Benoit Pouliot has had one three-point game in his career, and it came in his only meeting against a former team. Might that be a sign that the former Canadien could be in for a big night Thursday, when he faces the Habs for the first time since they non-tendered him?
On March 20 last season, Pouliot had three assists in the Habs’ 8-0 win over Minnesota, the team that drafted him fourth overall in 2005 and eventually shipped him out in 2009. Now that he’s facing the Habs, the 25-year-old forward can identify that there’s natural motivation in facing a former club.
“I think when you face your old team, you obviously want to prove, ‘Hey, you don’t want to keep me? I’ll show you,'” Pouliot said with a grin. “It pumps you up even more I think. Obviously this is going to be our first game against Montreal, but we’re going to get plenty of them all year long, so I see this as a little boost. At the same time, I’ll just play the same way I’ve been playing and rack up some points.”
A big night statistically would be a good thing for Pouliot, who has looked good in spurts put has yet to register a point this season.
Pouliot hasn’t been shy when it comes to taking digs at Habs coach Jacques Martin, who scratched him for the final four games of the first round against the B’s last season. The forward feels there was a lack of faith in him from the Canadiens coach, and when asked Thursday the difference between playing for the two teams, Pouliot said it’s the communication between he and Claude Julien .
“It’s just a matter of knowing what you do right or wrong. Maybe not hiding it, and let the guy know and he’ll work on it. It’s something that Claude’s been good to me so far,” Pouliot said. “He’s been talking to me, and the assistant coach has been talking to me all the time, [showing] video and stuff. For me personally, I just have to show up, work hard and be consistent every night in practice and games. So far, things have been going pretty well. Maybe not the points, but everything else for me is to work hard. It’s good so far. We’ve just got to start winning games and things will be good.”
Pouliot led the team during stretches at the end of Thursday’s morning skate.