In the Habs’ room: Michael Pezzetta takes advantage of his opportunity

The drafted rookie scores the Canadiens’ lone goal in a 5-1 loss to the Bruins and buys time on the power play by working hard every shift.

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The bottom six forwards rarely get power play time, but Canadiens coach Dominique Ducharme gave rookie Michael Pezzetta some PP time on Wednesday because he deserved it.

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“He came in the second period and he was skating and he was physical, then he was rewarded with a goal and some of the other guys weren’t doing as well, so he had more (opportunities),” Ducharme said. after the loss to the Canadians. 5-1 against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden.

Pezzetta played just over 12 minutes, but it was hard to ignore him when he was on the ice. He scored Montreal’s only goal as he moved in front of the net and connected after Brett Kulak’s shot hit him in the chest. He played the agitator, taking a penalty and shooting one as he delivered three solid hits.

“I really like playing against those guys,” said Pezzetta, who scored his two NHL goals against the Bruins. “There was a lot of hard play, which I like, but obviously it wasn’t the result we wanted today.”

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Pezzetta is one of the feel-good stories for the Canadiens during this dismal season. He was a sixth-round pick in 2016 and would still be fighting for ice time in Laval if the Canadiens hadn’t been ravaged by injuries and COVID.

“You never know what tomorrow is going to bring, especially for someone like me,” Pezzetta said. “I want to stay with this team (and) every day is a trial for me. There are no easy days for me. Every day I have to go out there and give my 100%. There are guys coming back from injuries (and) you can’t control some things, but I can control how hard I work and how heartily I play. I never want anyone to question that.

Pezzetta’s short-term future with the Canadiens became shaky earlier Wednesday when the Canadiens claimed forward Rem Pitlick off waivers from the Minnesota Wild. The acquisition will trigger a player move for the Canadiens, as NHL rules require the Canadiens to find him a spot on the 23-man roster.

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Montreal faces a surplus of forwards, with Tyler Toffoli, Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher and Paul Byron set to join the team at some point during this seven-game road trip. Laurent Dauphin and Lukas Vejdemo are also tagged for a return to the AHL and no one should be surprised if Cole Caufield returns to the Laval to work on his confidence. He was among several players who were not postmen Wednesday with a shot on goal.

The 24 year old Pitlick had 11 points, including six goals, in 20 games with the Wild this season. He can play in the center or on the right wing.

As the Canadiens welcomed Jeff Petry, Mike Hoffman and Christian Dvorak to the roster on Wednesday, the injury crisis struck again. Goaltender Jake Allen, playing his first game since Dec. 14, left the game in the first period with what appeared to be a groin injury. Normally, that could open up an opportunity for rookie Cayden Primeau. He will dress Thursday against Chicago, but is coming out of 10 days of COVID isolation in the United States and may not be fit for the game.

Petry was solid in her first game since Dec. 16, and Hoffman threw some power-play bombs. Dvorak struggled in the face-off circle, which had been his only redeeming quality before the injury, and he was 3-under that night. He is the team’s worst under 16 this season.

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  3. Jake Allen, who left the NHL's COVID-19 protocol roster, will make his first start in goal for the Canadiens since Dec. 14.

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