October 19, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Canadiens’ Drouin hunting to recapture early period variety every time NHL returns

Canadiens' Drouin looking to recapture early season form whenever NHL returns

Jonathan Drouin states he’s constantly elevated his activity when the stakes are optimum.

It started out in minimal hockey, continued when he graduated to junior — just glance at his stat strains from three write-up-seasons as a member of the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads — and saved heading early in his NHL profession.

With the Montreal Canadiens handed a lifeline should really the league resume its pandemic-strike 2019-20 marketing campaign this summer time, Drouin is on the lookout to continue that pattern of huge performances in major moments.

“My activity just goes up in playoff hockey,” the 25-calendar year-old reported on a convention contact Wednesday. “As a child, it was hockey tournaments … and junior times, it was the exact issue.”

Drouin set up 102 details in 50 career playoff video games with Halifax, such as an eye-popping 41 in 16 contests back again in 2014. He registered 9 factors in 4 outings as component of the Mooseheads’ Memorial Cup victory the earlier spring and added 13 points in 13 appearances in the course of two stints with Canada at the earth junior hockey championship.

The indigenous of Sainte-Agathe, Que., then contributed 14 factors in 17 games at the age of 21, in 2016, as the Tampa Bay Lightning made the NHL’s Eastern Convention ultimate.

“When playoff hockey arrives all around there is a various feeling,” Drouin explained.

‘We’re incredibly fortunate’

Even with sitting 24th out of 31 groups when the league was compelled to pause its time in March for the reason that of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadiens snuck under the wire and into the 24-club format unveiled last month.

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Montreal, which experienced just 71 factors from 71 video games and was all but mathematically eradicated from playoff rivalry, would confront the Pittsburgh Penguins in the greatest-of-five qualifying spherical for a write-up-period berth less than the strategy.

“If it was normal playoffs we wouldn’t be in,” Drouin reported. “We’re incredibly fortunate…. I will not imagine we want to squander that chance.”

Previous Montreal Canadiens teammates Nicolas Deslauriers, left, and Jonathan Drouin get the job done out on bikes in 2018. Drouin has been education each on and off the ice for the duration of the pandemic. (Graham Hughes/The Involved Push)

The third pick in the 2013 NHL draft is also hoping for the option to recapture his accomplishment from the drop.

Drouin blasted out of the gate in October with seven ambitions and 15 factors in 17 game titles right before struggling an wrist personal injury in mid-November the necessary surgical treatment.

Acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay for defenceman Mikhail Sergachev in June 2017, he returned to the lineup February 8, but was held off the scoresheet in eight video games when an ankle difficulty at the time once again pressured him to the sidelines.

“I felt way much more comfortable in individuals to start with few months of the season than I have ever been in Montreal,” mentioned Drouin, who signed a six-year, US$33-million contract with the Canadiens the exact working day he was obtained from the Lightning.

“We were being winning, we were delighted with our video game. It was the same for me. Anyone was likely up in the ideal way. That [wrist] injury was a blow, but the way I was feeling was the most essential issue. The rest arrives when I am skating and I am close to the puck.”

Education and inspecting video of previous game titles

Having element in a series of casual on- and off-ice routines with a handful of teammates at Montreal’s exercise facility as part of Period 2 of the NHL’s return-to-play protocol, Drouin explained he examined online video of his performances when he was hurt and again soon after the NHL went on hiatus.

“I want to seize what I did in that 1st [part of the] season and provide it for anytime hockey begins,” he explained. “The causes I was participating in effectively, the explanations I was skating … you seem at individuals issues.”

Yet to surpass 53 factors in an NHL campaign, Drouin explained, he also watches clips of gamers with similar variations — he referenced Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner as one — to check out and incorporate various elements to his resource belt.

San Jose Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell stops Montreal Canadiens remaining wing Jonathan Drouin throughout very first time period NHL hockey action in Montreal in 2019. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

“You go via some stretches wherever you happen to be excellent at some places, and some locations you’re good at for a thirty day period and you’re not excellent for a month,” he mentioned.

“You try to nitpick.”

And Drouin, who mentioned he hasn’t had any lingering difficulties with either harm immediately after hitting the ice for the initially time in 3 months this 7 days, is assured he can recapture his early-time kind.

“I can get back again to that vitality I experienced, that tempo,” he reported.

“I noticed I could be an influence participant every evening if I exhibit up and enjoy the sport I am meant to perform.”

That would be a massive increase for the Canadiens as they aim to produce the first chapter of what could inevitably turn out to be an improbable story.

“I am not nervous to go in for this qualifying round,” Drouin explained. “I perform nicely in those moments.”