MONTREAL – Sometimes, all you need is another chance.
A man of his word, Dale Weise got his two games ago and has been running with it ever since.
After starting the season a minus-3 following three games on the road, sitting out the next two in favor of Travis Moen, the 26-year-old forward is back in the lineup, making good on his promise to stay there with a pair of impressive performances opposite Detroit and New York.
Content to allow his strong play do the talking thus far, by adding a pair of assists on Saturday, Weise can nevertheless also count on a couple of lobbyists to back him up in his corner.
“We’re lucky to have a guy like Weise in our lineup. He was fantastic [on Tuesday against Detroit] and he was fantastic again tonight,” offered Max Pacioretty, who cashed in on Weise’s pass from behind the net to make it 3-1 early in the third. “He’s the perfect example of the kind of depth we have. He can play in and out of the lineup on all four lines. When you have guys making plays who can be inserted on any line it really makes things a lot easier for your team.”
And when you’re trying to get your coach’s attention, it also doesn’t hurt if the plays just happen to be spectacular.
“He came flying off the bench and as soon he let the puck off his stick I knew it was going to land right on my tape. It shows the type of skill set he has. We’re lucky to have him in the lineup right now,” acknowledged Pacioretty, who helped open the scoring with an incredible play himself, going back and forth on a shorthanded 2-on-0 with Tomas Plekanec.
Even Lars Eller, who for his own part had an inspired outing, scoring his first goal of the season – which also happened to count as the game-winner in an emotional Eastern Conference Final rematch – couldn’t help but be impressed.
“That was some pass from Weise [on Pacioretty’s goal]. He’s been playing well over the last two games [since being inserted into the lineup] and all credit goes to him," insisted Eller. "He deserves to be on the scoresheet.”
Beautiful as it may have been, Weise insists that all it really comes down to is keeping good company on the ice.
“I heard Pacioretty call for the pass, so I knew he was there while I also had a defenseman on my back,” explained the Winnipeg native, who prior to this week, played his first three games of the season on the Canadiens’ fourth line. “I tried to get the puck to him as quickly as possible. He’s an excellent shooter and he wasn’t going to miss from there.”
Likewise for his Danish linemate, Weise had nothing but praise for Eller.
“He’s got some tremendous skills. He’s easy to play with and he’s always going to make nice plays so I enjoy being on the ice with him,” lauded Weise. “We work hard, and that’s the foundation of our line. We throw pucks up front and crash the net.”
On a night when his head coach celebrated his 600th career NHL game behind the bench with a win, Weise meanwhile wasn’t about to give Michel Therrien any easy decisions to make over the coming days.
“Every game I play, I’ve got to give him a reason not to take me out of the lineup. That’s just the situation we’re in here – it’s just the way it is,” stressed the resourceful forward. “But I think it’s good. It keeps everyone on their toes, and for me personally – as cliché as it may sound – I just focus on the next game and try to keep playing my best.”
Steven Nechay is a writer for canadiens.com.
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