It was a rough weekend for Jonathan Drouin.
The Montreal Canadiens centre left the ice in pain and was taken to hospital for tests after being hit in the upper ribs by a Karl Alzner shot in the second period of a 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
The following afternoon, he had his face bashed into the crossbar and later took a high stick to the face from Erik Karlsson in a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators.
The 22-year-old was able to smile about it after practice on Tuesday. Not only did the Canadiens win both games, but he came away with nothing more than some sore ribs.
Here’s the Drouin injury. Puck right to the ribs #Habs pic.twitter.com/PP7q5yfOGg
“A lot of action on my weekend,” he said. “But sometimes it’s you that’s going to get a stick or get hit into a post.”
The shot from teammate Alzner ended up looking worse than it was.
“I was pretty worried,” said Drouin. “I had trouble breathing at that point.
“Sometimes you’re just hoping it’s not blocking one of your lungs or something like that. But it was precautionary. Everything was good on that side. It was more of a bruise than anything.”
The Karlsson high stick, which drew a double minor penalty, ended up as the key to victory for the Canadiens as it handed them a five-on-three advantage when they were down 1-0, plus an extended power play after Jeff Petry tied the game, on which Arturri Lehkonen scored.
For all the struggles the Canadiens have endured this season, the power play has become a bright spot. In the two games, it went five-for-10 to move into seventh place in the NHL with a 21.6 per cent success rate.
Even more surprising is that the power play has scored on 17 of 57 chances — 29.8 per cent — in the 20 games since Dec. 19 when Shea Weber went on the injured list.
It appears that losing Weber and his booming point shot has forced the rest of the unit to find other ways to score, but coach Claude Julien doesn’t buy that reasoning.
“I’d take him any day and his shot is definitely a weapon, but our power play got better because we stuck with it,” said Julien. “All the pain we went through earlier on is starting to pay off, but it’s not because Shea Weber is taken away.
“We rely on his shot a lot but there are other things that complete that power play. I think what you’re seeing now is a little more different looks and options to score. You’re right in saying that, but you’re still missing that weapon.”
Petry thriving in bigger role
Instead of Weber, it is Jeff Petry who has been scoring from the back, with three power-play goals in the two games.
Captain Max Pacioretty said the whole first unit, which also has Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher, is in a groove.
“This is the first time I’ve played on a power play where everyone’s involved and the results have spoken for themselves,” said Pacioretty. “Pete [Petry] has been hands down our best player for quite some time now at any position, so having him mobile up top and playing with that confidence, knowing when to snap it through, knowing when to pass it, skating with the puck on entry, it’s just made life so much easier for everyone on the power play.
“I’ve never been on a team where it’s clicked like this. Everyone feels they have an important role and everyone’s getting their touches and looks as well.”
The Canadiens next play in Philadelphia on Thursday night, but may want to cancel their morning skate. A parade is scheduled that day to celebrate the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory.
“I think it will be cool,” said Gallagher. “I’ve never seen a Super Bowl parade so hopefully we’ll get to see some Eagles fans out on the streets, being excited.
“Maybe the good karma will rub off and my team [Cincinnati] will get to have one of these one year.”
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