TORONTO | There is always a surprise at camp. Ten days ago, we wouldn’t have bet on Mattias Norlinder. But after five preparatory matches, the Swede is the most likely to mix the cards.
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Author of a power play goal against the Maple Leafs on Monday, Norlinder also did a good job at five on five with David Savard.
At even strength, he played a little more than 16 minutes, but he spent more than seven minutes on the ice at the same time as the Leafs’ first line, that of Auston Matthews with Tyler Bertuzzi and Mitch Marner.
“It’s a really good opportunity for me,” Norlinder said in the opposing team’s small locker room at Scotiabank Arena. At the start of camp, I found it a little difficult to play on the power play. I didn’t play often on the power play last season in Laval. Today [lundi], I was happy with my match, but the whole team played well. »
On the blue line, there are currently three players on the sidelines with Mike Matheson, Gustav Lindström and Chris Wideman. If Matheson should return to action shortly, this is not the case for Wideman.
In the press scrum after the game, Martin St-Louis recognized that Norlinder was putting pressure on the organization with his play.
“I would say yes. This is the goal for every player. When you have tough decisions, it’s always a good thing. That means the group is strong. »
“I liked how he played,” continued the CH head coach. He played with a lot of confidence and good touches. He’s an intelligent player. »
The offensive of number 26
Johnathan Kovacevic set the tone for this comeback by scoring his team’s third goal. Number 26 ended his evening with a goal and an assist. Since the start of camp, the Ontarian has not hesitated to attack.
“Yes, I want to become a little more offensive,” Kovacevic replied. In hockey, you always need to improve and the game is always changing. Now the offense generates with all five players on the ice. There is no longer a defender who only operates in their territory. I worked on this aspect [offensif] during summer. »