Young blood

Saturday, 09.03.2013 / 2:34 PM / News
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Young blood

TAMPA – Two new Bulldogs are ready to make their 2012-13 debuts with the Canadiens on Saturday night in Tampa.

The Habs’ lineup will have a slightly different look when the team faces off against the Lightning as both forward Gabriel Dumont and defenseman Greg Pateryn, called up from Hamilton, will make their first appearances of the season wearing the bleu-blanc-rouge. While Pateryn only arrived in Tampa on Friday night, Dumont has been with the team since the start of its five-game road trip.

“All I’m looking to do is play my own game,” shared Dumont, who will wear number 37 for the Habs. “I want to go out there and bring a lot of intensity, make it tiring for other players to go up against me and just try to play solidly and make good decisions with the puck.”

Greg Pateryn at his first practice with the Habs

After playing three games with the Canadiens in 2011-12, Dumont has clearly shaken off the nerves and is ready to prove he deserves a spot on the Habs’ roster.

“I’m not stepping into this game with any kind of inferiority complex,” added the 22-year-old, who will replace Ryan White to center the Canadiens’ fourth line between Travis Moen and Colby Armstrong. “I’m coming here to try and help this team win games.”

Having watched Dumont excel with the Bulldogs all season long, Michel Therrien was looking for a window to reward the Ville Degelis native for his hard work in the AHL, and the Habs’ five-game jaunt down the east coast seemed like the perfect time.

“We want to give Gabriel his chance and we were looking to find a moment over the course of this road trip to let him show us what he’s capable of doing at this level. He’s earned his opportunity,” said Therrien of Dumont, who logged 15 goals and 15 assists in 52 games with the Bulldogs this year. “He’s been Hamilton’s best player since the beginning of the season, he’s shown a lot of consistency and we’re hoping he brings a little more offense to our fourth line.”

While Dumont may have already gotten a taste of NHL action last year, his Bulldogs teammate will be getting his first introduction into the league on Saturday night. Fully recovered from a fractured elbow that sidelined him for three months of NHL action, Pateryn will be paired with veteran rearguard Francis Bouillon against the Lightning.

“This is an amazing opportunity. People talk to you all the time about what it will be like, and now it’s finally happening. You only get one chance at making a first impression and I’m hoping I’ll be able to play the kind of hockey that I know I can,” admitted the 6-foot-2, 215 pound defenseman the Canadiens originally acquired from Toronto along with a second-round pick in exchange for Mikhail Grabovski. “I got the chance to relieve some of the nerves when we hit the ice for practice this morning, so I’m definitely feeling pretty good right now.”

With strong praise for the 22-year-old’s abilities coming out of Hamilton, Therrien knows the kind of game he wants to see Pateryn bring to the Canadiens lineup.

“He’s a shutdown defenseman who’s going to concentrate on playing in his own zone, making good first passes and keeping his game simple. He was the most consistent defenseman on the Bulldogs’ roster at the beginning of the year even if he ended up being sidelined by a major injury,” said Therrien, on the subject of Pateryn who will wear number 64 for his NHL debut.

“The coaching staff there along with Patrice Brisebois worked a lot with him and had nothing but good things to say about his performances,” he added. “This is a great opportunity for him.”

Justin Fragapane is a writer for canadiens.com.

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