MONTREAL – All it took was a little heart-to-heart.
After a 10-game scoreless streak, Andrei Kostitsyn was back to his sniping ways on Saturday night. On the scoresheet, the assist may have officially gone to Jeff Halpern, but head coach Jacques Martin also deserves some credit for giving the 25-year-old a helping hand on the play.
Following Friday’s practice, the Habs’ bench boss had a sit down with Kostitsyn to help him get back on track. Mission accomplished. So what exactly did the two talk about during the meeting?
“That’s just between me and him,” said Kostitsyn with a smile. “We just talked about my situation and my ice time. Things like why I’m playing on the fourth line and why I wasn’t playing on the power play. It was good. I had more ice time and it helped and it will keep going well next game, too.”
While what exactly was said between Kostitsyn and his coach during the tête-à-tête after practice will remain between them, 21,273 fans in attendance were able to see the results first-hand against the Rangers.
Moved from his usual spot flanking Tomas Plekanec
and Michael Cammalleri to fourth-line duties alongside Jeff Halpern and Travis Moen
, Kostitsyn has seen his ice time and his productivity dip of late. It may not have been the heavy workload he was hoping for, but according to his coach, the shifty winger earned every second of his 14:21 against the Rangers.
“It’s nice to see a reaction from Andrei,” described Martin after seeing Kostitsyn hammer home the game-winner in the second period. “I felt that he gave us a strong game, not just because of the goal but his line with Travis and Jeff played against a tough line in Boyle and those guys. That’s a very good line for the Rangers, they have a lot of size and they go to the net aggressively. I thought [Andrei] did a very good job.”
His coach may have been happy to see the puck finally go in for the Belarusian winger, but no one at the Bell Centre was celebrating harder than Kostitsyn himself after scoring his 11th goal of the season.
“It feels great. The last time I scored was a month or two ago and I’m just really happy when I score goals,” laughed Kostitsyn, who was also the game’s third star. “I scored a long time ago and that’s why I was so happy to score that goal tonight. That’s been my game; for the last 20 games, it’s just been chip the puck, put the puck on net and go change. When I score, it always feels better.”Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.
See also:Postgame comments: Martin
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