Ottawa Senators’ Gabriel Dumont, right, tangles with Montreal Canadiens’ Jonathan Drouin during first period NHL hockey action Wednesday, November 29, 2017 in Montreal. It was a rough weekend for 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 CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

Pair of wins ease pain of rough weekend for Canadiens centre Drouin

BROSSARD, Que. — 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 it 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.

“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.”

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.”

Just Posted

Tens of thousands across the US march for gun control

WASHINGTON — Summoned by student survivors of the Florida school shooting, tens… Continue reading

Canyon Ski Resort season wraps up Sunday

Central Alberta skiers and snowboarders only have a couple more days to… Continue reading

Future space crunch is feared, as no new schools for Red Deer are in the budget

Only local modernization will be at Father Lacombe Catholic School in Lacombe

A million dollars for Red Deer hospital is not nearly enough, says Mayor Veer

Mayor is concerned Red Deer hospital is still not on province’s five-year capital list

WATCH: Hundreds come to Red Deer Rebels Fan Fest

The Red Deer Rebels met with legions of their of fans just… Continue reading

Supreme Court rules former Stephen Harper aide guilty of influence peddling

OTTAWA — Canada’s highest court has upheld an influence peddling conviction against… Continue reading

2 killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking

PARIS — An armed man took hostages in a supermarket in southern… Continue reading

READER PHOTO: Red Deer students celebrate Canadian courage at Juno Beach

Teenagers from Red Deer’s Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School are learning about… Continue reading

UN report: Loss of plants, animals making a lonelier planet

WASHINGTON — New United Nations scientific reports diagnose that Earth is getting… Continue reading

Excavator frees dolphins trapped by pack ice in Newfoundland harbour

HEARTS DELIGHT, N.L. — A pod of dolphins trapped by pack ice… Continue reading

Structure fire destroys home in Mirror

A house in Mirror is completely damaged due to an overnight structure… Continue reading

Trudeau warns senators not to thwart will of Canadians on marijuana bill

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is reminding senators that his government… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month