was nothing the gritty threesome didn’t do on Sunday night. According to newcomer Dustin Boyd, the secret to making big plays is doing the little things right.
“You want to play a high energy game, do the simple things, get some scoring chances off of turnovers and play strong on the penalty kill,” explained Boyd, who came to Montreal as part of the Sergei Kostitsyn trade with Nashville this summer. “Those are things you’ve got to show. You’re always battling for a spot and it makes us play hard and be consistent.
“I think the three of us played pretty solid tonight,” added the 24-year-old, who was named the first star of the night. “We had quite a few chances and created a few turnovers. Those are two good guys to play with and I was having fun out there tonight.”
After spending parts of the past two seasons with the Habs, 6-foot-2 winger Max Pacioretty has been using the preseason to prove that Montreal is exactly where he belongs. The power-forward-in-the-making added over 10-pounds of muscle to his frame in the offseason and wasn’t afraid to throw that new-found weight around against the Wild.
“We feed off each other. We talk a lot, on and off the ice and we all play a similar gritty, in-your-face style,” described Pacioretty, who added four hits to his two assists on the night. “We’re happy to be playing together – hopefully we keep it up for the rest of the preseason games.”
Earning second-star status by scoring the first of three Habs goals in a span of 1:39 in the second period, Ryan White also added four hits and three blocked shots to his night’s work. But the rugged winger wasn’t about to take all the credit for himself.
“I thought the guys played well tonight and we did it as a group. I thought we were moving our feet well and didn’t give up too many opportunities. We were in their face right from the puck drop,” offered White. “Those are two guys who have a lot of speed and I just try to play simple and keep those guys up. As long as we’re working hard and doing the right things, it seems to go well for us.
“I’ve been trying to go to the net as much as I can here,” described White, who was planted in front of Wild netminder Anton Khudobin on his goal. “Pics [Alexandre Picard] made a great play from the point and I was just trying to be a screen and sure enough it went off me. I don’t even know where it hit me, but I love it. It doesn’t matter; I would have taken it off the face to score. Like they say, go to the net and good things will happen.”
Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
The Numbers Game - September 26, 2010
Making their case