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Notebook - Dec. 30, 2011

Friday, 30.12.2011 / 1:37 PM / News
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Notebook - Dec. 30, 2011

CORAL SPRINGS -- In today's notebook, Diaz sets the table, Pleky talks production and Cunneyworth sticks to the game plan.

Taking his talents to South Beach: Newly crowned set-up artist Raphael Diaz has been quietly piling up the points during his team's current road trip, chipping in with three assists against the Sens on Tuesday before adding another two against the Lightning. While the blazing sun and ocean views may not make for a traditional hockey setting, Diaz seems to be feeling pretty comfortable on his first trip to the Sunshine State.

Diaz's second assist of the night against Tampa

"It's just a little bit more luck," explained the humble blue-liner. "You make those same plays other nights and you don't get the assists and now I'm making them and I'll get one or two assists. I have to just keep working hard and making the simple plays. That's it.

"I think in Montreal it's minus-20 and here it's plus-20," added Diaz with a grin during the team's outdoor media availability. "It's different! It's the first time for me to have weather like this in the winter but I'm enjoying it."

Riding the wave: Although his 29 points are good enough to be the team's leading scorer at the moment, Tomas Plekanec knows he needs to add a little more offense to the equation. For Pleky, getting back to his high-scoring ways is all about riding out the ebbs and flows of the season.

"You have ups and downs and that's normal for any player. You have a job to do and you have to work hard and be better," admitted Plekanec, who has still managed to rack up eight points in the past 12 games. "Every year it's the same; whether you have a good season or a bad season you're going to have ups and downs. I thought I had a pretty good start and I've slowed down a little bit and being a veteran, you need to produce. We're in a tough spot fighting for the playoffs and we need all the guys up front to play well and produce."

Let it ride: Despite Thursday night's loss in Tampa, Habs head coach Randy Cunneyworth isn't planning on altering his formula for Saturday night's game, preferring to let the chemistry work its magic organically.

"They're easy adjustments should we make some changes, but for the most part we were pretty pleased with the effort," offered Cunneyworth, whose new line combinations have produced nine goals in the past two games. "There were some mistakes that go on in any game but I think the guys are still creating some chemistry out there. We did a lot of good things offensively but we'll work towards getting better. We've got some guys who are kind of making new alliances with each other on a line and I think that's very important."

Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.

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