At this morning’s practice, the Habs worked solely on their power play for 30 minutes and fans will be glad to hear that a couple of changes have been made to the units. Most importantly, Gustafsson is no longer on the first unit, he’s made way for Jeff Petry who’s joined by Corey Perry, Cole Caufield, Tyler Toffoli, and Nick Suzuki to form the top unit. As for the second one, Jesperi Kotkaniemi has been taken off it and it now includes Eric Staal, Joel Armia, Brendan Gallagher, Josh Anderson, and Shea Weber. Considering how little power play opportunities the team is getting, this might not make a big impact, but it could at least indicate that Gustafsson won’t be taking part in game 4. You have to wonder if a power-play practice only the appropriate course of action was, after all, there’s no guarantee the Habs will even get a single man-advantage. After practice, Petry and Anderson were made available to the press.
For Petry though, it had to be done and he doesn’t believe his recovery from injury has anything to do with the fact that he’s back on the top unit: “There’s no reason, we went out and we knew we’d work on the PP and that’s the units they drew up. I can now shoot the puck better and harder though. Got to be ready from the first PP, and score or at least bring momentum.”
Now facing elimination, both teammates had essentially the same message. For Anderson, it’s all about attitude: “Just stay positive, we’re here for a reason, of course, we dug ourselves a bit of a hole, but we want to go to Tampa for Game 5”. Meanwhile, Jeff Petry mentioned that it was important to take things one step at a time: “We’re not looking at the end result, we’re taking it one day at a time, one game at a time.” When asked about not wanting to see the Bolts raise the Cup in Montreal, he added: “We don’t want to see the Lightning win the Cup at all. Our goal is to win tomorrow’s game and then fly out and prepare for the game in Tampa then.”
As for Dominique Ducharme, he’s still keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to the line-up, when asked about Gustafsson not being on the power play and if it meant he wouldn’t be in the line-up he said: Ducharme: “We’ll see tomorrow. You saw the power play work today and you’ll see tomorrow about the rest.” The coach is not worried about any kind of rust affecting his healthy scratch, they’re working on the ice, and they are ready to be called upon. As for KK being taken out of his power-play unit, he added: “We haven’t had much production from him in that situation and we’re still working on that stuff with KK.” Finally, when asked why the practice focused so much on the power play, he argued that the players know what they have to do at 5-on-5 by now.
The Habs will have another morning skate tomorrow morning before attempting to accomplish the near impossible…Beating Tampa Bay 4 times in a row to regain their once glorious reputation.