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Danault: 'We have to pay attention to the small details'

The Canadiens sat down and watched some video on Friday in order to learn from their mistakes

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

BROSSARD - After the way things played out in the home opener, head coach Claude Julien held a team meeting on Friday at the Bell Sports Complex.

A video session was on the docket in order to prepare his group for a big matchup against the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

Sessions like these aren't focused solely on showcasing errors, though. The veteran bench boss insists that highlighting good habits is important, too.

"You show the areas where there were mistakes, but you also show things that will encourage the guys to play the right way," said Julien. "You have corrections, but you have some positives to show as well. We don't want the guys to leave here frustrated. We want them to be motivated to play well."

Video: Claude Julien's press conference

According to Phillip Danault, the coaching staff placed a real emphasis on fine-tuning the penalty kill, which is operating at a 66.7% clip through four games.

The Canadiens have conceded five power play goals to date, which has them tied for second in the League in that department alongside Tampa Bay and Columbus. Only New Jersey has given up more goals while down a man with seven.

"The option for the cross-ice pass is often available for the opposing team. Every team has players with excellent shots. [Anthony] Mantha took advantage of it, and that was also the case for [Auston] Matthews in Toronto," explained Danault. "Those passes are dangerous. We have to pay attention to the small details on the penalty kill."

Artturi Lehkonen is certainly in agreement there. The Canadiens' most-utilized forward in short-handed situations is adamant that some serious improvement is required.

"We know we've got to clear some things up," stressed Lehkonen. "We've got to be more alert when we go on the PK, know our assignments and what we have to do to get the job done."

Video: Artturi Lehkonen on the team meeting

For his part, defenseman Christian Folin mentioned that a key takeaway from the meeting was a need to step things up cohesion-wise on the ice.

"It's good for everyone to sit down and kind of walk through it together and figure out what we need to improve on," indicated Folin. "We need to play as a five-man unit out there. We've got to stick together and stay a little tighter in terms of the gap between forwards and defensemen. If we do that, that's when we're going to have success."

And if the line of Danault and wingers Tomas Tatar and Brendan Gallagher returns to form, that would undoubtedly help the Canadiens' cause, too.

"It's a little bit like the rest of the team, we aren't playing well together," said Danault, regarding his trio. "We have to get back to basics. We have to start doing the little things that we did well last year. We'll get back on the same page. I'm not worried."

Video: Phillip Danault on the play of his line

Neither is Julien so early in the campaign.

"It's not that they aren't clicking. These are things that happen from time to time in hockey. Their line isn't performing up to the level that we're familiar with," evaluated Julien. "As a group, they have to be better, and as individuals that's what they want to do. They want to get back in sync and get their confidence back playing together. I haven't lost confidence in them at all, but they haven't started the way they finished last year."

Overall, though, the bottom line is rather simple when it comes to righting the ship.

"We aren't working well as a team. It's just some small adjustments that we have to make. It's really the small details that will make our team 100 times better," concluded Danault. "We all know that, and we saw it in the video."

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