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Key pieces to the puzzle

Jordan Weal and Paul Byron represent significant assets for Claude Julien during the 2019-20 season

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

BROSSARD - Carey Price's performance was an important factor in Saturday night's win at Scotiabank Arena, but Claude Julien's line juggling certainly played a key role as well.

With the Canadiens down 3-1 through 40 minutes of play in Toronto, the veteran head coach was hoping to create a spark.

He most notably paired wingers Jonathan Drouin and Paul Byron with Max Domi, which had the desired effect. Drouin cut into the Maple Leafs' lead with his first goal of the season.

Video: MTL@TOR: Drouin nets goal off defender in front

Fortunately, Julien can count on some serious depth up front when moving his forwards around.

"We have four well-balanced lines. Claude can make many small adjustments with them, just like he did on Saturday," explained Drouin. "I didn't score my nicest goal, but we created momentum and we turned the tide a bit."

Video: Jonathan Drouin on his start to the season

It isn't the first time during his tenure behind the Habs' bench that Julien has turned to Byron to get things going. The speedy forward is capable of delivering the goods in a variety of game situations, and can even be counted on to score a shootout-winner.   

Video: MTL@TOR: Byron slips puck five-hole in shootout

The 30-year-old veteran has a good understanding of the work expected of him.

"That's my role. I think I can play with any player on this team. I do my best to create space for my teammates," mentioned Byron. "I'm very comfortable at every position, whether on the left or right wing, and even at center. I'm a kind of "Swiss Army knife" and I give 110% to help the team."

Video: Paul Byron on the Canadiens' offense

Like Byron, fellow forward Jordan Weal can also adapt his game to any assignment. The 27-year-old represents another all-important asset for Julien given his comfort level on the wing, up the middle and on the power play.

Julien acknowledges that Byron and Weal will serve the Canadiens well all season long.

"They're very versatile players. We can play them anywhere in the lineup. They can be on the first line or on the power play. Paul can also kill penalties. We have a lot of flexibility with these types of players. They can help out at different positions," stressed Julien. "They're two former centermen. They have a lot of different aspects to their games. They can help us in many different situations."

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