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Suzuki, Dach, Caufield and Montembeault Shine In Loss To Jets

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Montreal Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens landed in Winnipeg to face the Jets on Thursday night, attempting to earn their third win of the road trip, but it was all for naught, as the Jets prevailed 3-2 in overtime.

As per usual, Nick Suzuki led the charge for the Canadiens, scoring a goal and an assist, keeping him well above a point-per-game pace this season.

Goaltender Samuel Montembeault put in yet another strong performance, making 33 saves, including an astonishing 17 high-danger stops.

Montembeault may not receive the same amount of praise as others on this roster, but he’s certainly doing his part to push the Canadiens up the standings.

At the moment he’s the Canadiens’ best value player that isn’t an entry-level contract on the books.

Oh Captain!

There’s significant risk involved in naming a young player as the captain of the most storied franchise in the league.

The pressure is endless, the attention is overwhelming, and the responsibilities are numerous.

And yet, Suzuki’s stress level appears to be equivalent to Wayne Gretzky’s anxiety back when the powerhouse Oilers were up 12-3 in the third period against an expansion team.

Suzuki not just producing more than a point per game.

He’s the engine that drives the offence.

He’s feeding his teammates passes as if he was an all-you-can-eat buffet that features fresh lobster and tiramisu.

He’s the maestro in the neutral zone.

He’s a stalwart presence in the defensive zone.

Some players can’t handle the pressure in Montreal. Suzuki thrives on it, and that’s why he was the perfect choice to lead the Canadiens through their rebuild.

With his third goal in as many games, Suzuki has actively participated in over 40 percent of the Canadiens’ goals this season, not to mention his efforts have led to a bevy of scoring chances and goals for which Suzuki wasn’t credited on the official scoresheet.

Third Musketeer

Earlier this week we discussed the impact Kirby Dach could make on the first line based on the early underlying numbers, and on Thursday night we received further evidence the 21-year-old is a perfect fit.

Dach scored his second goal of the season on the exact same rebound play that always led to a goal in NHL 08, but there are no points for the degree of difficulty in hockey.

With Dach alongside Suzuki and Caufield, there will be plenty of easy scoring chances, and that’s exactly what you want from your best trio.

The combination of quantity and quality qualifies pushes the potential impact this line can make for the Montreal Canadiens to a whole new level.

More Than A Sniper

Caufield did not score on Thursday night, which is somewhat surprising given his shot has the speed and accuracy of a laser-guided missile.

But the fact that he’s contributing in other ways is almost as important as scoring goals.

One play, in particular, exemplified his underrated playmaking ability, as Caufield sold absolutely everyone in the building on the idea that he was about to release one of his logic-defying shots but filtered a perfect pass to a wide-open Brendan Gallagher instead.

It should have been a goal, in most cases, it would be a goal, however, it is nice to see Caufield lean into some of the other strong skills he possesses.

Much like Suzuki, Caufield has participated in the vast majority of the Canadiens’ goals this year (37.5 percent).


The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Saturday night, hosting the Vegas Golden Knights at the Bell Centre.

(All statistics are 5v5 unless otherwise noted, via NaturalStatTrick)

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habbernack

He’s the engine who drives the team. He’s the Captain. He’s doing what captains do.

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