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Key Reasons Why Suzuki Is An Elite Dual Threat For Canadiens



Montreal Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield

The bulk of the praise for Nick Suzuki this season has centered around his goal-scoring pace, and rightfully so given that he’s among the top-10 goal scorers in the league.

But as good as he’s been when it comes to scoring goals, you could easily argue Suzuki’s playmaking has been the most impressive aspect of his hot start.

His affinity for creating something out of nothing has led to a bevy of highlight goals, goals that put his excellent passing skills on full display.

Great Debut

Suzuki did not waste any time taking charge of the Canadiens’ offence, as evidenced by his ridiculous saucer pass to Cole Caufield on the team’s first goal of the season.

His pass to Caufield was the type of sauce that leads nonnas around the world to question their secret family recipe.

It’s also a great example of the type of elite vision that has allowed Suzuki to earn an assist on seven of Caufield’s 11 goals this season.

He also had an excellent assist on the game-winning goal, but we have the luxury of skipping over that play since Suzuki has given us ample evidence of great playmaking to work with this season.

C is for Captain Chemistry

The long-term goal for the Canadiens is to build upon the foundation already in place. And that foundation relies on a healthy amount of chemistry between Suzuki and Caufield.

But no one expected the two to form one of the most offensively dominant duos in the league after spending only half of a season together.

The goal against the St-Louis Blues in late October was a perfect example of their Sedin-like chemistry.

Suzuki does a great job creating a passing lane, which is an important distinction.

He doesn’t just find passing lanes, he anticipates how his coverage will react to his moves with shocking accuracy, which leads to chaos for defence and easy goals for the Canadiens.

But it would be all for naught if he didn’t share a hockey mind with Caufield, who anticipated Suzuki’s pass perfectly, as evidenced by the clip below.

Keep a close eye on Caufield. He starts moving toward the net at almost the exact same time as Suzuki.

A is for Anticipating All Assists

We have to give credit to Caufield for his impressive forecheck which neutralized Tyler Myers’ clearing attempt, the hockey equivalent of a honey badger jumping on a lion’s back and forcing it to abandon a kill.

In this play, Suzuki anticipates Caufield’s Gallagherian effort, providing the necessary support to turn the forecheck into an easy goal for Kirby Dach.

The lack of hesitation before the pass connotes Suzuki knew exactly where Dach would end up.

Superman Setup

Suzuki’s assist on Jordan Harris’ first goal of the year was nothing short of excellent, especially since he was off balance due to a crosscheck.

It shows that not only can Suzuki handle playing in the tough areas, but he’s also able to execute great passes while under pressure, or in this case, with only his stick touching the ice.

It’s a perfect example of how Nick Suzuki has quickly become a game-changing presence in the Canadiens’ lineup.

Saturday Night’s Alright For Passing

Suzuki may have kept his best playmaking for Saturday’s exciting 5-4 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.

His first assist of the night once again put his anticipation in the spotlight, leading to Mike Matheson’s first goal of the season.

If you look closely, Suzuki scopes out the play before pivoting, and while he does so, he notices the far-pass option isn’t viable.

However, he knows Caufield is likely to follow up on the play.

Caufield missed the pass, but since it was sent to a high-danger area Matheson had an opportunity to take advantage of the chaos created by Suzuki near the Flyers’ crease.

As is often the case, Suzuki managed yet another ridiculous pass in the game, this time, with less than two seconds left in the third period.

The pass was great, as he delayed it just enough to create a lane, but it’s the sheer audacity, or rather, confidence involved that truly stands out.

Most players would have only one thing on their mind while attempting to tie the game with just two seconds left in the third period, but Suzuki isn’t like most players.

He’s a player that possesses the rare combination of talent, intelligence, and nerves of steel.

(all Nick Suzuki highlights are via the Montreal Canadiens Twitter account)