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Montreal Canadiens

Suzuki, Caufield and Slafkovsky Score In Loss To Golden Knights



Montreal canadiens forward Nick Suzuki

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Vegas Golden Knights at the Bell Centre on Saturday night, in yet another-defence optional game that featured a bevy of goals.

Unfortunately for the Canadiens, the Golden Knights scored the majority of the goals, prevailing 6-4.

There was a lot to like in the offensive zone, but the defensive zone was pure chaos, leading to a scoreline that’s incredibly unflattering given how well Jake Allen played.

Money Line

Earlier this week we discussed the potential impact Kirby Dach could make on the first line. On Saturday night the newly-formed top line gave further proof they have the skill and chemistry necessary to become the Canadiens’ primary source of offence.

Once you combine Dach’s playmaking with Nick Suzuki’s excellent all-around game and Cole Caufield’s ability to score goals with the greatest of ease, you have the makings of a line that could become a dominant force.

Caufield opened the scoring for the Canadiens with his eighth goal of the year, resulting from a fantastic cross-ice pass by Dach, who now has 5 points in his last 4 games. Caufield has scored 6 of his goals at 5v5, making him the league leader in that department.

For those keeping track, it took Caufield more than 40 games to score 8 goals last season.

And Again

This may come as a shock, but Suzuki scored on a perfect shot in a crucial situation, again.

It was his seventh goal of the season and his fourth goal in as many games. Suzuki now has 14 points in 12 games to start the year, putting any doubt regarding his eight-year contract extension to rest.

The main problem is the top line’s torrid scoring pace has hardly been matched by the rest of the lineup, which points to a significant breakdown in secondary and tertiary scoring.

Players like Mike Hoffman, Brendan Gallagher, Josh Anderson, Jonathan Drouin, and Jake Evans must start producing a modicum of offence if the Canadiens have any hope of staying competitive through Christmas.

Guess Who?

While the rest of the team failed to spend much time in the offensive zone, the top line did their best to close the scoring gap, and that included Suzuki’s second goal of the game, his fifth goal in four games.

It was also the top lines fifth goal in a row without interruption, again, pointing to the complete breakdown in the Canadiens’ secondary scoring.

However, fans can rest easy knowing the

Failed Experiment

It always takes a little time to build chemistry, but when Martin St-Louis broke up the Jordan Harris and Jonathan Kovacevic pairing he deconstructed his most reliable duo.

On Saturday night the experiment quickly backfired, as the Harris pairing, now featuring Joel Edmundson, was outplayed and outscored by a significant margin.

This is particularly noteworthy since Harris had yet to be outplayed or outscored in the first 11 games of the season.

Again, it takes time to build chemistry, but the early results for the two new pairings are quite worrisome.

The Kaiden Guhle and David Savard pairing did have a very good game, particularly from a statistical point of view.

Guhle, in particular, looked great, if not somewhat exhausted at times. His pass to Juraj Slafkovsky for the Canadiens’ fourth goal of the game was a thing of beauty.

The Canadiens are back in action on Tuesday, as they head to Detroit to take on the Red Wings.

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

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Suzuki’s line don’t just stand around the blue paint. They create scoring chances and go to the crease at the right time.

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