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Drouin says 'I have to give a little more' to Canadiens

Forward seeking consistency after late-season slump contributed to missing playoffs @NHLdotcom

Jonathan Drouin said he knows it's time for a breakthrough season in the NHL with the Montreal Canadiens.

"I have to give a little more," the forward said during his golf tournament at Le Club Laval-sur-le-Lac in Laval, Quebec, on Thursday. 

Drouin matched his NHL career high of 53 points (18 goals, 35 assists) and led the Canadiens with 16 power-play points (three goals, 13 assists) last season, but had 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) over the final 30 games. The Canadiens (44-30-8) finished 14th in the NHL after they were 28th (29-40-13) the season before, but finished two points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. 

Drouin, who had three points (one goal, two assists) in his final 18 games, took some of the blame for that. 

"Who knows, if it weren't for those 30 games I had at the end of last year, maybe we're in the playoffs," Drouin said. "For me, it's just to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know that I did something to be able to help our team make the playoffs this year."

The No. 3 pick by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2013 NHL Draft, Drouin was acquired in a trade with the Lightning for defenseman Mikhail Sergachev on June 15, 2017. 

He said he is determined to be a factor for Montreal all season.   

"Last year, I fell off towards the end of the season," he said. "This summer, I looked at why that happened and at the things that I can change so that it doesn't happen this year. I have to be consistent for 82 games. We came close to making the playoffs, but we still have a little bit left to go to get there. Everyone is able to give a little bit more, and I need to give even more than that."

Video: 31 in 31: Montreal Canadiens 2019-20 season preview

Drouin broke down video with Canadiens assistant Dominique Ducharme, his coach in Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, during the offseason. He scored 41 goals in 2012-13 and had 108 points (29 goals, 79 assists) the following season playing for Ducharme. He has 194 points (60 goals, 134 assists) in 322 NHL games.

"It's good," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "Jonathan's always had good intentions, and he still does. He's looking to improve, and he wants to be an impact player. He's really young, we're still very hopeful about him, and we like the direction he's going in. He took charge of his situation and he wants to become a good hockey player. Those are all encouraging signs for our future."

The 24-year-old forward also worked on getting lighter, regaining his speed and making the easy play. 

"From a mental standpoint, I don't feel bad at all, and I'm not at a point where I hate my game and stuff," he said. "I feel comfortable in my own shoes, in what I'm doing. With the summer I've had, what I've done, I'm comfortable. I've said that in the past few years but now I have to be more consistent for 82 games.

"Everyone's training in order to be able to get a head start on everyone else. I did a few small things and I'm happy to be back." managing editor Sebastien Deschambault contributed to this report 

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