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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette Komets forward Gabriel Desjardins has played well since he's returned to the lineup, and the K's have gone 3-2-1 since he came back.

Friday, December 01, 2017 1:00 am

Desjardins' return a boost for Komets

Back from injury, has 6 goals, 8 points in team's last 6 games

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

Komets vs. Toledo

When: 8 p.m. today

at Wheeling

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Radio: 1190 AM, 107.5 FM

It's not a surprise that there has been a marked improvement in the play of the Komets since forward Gabriel Desjardins returned to the lineup Nov. 16.

“He's added work, depth,” teammate Dennis Kravchenko said. “That guy is the hardest worker on the ice, every shift. He's a talented hockey player, a smart guy. He's a great teammate. All in all, it's the best thing you can do for a team; having a guy like that around can only take a team from good to even better.”

The Komets (8-6-2), who play host to rival Toledo (13-4-2) at 8 p.m. today at Memorial Coliseum, are 3-2-1 since Desjardins came back after seven-game absence from a lower-body injury suffered while blocking a shot in a 3-2 loss to Kansas City on Oct. 21.

“For sure, it was really frustrating being out, but I couldn't do anything about that,” said Desjardins, who has seven goals and 11 points in nine games this season.

“I had to keep working really hard and keep myself in good position for when I got back, so I could help the team. It's shown up. I just kept working hard and it's shown up in the end.”

Since returning, Desjardins has tallied at least one goal in four of six games, including a hat trick in a 6-1 victory over Tulsa at the Coliseum on Nov. 19, and he's totaled six goals and eight points in that six-game span.

The hat trick was his first since his rookie season, 2014-15, with the Florida Everblades, with whom he totaled 21 goals and 54 points in 111 games over two years. He's gotten steadily more productive with the Komets, accruing 20 goals and 46 points in 64 regular-season games last season and then adding five goals and six points in 10 games in the postseason, when Fort Wayne lost in the second round to Toledo.

“Gabe's a good example of how you create offense and that's by just shooting the puck,” Komets coach Gary Graham said. “He's got a lot of strength around the net. He's got a great shot, a great release.”

The productivity of Desjardins has been especially important without Artur Tyanulin and Marco Roy, who were called up to Tucson and San Diego of the American Hockey League, and Justin Hodgman, who has missed all but three games with shoulder and hip injuries. The Komets have made a slew of acquisitions lately, trading for Logan Nelson and Louick Marcotte, and signing Joseph Widmar and Phil Bushbacher.

“Grammer is not scared to change the lines around during the games and we're all good and confident with everyone else, and that's showing up for sure,” said Desjardins, whose Komets have won two of three games this season with the Walleye.

Note: Fans are encouraged to bring new or gently used stuffed animals tonight for the annual Teddy Bear Toss and throw them onto the ice after the first Komets goal. They will be donated to the Disorderly Bear Den, a nonprofit charity.