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Benn's got jets

The Habs defenseman's beautiful pass on Tuesday is just another sign of a strong 2018-19 campaign

by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - If you didn't jump out of your seat when you saw The Pass, you should check it out again.

In fact, we'll put it right here so you can have a look right away. We know Jordie Benn did a double-take himself after Tuesday night's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Video: CBJ@MTL: Benn feeds Tatar for go-ahead tally

"I definitely watched it after. Even if I score, I don't want to get that excited. Guys who score a lot know what they're doing. When I score, I'm just thankful it went in," he cracked.

Benn didn't score last night, but he was the author of a perfect centering pass that Tomas Tatar tapped home late in the third period to give the Habs the win and end their four-game winless streak.

The play was just one more sign that the 31-year-old rearguard is playing some solid hockey this season.

"Every year, you're just trying to get better," outlined Benn, who has four goals, 11 assists, and a plus-10 differential in 59 games. "The tough years you have like last year, you just have to learn from it. Every guy here, we've all gone through slumps. It's a sport; there are ups and downs. You just have to learn from the downs and try and ride the ups as long as you can."

Video: Jordie Benn on his confidence this season

Not only is he playing well, but the veteran of eight NHL seasons has been a mentor and a leader for those younger guys coming up the ranks in Montreal.

"He's a great guy on and off the ice. He's really funny and has good character," shared sophomore defenseman Victor Mete. "He's always talking to us, the young guys, and making jokes. He's definitely one of the better guys."

Video: Victor Mete on Jordie Benn

Despite all the praise being heaped on the Victoria native, Benn humbly reminded reporters that he was just one piece of the puzzle.

"I'm just eating up minutes. We want Webby [Shea Weber] out there as much as possible," admitted Benn, who's averaged 18:19 of ice time this season. "The minutes I can eat up is good."

Head coach Claude Julien has seen a marked improvement in his defensive corps as the season has worn on. And not that he's trying to take anything away from the work put in by any of his rearguards, but the upward trend has much to do with the return of the aforementioned 6-foot-4, 229-pound blue-liner.

"There were a lot of guys who were asked to do more than they normally would. That's the way it is in this League: certain guys are good in certain areas, they bring a lot of good things," explained Julien. "If you ask them to do more they will, but over a period of time it catches up. The fact that Shea came back and everybody just fell in the right places really made a difference."

Video: Claude Julien's post-practice press conference

Fond memories for Byron, Giroux

Elsewhere in the room, forward Paul Byron - who celebrated his 400th career game with a goal against the Blue Jackets - was excited for his former Gatineau Olympiques teammate, Claude Giroux, who is having his jersey retired by the Junior club on Wednesday night.

"We won the President Cup together in 2008. It was the best experience we had together. It was an incredible year. During the playoffs, our line was on another level. We had a lot of fun together," recalled Byron, who will join Giroux at the Robert-Guertin Centre for the ceremony. "It's going to be an incredible night. It'll be fun to participate."

Video: Byron on Claude Giroux's Junior jersey being retired

The Habs are scheduled to have a morning skate at 11:00 a.m. ahead of their game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

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