Jonathan Drouin’s feel-good story hit a crescendo Wednesday night as Drouin scored a goal but it was overshadowed by the Montreal Canadiens anemic powerplay, including squandering a nearly two-minute two-man advantage in their 2-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
It was a good start for Drouin, playing in his first game since leaving the team right before a game on April 23 in Calgary. Later reports indicated that he was dealing with anxiety and insomnia.
Healthy and ready to play again, it was fitting that Jonathan Drouin scored the first Canadiens goal this season.
“It’s better, my head’s clearer, I’m more in the game when the game’s there,” said Drouin. “I don’t want to go into details but definitely going to the rink today was a completely different experience than the last couple of years.”
What makes the goal even more important is the rebuttal to the constant criticism directed at the talented playmaker for his inability to score last season. While two goals in 44 games are far from impressive, his strength is passing and helping his teammates score. Drouin became so frustrated by the questions about his goal total that at one point last season he responded to those questions by saying “there’s a column on the right, you know.”
For now, he’s the only Montreal Canadiens player with a stat line in the column on the left.
“It was a nice relief to get a goal and last year I was getting told to score more goals and blah blah blah,” said Drouin. “It was nice to get one but would have been good to get the two points instead.”
The goal could have been the story. He seems to be developing chemistry with Christian Dvorak and Josh Anderson. Anderson’s pass on the goal couldn’t have been prettier.
Instead, the focus will be the Canadiens failure on the power play. The Maple Leafs got a goal with the man advantage from Pierre Engvall and Montreal didn’t. One goal, that was the difference in the game. To boot, they had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:44 and only mustered up a pathetic one shot on goal. They were 0-for-4 on the power play.
“I didn’t like our pace, our intensity to get out of their pressure,” said Canadiens’ coach Dominique Ducharme. “I think that’s the difference tonight for sure, having a 5-on-3 in the third trailing by one you need to capitalize on that.”
Mike Hoffman can’t get healthy soon enough.