Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien did not pull any punches about benching Max Domi on Wednesday night in their 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
"I did what I had to do, it’s as simple as that,” Julien said post-game. “When you take a foolish penalty like that, there are going to be consequences. It’s not the first time he’s taken a bad penalty.”
Domi was called for roughing halfway through the second period with the Canadiens already down 2-1. Domi exchanged hits with Blackhawks forward Matthew Highmore before pulling Highmore to the ice and ripping off his helmet.
The Blackhawks took advantage of the ensuing power play, with Alex DeBrincat restoring a two-goal lead. Domi did not play another shift in the second period after exiting the penalty box.
“During the play, I certainly wasn’t trying to take a penalty,” Domi said. “I watched the replay and it’s a penalty. It’s how it goes. It’s unfortunate they scored on that. Obviously you can’t do that, especially given the situation we’re in. Can’t afford to do that.”
Domi, 24, has 12 goals and 33 points in 48 games this season while picking up 25 minutes in penalties.
Wednesday's loss ended a two-game winning streak for the Canadiens, which came after an eight-game winless skid. The team has a 2-5-1 record since the calendar turned to 2020 and are nine points back of the Philadelphia Flyers for the final wild-card spot.