Sean Monahan is gone, but life goes on, or rather, “the league goes on,” as Martin St-Louis reiterated on Monday lunchtime.
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For the Canadian, the continued existence of the league means a move to Washington, where he will face the Capitals on Tuesday evening. Since Monahan held multiple roles within the Montreal team, some of his former teammates' job definitions could obviously be changed somewhat.
A situation that fits perfectly with that other fond expression of the Habs head coach: a replacement “by committee.”
Nick Suzuki and Jakes Evans, already stuck in minutes, will be unlikely to be able to contribute more than what they are currently doing.
“I don't know if Suzy will have more responsibility. “We can’t just put it on his shoulders,” St-Louis agreed. It could happen that he makes more throw-ins on the left side. But other players have to take the wheel [stepper up].”
“We will have reinforcements soon,” added St-Louis, speaking of the impending return of Alex Newhook (possibly this weekend).
Pearson at the first session
By then, Tanner Pearson will be a little more in demand. At Monday's practice, he took over Monahan's place as the center of the first session. The 31-year-old striker isn't necessarily heading into uncharted territory, as he typically holds that mandate in the second unit.
“In this position I am not as patient as Mony. I have more of a shooter mentality,” Pearson said.
He recognizes that playing with Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Juraj Slafkovsky and Mike Matheson presents a slightly different challenge and admits he will have to make some adjustments.
“I have to ask them questions and ask them where they want me in very specific situations. I have to read them well but not try to do too much,” said the former Kings and Canucks player.
Despite the announced reinforcements, Evans must make the most of the opportunity presented to him if he wants to prove that he is worth more than just the role of a fourth-line player. He still has 33 games left.
In addition, he himself is not entirely satisfied with his offensive game since St-Louis offered him a promotion to one of the first units.
“I would like to enjoy it a little more. There were games where I was disappointed with my creativity in attack. I have to find a way to be more consistent in this aspect of the game,” he stressed.
Montembeault, player of the month
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in Washington on Tuesday. Will Brandon Gignac and Lucas Condotta both be in the lineup? Will St-Louis prefer a formation with eleven attackers and seven defenders?
Getty Images via AFP
One thing is certain: it is Samuel Montembeault who will be subjected to the shots of Alex Ovetschkin and his gang. Since the Christmas break, the masked man from Bécancour has featured in practically every other game.
Furthermore, his efforts were rewarded last month as he won the Molson Cup in January.
In seven games, he posted a 3.50 goals average and .909 efficiency percentage, in addition to a 4-2-1 record.
One might ask whether this is a good sign. During this period, Montembeault was confronted with, among other things, a barrage of 48, 41 and 46 shots. He won two of those games and suffered an overtime loss in the other.
“If I had gotten so many shots without us winning the games, I might not have won the cup. That means the boys did a good job and scored goals. Some nights they scored three or four goals when I was in front of the net,” said Montembeault, a good player.
Despite all the vaccinations he is receiving, he fully deserves the raise he will receive starting next year.