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Smarty pants

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – After racking up 10 points in three games, the Pouliot-Halpern-Darche line is starting to look like the Habs’ not-so-secret weapon these days.

With their stellar play, the gritty trio hasn’t just turned a few heads around the league; they’ve also gained a new nickname with members of the media. With Princeton grad Jeff Halpern centering Benoit Pouliot and McGill alum Mathieu Darche, the newly-dubbed “Ph.D line” has been earning some serious extra credit in the last few games.

WATCH: Pouliot-Halpern-Darche highlights
“You sure you really want to put Benny in that category?” joked Darche of his line’s cerebral nickname. “We heard people call us that on Friday, but we’re just keeping things simple.  You don’t need a Ph.D to play a simple game and just get pucks to the net.
“It’s definitely a lot easier for him to play with us,” added the 33-year-old Montreal native. “We always joke that he’s really bringing up the average talent level on our line. We all bring different elements and it seems to be working.”

While he may not have the University credentials of his other two linemates, Pouliot has been conducting his own private tutorials in Goal Scoring 101 in the last few games. Earning first-star honors by notching the game-tying and game-winning goals on Friday night, the Alfred, ON native is loving playing alongside his brainy new sidekicks.
“I don’t know what’s going on with our line,” shrugged Pouliot, who is also a plus-4 so far this season. “Darche is doing a great job going into the corners and battling for pucks and Halpern is winning his draws. When you start out with the puck, it makes it that much easier.

“We’re maybe not the most talented line on the team, but we’re working hard and we’re keeping the puck in their zone and it’s paying off for us,” offered the 6-foot-3 winger. “Darche and Halpern are looking for me on the ice and I’m trying to do the same for them.”

He may have an Ivy League diploma, but Halpern still isn’t taking all the credit for his line’s ability to outsmart their opponents on the ice. 

“Darche is definitely the nerd on the team,” laughed the 10-year NHL veteran. “He loves hockey and he talks about it all the time. It’s great for me because I like being able to talk things over with the guys. Benoit just seems to go with what we say off the ice and we’re just trying to follow his lead on it.”

Shauna Denis is a writer for 

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