BOSTON – Dale Weise’s remarkable work ethic is paying serious dividends for the Canadiens right now.
On Sunday night, the 26-year-old forward was up to his usual tricks, hitting the Boston Bruins right where it hurts most – on the scoreboard. Weise scored a goal and added an assist on Max Pacioretty’s game-winning tally to help the Canadiens secure a 3-1 win at TD Garden. The Habs swept the four-game season-series between the two clubs with the victory, and posted their sixth straight win over Claude Julien’s contingent in the process dating back to the 2014 playoffs.
“He’s always valuable. He’s been plugged into different roles, and with the role he’s in right now [on a top line], you get a little bit more of the glory. He’s putting pucks in the net. He set me up for a breakaway [for the goal],” praised Pacioretty, who lit the lamp 56 seconds into the third period after Weise hit him with a perfect feed from his knees to send the Canadiens’ No. 67 in all alone on Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask. “He’s always been useful, but it’s good to see him get a lot of recognition. He definitely deserves it.”
The numbers suggest that Pacioretty is absolutely right. Weise has put up three goals and five points in his last three games, and he is proving to be a thorn in the side of every team he goes up against at every opportunity.
“You’ve got to give credit to Weisey. He manages to have chemistry with everyone he plays with. He’s got the right mindset. I think that’s the biggest thing. He’s going in there and he knows he’s going to be the hardest worker out there,” explained Pacioretty, who led all players on both teams with six shots on goal on Sunday night while logging 18:23 of ice time. “At the same time, he’s got an undercover skill set that allows him to make plays for his linemates. It’s been a pleasure playing with him. We hope to continue contributing to some wins as the season rolls along.”
So, how does Weise explain his success as of late, most notably since lining up alongside the likes of Pacioretty and David Desharnais? True to form, the hard-nosed forward says it all comes down to a tremendous group effort.
“I don’t have the answer why things are clicking for me. Our line just has a lot of chemistry. Me, Davey and Patch love playing together. Early in the year, when we had some shifts together, we just had some instant chemistry,” confided Weise, who now boasts nine goals, 22 points and a plus-14 differential in 49 games during the 2014-15 campaign. “Getting a chance to play together for full games, we’re really getting comfortable with each other. We just feel dangerous every chance we get to go out there.”
The Bruins learned just how dangerous the trio really is on Sunday night. Combining for 11 shots of the Canadiens’ 34 shots, containing the three forwards proved far too hard to handle for a club that prides itself primarily on intimidating their opponents with their size and physicality.
“[Sweeping the season series] means a lot. That’s a good hockey team over there. I think that says a lot about our team. They played well right to the end. Carey made some unbelievable saves like he does every night to help us,” mentioned Weise, referencing Price’s 34-save performance in front of a hostile crowd in Beantown. “It gives us a lot of confidence beating a team like that.”
Price shared similar thoughts in the aftermath of the Canadiens’ 34th win of the season, one that brought them to within two points of tying the Tampa Bay Lightning for top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
“That’s what they are. They’re a really good team. They’re well structured. They work hard. They’ve got all the characteristics of a good playoff team,” offered Price, whose 208th career victory allowed him to tie Hall-of-Famer Bill Durnan for fourth place on the Canadiens’ all-time wins list. “I don’t doubt that if we want to get to our ultimate goal, we’ll see them again.”
Fortunately, they’ll have plenty of character guys like Weise in tow should that playoff matchup materialize at some point in the not so distant future.
“Everybody’s got to come in the league and try to make their mark,” concluded Weise, a five-year NHL vet. “I did what I had to do to stay in the league when I came in, and now I’m getting a great opportunity to show what kind of skills I have.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
SEE ALSOThe Numbers Game - February 8, 2015
A perfect balance Playing with the big boys