BROSSARD — The defender Jordie Benn believes that it was justified that observers expect another difficult season on the part of the Canadian after a campaign disastrous last winter.
Perhaps motivated by expectations of modest players of the club have found a way to reverse the trend. And now that they have reached the mid-season in a position that would allow them to participate in the playoffs if they started before the games on Friday in the NHL.
“It’s nice to be overlooked and fun to prove to others that they were wrong, said Benn, Friday, as the Canadian has a folder of 22-14-5 after 41 meetings. Of course we knew what was said about us before the season. It is like that. But we had not known for a very good season and there was no reason to expect better this time.”
A new wind has rapidly swept across the Bell Centre this fall. The team plays with constant energy and a few coaches from the opposing said after the duels against the Habs that it was the training the faster that they had faced this season.
“It’s a nice compliment, acknowledged Benn. We want to play at a pace as possible. The teams fast does not give the time to the opponent to think. When you do that, you’re dangerous.”
The Canadian also shows the second best winning percentage in the circuit when it is late in the score after two periods (37.5 per cent) under a record of 6-10-0. The Tampa Bay Lightning (55,6) is the only training to do it better, with a record of 5-4-0.
“The score does not matter. We believe we have a chance of winning even if he has five minutes left to play and that we are late by one or two goals, ” noted Benn. We have a group who never give up.”
The arrival of Max Domi and Tomas Tatar have been paid, then they occupy respectively the first and third rows of pointers in the Canadian. Jesperi Kotkaniemi continued his training, and return-to-play from Shea Weber late in November seems to have stabilized the situation in the defensive. For his part, Carey Price has regained some confidence after a start to the campaign difficult, despite an “irritation” at the bottom of the body it drags out for “about seven weeks”.
“We had a team that had the chance to improve and grow since we were relying on a lot of young and new players. We have also refined our system, ” said head coach Claude Julien. All these things do not guarantee anything, but it has produced what we had hoped for.
“At a time when we speak, we are in the position that we wanted. We are in a position to make the playoffs. But there remains the second half of the season and it will be even more difficult.”
The position of the Canadian in the portrait of the playoffs remains precarious. With 49 points, the cast of Claude Julien is in last place giving access to the tournament end of the season. The Islanders are chasing the Habs with 48 points and the training in new york has two more matches to play. The Blue Jackets of Columbus also have 49 points at the counter in the third rank of the metropolitan section, with also two games in hand.
“It will have to be consistent,” said defender Shea Weber about the challenges in the second half of the season. It is necessary to avoid the trough of the wave when you lose two or three games in a row. Everything is more difficult in the second half of the campaign, the game tightens.
“We are counting on many young players, I hope that it means that their legs will stay fresh for longer, they will have more energy. Perhaps their lack of experience is going to help not knowing what to expect and it will be up to veterans to assist them in guiding the ship.”
The Canadian will pass through another sequence that is critical to the course of the next few weeks, then it will play nine games in 15 days. We could learn more about the fate of the team at the end of this sequence.