Gabriel Dumont 'earned his right' to stay with Lightning
Lightning forward Gabriel Dumont emphatically pumped both arms in the air, and let out a huge grin after scoring Tuesday night.
You can't blame him. It's been a long time coming.
Dumont's goal was his first in the NHL in nearly four years, his last coming in April 2013 while with the Canadiens. That was the last time Dumont, 26, had this long of a look, his fresh start with the Lightning paying off.
Dumont, called up by AHL Syracuse last month, has played in 12 games, nearly as many as he got in five years in the Canadiens organization. He signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay July 1.
"(The Canadiens) were seeing me as a certain type of player, a certain way," Dumont said. "And here I got a fresh start. I'm just glad to be here."
Dumont might have gotten called up earlier had he not suffered a couple injuries at the beginning of the season while with the Crunch. But since Dumont joined Tampa Bay's lineup, he's been a fixture on the fourth line, bringing constant energy and grit. He's also been relied upon in the faceoff circle. When Dumont got recalled, he said coaches told him to try to bring the type of style that injured wing Ryan Callahan (hip) is known for, and the 5-foot-10 forward hasn't disappointed.
"His tenacious play, it's contagious," coach Jon Cooper said. "And that's what he's brought. He's found a way to not only get called up be be in the lineup and stay in the lineup. Now he's playing in more key situations. And it's just a tribute to his character and his work ethic...
"He's been awesome in the room. He's earned the right to stay here."