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Canadiens Game Notes: Cole Caufield Scores Twice

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Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield

MONTREAL– The Montreal Canadiens opened their season with a hard-fought 4-3 against their historical rivals, the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was the epitome of a great game, but more on that later.

Canadiens faithful reserved their biggest ovation for Carey Price, who wasn’t in uniform and likely won’t be any time soon but will forever be remembered as one of the most important players in the organization’s history.

Foundation for the Future

Montreal Canadiens fans were treated to the ideal combination early in the second period, as newly-minted captain Nick Suzuki connected with the team’s best goal scorer, Cole Caufield.

And while the goal represented the Canadiens’ silver-linning this season and their greatest hope for the future, it was also a perfect example of both player’s skill sets.

A perfect saucer pass led to a perfect pass reception, and, shockingly, a great goal by Caufield.

Caufield followed it up with yet another goal, this time unassisted, though it’s only fair to say Josh Anderson’s uncalled interference prior to the goal definitely helped Caufield’s chances.

Regardless, it was an absolutely perfect start to the season for the young sniper, who has managed to carry his goal-scoring momentum from the preseason into the regular season. Even more impressively, both of Caufield’s goals came at even strength, a very good sign for his overall production this season

 

Slaf Watch

The first-overall pick of the 2022 Draft played a little more than 10 minutes in his NHL debut, showing flashes of brilliance, particularly in transition, which should serve him well as he attempts to find his rhythm in North America.

He still needs to shave a half-second off his decision-making time, but overall, he had a decent start to his NHL career. His balance remains an area of weakness. He seems to struggle when it comes to transitioning from the defensive zone to the offensive zone, often falling with the help of an opponent.

The longer the game went on, the more comfortable Slafkovsky seemed, a very encouraging sign going forward.

Underrated Presence

Jake Allen faced a bevy of quality scoring chances by the Leafs through the first two periods keeping the Canadiens in the game long enough for Caufield to find his scoring rhythm. He stopped 6 of the 7 high-danger chances he faced.

If there’s any hope for a playoff appearance, the team will count on Allen to put together excellent performances regularly. As the old adage goes: so far, so good.

Sean Monahan shone brightly, not only by leading the Montreal Canadiens in shot share (67%) and scoring-chance share (71%), but also by scoring a crucial goal late in the third period, which briefly gave the Canadiens the lead.

A quick follow-up goal by the Leafs ensued but was all for naught as Josh Anderson sealed the deal for the Canadiens with just 17.9 seconds left in the third period.

The Canadiens are back in action on Friday, as they take on the Red Wings in Detroit at 7 PM EST.

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