Théo Rochette, Zachary Bolduc and Conor Frenette do not put their heads in the sand. The members of the first line of the Quebec Remparts know full well that they will have to be better if they hope to win against the Shawinigan Cataractes.
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The first unit of the Red Devils has not been a shadow of itself for a few games, particularly since the second meeting of the series against the Océanic de Rimouski.
In Thursday's 1-0 overtime loss to the Cataractes, they were shot-less, down three in the first 60 minutes.
"The goal in the playoffs is to win, so when the team wins, it's okay if you don't score. On the other hand, after a 1-0 loss in overtime, you come home and you start thinking about what you could have done. Of course it gets a bit mental,” admitted Rochette, who has been shut out in his last five games.
One thing is certain, they want to get out of it. Friday, when it was a day off for everyone, Rochette, Bolduc and Frenette took time to discuss possible solutions with the coaching staff. Today, after training, they got together to watch the videos of their appearances in order to understand what went wrong.
For Patrick Roy, the solution is in their hands and that is why he repeated today that he has no intention of separating his first line.
“Theo and Zach performed and were our best players all year. I don't see why I would make any changes. [...] It's just a matter of finding a way. We are in partnership with them. We just want to find out how we can help them generate more offense. You have to accompany them because they are not alone in this. We don't send them under the bus and tell them, "Make it easy." »
Trust and involvement
It's cliché, but the three forwards all said the same thing today when meeting with the media: they need to simplify their game, which will allow them to regain the confidence that allowed them to enjoy success in the regular season. .
“When things don't work out, sometimes you think you have to try something special. Still, keeping the games simple and making the ones with the highest success percentage helps you regain your confidence. »
More physically involved
For Bolduc, he and his line partners may have moved away from what had allowed them to have success in the second half of the season.
“For me, I need to be more involved physically and in the moment in each of my one-on-one battles. I think guys are a bit like that too.
"It's up to us to find a way since we did it during the season. It's not that we can't do it in the playoffs, but right now we're not playing the hockey we can play. We had a good practice today and I'm confident we'll straighten things out on Sunday. »
The Remparts will be in hostile territory tomorrow afternoon, when the Gervais Auto center will be packed for the third game of the series against the Cataractes.
For Patrick Roy, however, it does not change much.
“Our approach will not change. We will focus on what we have to do and welcome the challenge. They make a big deal out of the fact that their arena is going to be full, but we can't control that. What we can control is how we approach the game. We want to play with the same confidence defensively while being a little better in attack, in our decision-making, our choices of play and our level of competition around the net. »
For veteran Conor Frenette, the crowd can even be a motivation for the Remparts.
“We are confident to go play there. The atmosphere will be incredible and we accept the challenge. »
Certainly, the "seventh player" can have an impact in a game. However, on the side of the Cataracts, it is not the presence of an imposing crowd alone that will help them beat the Remparts.
"Whether the crowd is cheering you on or cheering on the opposing team, it's still noise.
“We can play in Shawinigan, but Quebec can feed on that as much. If the crowd creates an atmosphere, it creates it for both teams. It's just fun because the more people there are, the more it creates a state of mind and an atmosphere, ”said Daniel Renaud after Game 2, Thursday evening.
Another advantage in favor of the Cataractes: Daniel Renaud will be able to choose a little more against whom he wants to use Mavrik Bourque's trio.
During the two games in Quebec, Patrick Roy used, "99.9% of the time", the lines of Théo Rochette and Nathan Gaucher. It could be different tomorrow night and Monday.
"It's Dan who will have the last change, so it may be more difficult to have the ideal matchups. On the other hand, I have confidence in Mikaël Huchette, and his line was probably our best since the start of the playoffs.
“Same thing for Xavier Filion and Zachary Gravel who play good hockey. So I'm comfortable no matter what matchup he sends me. »