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Keeping it simple

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
NEWARK – Mathieu Darche is making a strong case against fancy plays.

Ask Darche what the key to winning is and more likely than not, he’ll describe a simple, systematic approach to the game. With two goals and two hits against the Devils, the gritty winger practiced what he preached on Saturday night.

Darche's first of two goals against the Devils
“He’s the type of player who just keeps things simple. On both those goals, he was driving hard to the net and that’s what we need to do,” described Brian Gionta, who earned his 400th and 401st career points off two perfect feeds to Darche on those goals. “We need to make the right plays and keep it simple but still create lots of scoring chances. When we’re doing that, we’re a tough team to beat. We need to make sure we keep that focus going into next week.”

Rewarding his coach’s decision to slot him in next to Gionta and Scott Gomez five days ago, Darche has scored three goals in as many games with his new linemates. After seeing the McGill University grad follow the game plan to a T against the Devils, Jacques Martin couldn’t help but single out his star pupil’s performance.

“Look at the two goals Darche scored tonight – those are the kinds of goals we need to score and those are the kinds of goals he’s scored this year,” praised the Habs head coach. “We played well tonight. We worked hard, we forechecked well and our execution was good.”

Bringing his season total to a career-high 12 goals – most of them the result of deflections, rebounds and net-front mêlées – Darche has been more concerned with grinding out wins than winding up on highlight reels this year.
“Like I’ve said before, we can’t be weaving all over the ice trying to make fancy plays,” explained Darche. “I went to the net and Gio made two great passes right on the tape; I just got my stick on them and they went in. We simplified our game tonight and it paid off.”

Ever the diligent student, Darche was even able to take a few lessons out of Saturday night’s win in New Jersey to share with his teammates after the game. 
“We have to remember the way we played tonight and keep that going in our next games. We had to battle for every inch against the Devils,” he emphasized. “We put a lot of pucks on net. It wasn’t necessarily pretty hockey, but it’s the kind of hockey that wins you games – especially in the playoffs.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for

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