BROSSARD – There’s a lot to like about the way Sven Andrighetto is going about his business these days.
His scoring touch was on full display on Sunday afternoon when he beat Carolina Hurricanes netminder Cam Ward in Round 5 of the shootout to lift the Canadiens to a 2-1 win at the Bell Centre. That marked the second time that Andrighetto had notched a shootout winner this season, having previously accomplished the feat back in late November against New Jersey.
Head coach Michel Therrien has been impressed by Andrighetto during his most recent call-up from St. John’s, which came on Jan. 31. Since then, the Swiss forward has played in the Canadiens’ last three games and he continues to earn Therrien’s praise with every outing.
“I really liked the way he played Saturday [against Edmonton]. I thought he was quick. He was dynamic, too. This is what he has to be like every game. For a young player to be able to do that, though, is demanding. He knows when he’s on top of his game. When he is, he’s really quick,” said Therrien, who has given Andrighetto the opportunity to suit up for 20 games with the CH so far this year.
“He’s got an opportunity to prove what he can do. It’s up to him to take it,” added Therrien, who has turned to Andrighetto for help up front in the absence of speedsters Paul Byron and Daniel Carr. “There are some games where he can be creative offensively. He’s quick on the puck and he makes good decisions. He always had success offensively in the QMJHL and in the AHL. Now, he has to adapt to the NHL level.”
Andrighetto is committed to doing just that. A member of the Canadiens organization since being selected in the third round – 86th overall – in 2013, the 22-year-old has set the bar especially high for himself with two-plus seasons of pro hockey under his belt after wrapping up his Junior career with Rouyn-Noranda in 2012-13.
“Every call-up is a chance. You’ve got to show yourself every single game. You’re just as good as your last game. Obviously, it’s a great opportunity,” said Andrighetto, who has been recalled on three separate occasions during the 2015-16 campaign, including twice in the month of January alone. “I’ve learned to take things day by day, along with the importance of consistency and being on your game every single night, especially every single shift. You want to make a difference every time you’re out there. You’ve got to be ready.”
While it isn’t easy for any player to be shuffled between the big club and the AHL ranks over the course of a season, Andrighetto continues to take things in stride. He knows there really isn’t any way around it as he battles to eventually secure himself a full-time spot in Montreal.
“It’s a process for me. I’m a young guy. The best thing is to be positive. I’ve still got so much to learn to play in this league and stay in this league. I’m not taking it negatively at all,” explained Andrighetto, who has four goals and five points with the Canadiens, in addition to putting up 10 goals and 23 points in 26 games with Sylvain Lefebvre’s squad this season. “I look at it as moving forward and I’m getting more experience.”
With that in mind, Andrighetto knows full-well there’s still room for improvement.
“With the role that I’m playing, I’ve got to create scoring chances. The last two or three games before I got sent down there [again], I didn’t really create a lot,” admitted Andrighetto, who generated five shots on goal over the weekend, but was held off the scoresheet. “I’m able to do that now, using my speed more and just focusing on the little details instead of just focusing on the end result.”
Feeling confident coming off scoring the game-deciding goal on Super Bowl Sunday, it will be interesting to see how Andrighetto fares going forward.
“It’s definitely a good feeling to be able to help the team win the game. I got the opportunity to go in the shootout. Thankfully, I scored,” shared Andrighetto. “We still have 28 games left and we’re taking things game by game. You never know what can happen. We’ll see where it brings us.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
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