Although he is not new to being a regular call-up from the American Hockey League, Mathieu Perreault is still looking to prove himself with every stint in Washington, and this latest assignment is no exception.
Perreault, who played three games in late October when Marcus Johansson was out with a hip flexor injury and recorded a pair of assists during that time, is hoping to make a more lasting impression this time around. He has eight goals and 17 assists in 18 games with the Hershey Bears this season.
"Just trying to create things on the ice and try to help my linemates and try to score, make plays and work hard," said Perreault when asked how he approaches this call-up. "Obviously, you want to do good, but every time I start playing I just think, 'If I go on and we don't get a goal...' this is when I start to not play good. So I've just got to not think and play."
Perreault spent 18 games in Washington from November to early December of the 2009-10 season. He started out well, posting six points in his first eight games, but tallied only one in his final 10 outings before being returned to Hershey.
So what does Coach Bruce Boudreau want out of the 22-year-old center?
"One is consistency, two is energy and three is being a good pro," Boudreau said. "We know he's capable of playing and in the past, sometimes it's just been a numbers game. Sometimes you play great one game and less than great the next game. You know my theory on if you're an NHL player; eight out of 10 games have got to be your absolute best."
Boudreau said he didn't know how long Perreault would remain in Washington on this particular call-up assignment, but the speedy forward will have an opportunity to try his hand in the second-line center spot, where the Capitals have auditioned numerous candidates throughout the season. In recent games, Brooks Laich and rookie Marcus Johansson have rotated duties in the middle of the second line.
"We thought we're struggling a little bit in that No. 2 hole at center, [we have] used a lot of different guys and this is his opportunity to take it," Boudreau said. "I don't know how many games he'll get, but he's getting at least one."