After the Montreal Canadiens’ win in Game 1 over the Toronto Maple Leafs, head coach Dominique Ducharme has make a single lineup change, inserting Jesperi Kotkaniemi into the formation in the place of Jake Evans.
Dominique Ducharme confirms Jesperi Kotkaniemi comes in for Jake Evans tonight.— Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) May 22, 2021
Evans tried to play after spending some time in the dressing room in Game 1, but was unable to finish the game. While the head coach said it wasn’t a serious injury at the time, it is enough to hold Evans out of Game 2.
It was always a controversial decision to sit Kotkaniemi for the first game after his play in last year’s post-season, even with some struggles with confidence down the final stretch this year. It was only a matter of time before he made his way back in, and that debut will happen in the second game of the series.
The young centreman quarterbacked a power-play unit from the half-wall around the point of the season that the man advantage was most dangerous. The coaching staff will hope his play can help them bounce back from a zero-for-five perfomance in that situation on Thursday.