Before Sunday night’s game in Philadelphia, Canadiens coach Martin St. Louis was talking about the challenge of playing on back-to-back nights in different cities.
The Canadians were coming out of a 4-3 penalty shootout loss to the Seattle Kraken on Saturday at Bell Center and headed to Philadelphia after the game, arriving in the early hours of the morning.
“I think the way we communicate as human beings I feel when it gets really hard, I think we’re told to quit,” St. Louis said. “I think our brain is telling us it’s OK…you have everything against you now, maybe you should quit now. And I think that’s the message today. You have to fight what your brain is telling you because it’s easy to take the easy way. Late afternoon, if I listen to your brain we won’t have a chance tonight.”
The Canadians haven’t listened to their brains — but they sure are listening to their new head coach.
Fighting from a 3-1 delay in the third in front of Kraken to force overtime and a penalty shootout, the Canadians were trailing 3-2 to the Flyers when Rem Pitlick scored a short goal 53 seconds before the clock to force overtime. . Cole Caufield scored the winning goal with a wicked shot in 2:10 of overtime as the Canadians picked up three points out of a potential four on a busy weekend. Nick Suzuki scored the other two goals for the Canadians.
The Canadians are now 8-5-1 since St. Louis took over from Dominique Ducharme.
When St. Louis got the job, he told his players he wanted to split the rest of the season into seven segments—each like a watershed series. The Canadians lost their first three games with St. Louis behind the bench, but won the next four to win the first part. They have now won the second part of seven games with a 4-2-1 record.
Suzuki has had 7-9-16 totals in 14 games since St. Louis became head coach and Caufield has had 8-8-16 totals during that period after posting 1-8-9 totals in 30 games with Ducharme behind the bench. Suzuki leads the Canadians in scoring with a 16-27-43 tally and has scored his highest in goals and points with his performance against the Flyers.
Pitlick has had 6-10-16 aggregates in 23 games since new General Manager Kent Hughes demanded that he relinquish the waivers of Minnesota Wild on January 12. After scoring the equalizer against the Flyers, Petlake helped Coffield win in overtime.
“I think from the start that’s what I’ve always said, I want to be an offensive player,” Betlake said. “I think in previous levels that’s what I brought in and again I want to focus on the defensive side of the game and the 200-foot match. I really appreciate Marty (St. Louis) and Ritchie (assistant coach Luke Richardson) who give me a penalty shootout and I think I have the ability to defend Also, I am proud to be a 200-foot-tall player.”
The Canadians had to play without striker Arturi Likonen, who participated in the warm-up before the match, but had to leave due to an upper body injury. He was replaced by Laurent Dauphin.
The Canadians were also without defender Joel Edmondson, who played his first game of the season on Saturday after recovering from a back injury. The team doctors felt back-to-back matches would be too much for Edmundson so early in his return, so AHL’s Laval Rocket’s Corey Scheunemann was called in to replace him.
“When you get injured, you can’t see the players much,” Edmondson said after Saturday’s game. “But when you do that, you kind of get the feeling from them. They try to tell you what’s going on and you try to talk to them. The first half of the year was really hard for a lot of people and the whole team in general. But I kept telling the guys, ‘You have to keep grinding, and I will Pays off, at last.” With Marty coming, he kind of gave us a new life in the dressing room. His intensity, positivity, and love of the game. The day he walked in you could definitely see the dressing room change. Everyone is kidding again, having a good time and just being happy that be on the rink. Marty has made a huge difference so far.”
It was shown again Sunday night in Philadelphia.
note – Canadiens striker Cédric Paquette rescinded his NHL waiver on Sunday and will report to AHL’s Laval Rocket.
In 24 games this season, the 28-year-old striker has not scored any goals and assisted after signing a one-year, $950,000 contract as a free agent last summer.
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