The Montreal Canadiens dropped their second game to the Minnesota Wild in as many weeks, but their top line continued to show promising signs of things to come.
It was a game dominated by each team’s top line, as Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Kirby Dach continued their great work on the ice for the Canadiens.
That being said, the top line of Kaprizov, Frederick Gaudreau and Mats Zuccarello was absolutely dominant. They continued their hot start to the season; as they controlled possession of the puck all game and dominated the Canadiens in their own zone.
The Canadiens didn’t play a bad game by any means, but they were unable to capitalize on their chances and get into the high-danger area. The Canadiens only managed four high-danger chances against Marc-André Fleury, while the Wild almost doubled the Canadiens in scoring chances (24) and significantly out-chanced (10) them in the high-danger area.
Despite not being able to provide more offence in the game, the Canadiens played well enough to compete with the Wild from start to finish. If there are going to be growing pains for the young Canadiens during this season, games like this one are the type of games you want to see.
Captain Leads The Way
The top line of Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Kirby Dach was once again the most dominant line for the Montreal Canadiens.
They continued to control the pace and moved the puck well in the offensive zone; leading to some prolonged offensive zone time and a high quantity of offensive shot generation.
Even on the power play, where the Canadiens decided to shift Suzuki to the high bumped spot and Dach to the right circle, the three youngsters seemed to find each other with ease. They were finally late in the third period on the power play, when Dach slid a pass over to Suzuki who wired one home.
The Canadiens may not have been able to muster much offence elsewhere, but finding a top-line that has clicked as quickly as these three have could be worth more than a simple win in a transitionary season for head coach Martin St-Louis.
NHL Video Highlight – Nicholas Suzuki scores a power-play goal against the Minnesota Wild to make it 3-1. pic.twitter.com/0aGAlGqALz
— Wild Game Bot (@MNWild_Game_Bot) November 2, 2022
Cole Caufield was buzzing once again tonight, flying around the offensive zone and playing hard on the puck. He continues to show a meaner side to his game and is playing with a lot of aggression along the boards; rather than shying away from contact.
He didn’t have the puck luck of Kirill Kaprizov tonight, but he certainly did everything possible to score some goals. He was actively pouncing on loose pucks, taking high-quality shots from in-tight and trying to fake out Fleury by changing the trajectory of his shots right before he let them off.
It may not have resulted in boxscore success, but Caufield once again looked like the best Canadiens forward tonight.
Calm & Steady
We’re running out of words to describe how efficient Jordan Harris is for the Montreal Canadiens on defence. Going into tonight’s game, he and partner Jonathan Kovacevic had the best underlying numbers on the club, especially when it came to their defensive numbers.
With the attention all on Kaiden Guhle and Arber Xehkaj for their flashy styles and physical play, the devil is in the details with Harris. Without anyone realizing, he’s quickly risen to the club’s No. 3 defenceman in the pecking order and is ensuring that he is a permanent fixture in the Canadiens’s starting six defencemen, even when Joel Edmundson and Mike Matheson return from injury.
In tonight’s game, he continued to use his active stick and excellent positioning to keep pucks out of the defensive zone and cut the passing lanes in the defensive zone.
It wasn’t perfect, but for a player with less than 30 games of NHL experience, his ability to slow the play down and make the right play 99.99% of the time is frankly impressive.
Jordan Harris with some excellent rush D, active stick. It's hard to even get his highlights because he does little things like this many times per game. pic.twitter.com/fwV86voseR
— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) November 2, 2022
(All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick)