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Montreal Canadiens

Nick Suzuki Continues To Dominate In Win Over Penguins

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Montreal Canadiens Nick Suzuki

The Montreal Canadiens earned a well-deserved 5-4 decision against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre on Saturday, in what was one of their best overall games of the season.

The game necessitated a Mike Hoffman overtime goal,but it’s fair to say the scoreline was unflattering to the home team.

In total, the Canadiens controlled almost 60 percent of the shots at 5v5, as well as 73 percent of the high-danger chances.

The heatmap tells the tale of the game. It wasn’t just a fun win for the Canadiens, it was a dominant one.

Heat map

Born Leader

Nick Suzuki started the 2022-23 season on a tear, and hasn’t looked back since. Yes, his shooting percentage will eventually regress, but as it stands he’s one of the best performing players in the entire league.

He didn’t just score his 10th goal of the year, he also set it up with some impressive stickhandling that is starting to become a common occurrence at the Bell Centre.

It was also the 10th goal the Canadiens’ top line has scored at 5v5 since Kirby Dach was added to the mix. In addition to controlling the majority of the shots and chances, the trio has only allowed their opponents to score 3 times while they’re on the ice.

Both the process and the results have been fantastic, an encouraging sign when it comes to the top line’s overall sustainability.

Usual Suspects

Cole Caufield’s ninth goal of the season will not go down in history as one of his nicest goals, however it did highlight solid play from both Dach and Kaiden Guhle.

And it also spoke to the Montreal Canadiens’ rebuild, seeing as Caufield is the oldest player in the scoring play at just 21 years old.

The goal was contested by the Penguins and a review led to the correct call on the ice, but it’s worth mentioning how long Mike Sullivan had to review the play before making the official request.

In an ideal world, coaching staff should have no more than 30 seconds to make their decision, but on Saturday night the Penguins were given enough time to file their taxes and finish a crossword puzzle.

Mister Anderson

Josh Anderson did not waste any time since returning from a two-game suspension. The speedy winger scored his fourth goal of the season on his first shift of the night, a play that included former Canadiens defenceman Jeff Petry.

Sean Monahan easily outwitted Petry, which eventually led to Anderson’s goal from almost 50 feet out. It’s worth noting the goal did not come off the rush, as has been the case for the vast majority of his goals with the Canadiens.

You may remember earlier this week we discussed the possibility of trading Anderson in the near future, and of course, one goal doesn’t change much in the grand scheme of things. But regardless of where you sit on the trade debate, an uptick in production is a welcome sight.

Secondary Production

One of the main themes of the Canadiens’ season has been a bevy of entertaining games, but an unfortunate lack of offensive support from players not named Suzuki, Dach, or Caufield.

Fans were treated to a combination of the two on Saturday night, culminating with Sean Monahan’s fourth goal of the year.

It came on the power play, which mean that Suzuki was a big part of the play even if his name didn’t end up on the scoresheet, but if players like Monahan and Anderson can start to contribute on a regular basis, the entertainment factor should grow exponentially.

As will the interest by other teams for the aforementioned players.

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

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