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Montreal Canadiens

Cole Caufield Scores Twice in 5-4 Shootout Win Over Flyers



Montreal Canadiens versus Philadelphia Flyers

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Philadelphia Flyers at the Bell Centre on Saturday night, resulting in a fast-paced 5-4 shootout win for the home team.

It was a very entertaining tilt, code for a sloppy defensive performance by both teams, as both teams enjoyed an abundance of high-danger scoring chances. (11-10).

The Canadiens ultimately prevailed thanks to a gritty team effort, a clutch goal late in the third, and a perfect game by their captain, Nick Suzuki.

Bounce Back

Usually, the Canadiens count on their top line to set the momentum in a game, but on Saturday night they put their team in a hole early due to some careless play in the neutral zone and shoddy coverage in the defensive zone.

The Flyers quickly took a 2-0 lead shortly afterward.

Surprisingly, shockingly, and confusingly, it was the secondary scoring that kept the Canadiens in the game

Playing on the Canadiens’ third line with Brendan Gallagher and Mike Hoffman, Christian Dvorak scored his fourth goal of the season, though you could easily argue Gallagher made the biggest impact on the play.

Gallagher doing all the heavy lifting and missing out on a goal definitely follows a familiar script.

Usual Suspects

Dvorak’s goal turned the tide in the Canadiens’ favour, giving the top line just enough time to find their rhythm in the offensive zone and consequently level the score in the final minutes of the first period.

Cole Caufield’s goal, his 10th of the season, was made possible by some smart passing between Mike Hoffman and Kirby Dach, but even though he did not end up registering a point on the play, Nick Suzuki deserves a fair amount of praise for his work in front of Carter Hart.

It also led to a very interesting statistic.

With 37 goals in 95 games, only Jean Béliveau, Maurice Richard, and Boom Boom Geoffrion scored more goals than Caufield prior to their 100th game in the NHL.

Welcome Back

Even though he was playing just his first game of the season after having recovered from a muscle sprain, Mike Matheson did not waste any time making his mark.

His pairing with Joel Edmundson struggled at 5v5, which is understandable, but it’s also become a common theme whenever Edmundson is tried with a new defensive partner. The two will need to work on their defensive positioning going forward.

His first goal of the 2022-23 campaign put the Canadiens ahead 3-2, owing to some great playmaking by Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield, who earned their 21st and 17th point of the season, respectively.

Suzuki, in particular, looked great on the play, creating a high-danger scoring opportunity out of thin air thanks to some quick decision-making. The assist kept Suzuki on pace for a 100-point pro-rated season.

One More Time

Caufield sent the Bell Centre faithful into a frenzy by scoring a game-tying goal with just two seconds left in the third period.

Once again, the scoring chance arose due to yet another fantastic pass by Suzuki, his 12th assist of the season. Suzuki has scored his fair share of goals this season, but on Saturday night he was kept busy directing traffic.

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

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