Despite the Montreal Canadiens losing their eighth-straight game, 5-2 to the Washington Capitals Thursday night at the Bell Centre, Canadiens rookie winger Cole Caufield couldn’t hide his excitement and hope that good things are coming for him and his teammates.
Earlier Thursday, Caufield and his teammates were introduced to new Montreal Canadiens interim head coach Martin St. Louis and it was clear that even after Caufield had snapped a 17-game scoreless streak, that wasn’t the main reason for his renewed optimism despite another loss.
“I think he’s going to be really good for our team,” said Caufield. “I’m really excited; I grew up wearing 26 because of him and it’s crazy he’s our coach. Every time he speaks, I just want to listen and soak it all in.”
Caufield scored the first regular-season powerplay goal of his young NHL career at 15:58 of the second period to cut the Washington Capitals lead to 4-2. During the second intermission, the Montreal Canadiens 2020 first-round pick expressed his relief and optimism after the goal to John Lu of TSN.
“It feels good. I think I’ve been getting my chances these past couple of games but sometimes they don’t go in, but I’m just gonna keep playing hard and try and play the right way and it will come,” the 21-year-old rookie said.
COLE CAUFIELD marque son premier but depuis le 24 novembre! 🔵⚪️🔴 pic.twitter.com/C8styTphEU
— TVA Sports (@TVASports) February 11, 2022
The Montreal Canadiens out-shot the Capitals 18-8 in the second period and played with more resilience and intent as the game went on. They ended up with a 44-23 shot-edge and Caufield credited his new coach for the renewed energy.
“Yeah, I mean, he came in here and just trying to get us to work hard and compete,” Caufield said. “I think that’s the biggest thing and I think we played two pretty good periods and obviously we’re down two but there’s 20 minutes left and a lot of work to do, so ya know just stick with it.”
Caufield also told Lu he had a good conversation with his new head coach and loves his energy and philosophy already.
“Yeah, I mean, he’s a good fit for us, I think a lot of guys can learn from him, including myself and I’m really excited to get the chance to do this, and hopefully we can straighten this up together and turn this thing around,” the 2020 first round pick for the Montreal Canadiens said.
Caufield entered the game with just one goal and seven assists in 30 games. He mostly played on the fourth line with Ryan Poehling and Joel Armia but saw more time on the top powerplay unit as well. He had a goal called back on an offsides challenge and finished with a goal on two shots, but it was clear that one of the keys to the uptempo offense St. Louis wants suits the young sniper just fine.