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Montreal Canadiens

Cole Caufield Scores 12th Goal In 7-2 Loss To The Sabres



Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield

The Montreal Canadiens hosted the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night, losing 7-2 in an offence-orientated game that led to four goals in the first few minutes of the first period.

Unfortunately for the home team, by the time Luke Tuch scored on the powerplay just 2 minutes and 13 seconds into the game, the Sabres were enjoying a three-goal lead, as both Rasmus Dahlin and JJ Peterka scored within the first minute of play.

It was the hockey equivalent of Kevin from The Office dropping his chilli all over the carpet.

The Canadiens did show significant pushback following the great start from the Sabres, but their power play was as solid as a soggy piece of paper and their goaltending was less stable Montreal roadway, resulting in the renewed effort being all for naught.

Jake Allen, in particular, had one of his worst starts of the season, allowing 7 goals on 38 shots.

It was a feisty affair, though not necessarily from the usual suspects. Fans witnessed fights between Chris Wideman and Tyson Jost, as well as a spirited tussle between Jake Evans and Jeff Skinner.

Long Distance

With the Sabres leading 3-0 before most fans had even parked their car, the Canadiens temporarily took charge, leading to a swing of momentum and Cole Caufield’s 12th goal of the season.

It’s worth noting the vast majority of Caufield’s goals this season have come at even strength and have occurred at the Bell Centre (83 percent).

Now that almost a quarter of the season is in the books, we can start to pay closer attention to season scoring paces, and in Caufield’s case, things are looking very encouraging. He’s on pace to earn more than 80 points this year, including over 50 goals.

With 39 goals in his career, only Jean BĂ©liveau, Boom Boom Geoffrion and Maurice Richard scored more goals for the Canadiens than Caufield before their 100th game in the NHL.

It was also the eighth point of Kaiden Guhle’s promising rookie season. He continues to lead all Montreal Canadiens defencemen in scoring.

Power Play Woes

Serving up a 3-0 lead to an opponent rarely leads to an easy path to victory, but the Canadiens did play well enough following the poor start to even the score.

Unfortunately, their power play ran with the efficiency of a carnival ride operated by a drunken octopus, producing the same type of excitement you’d feel after discovering a half-frozen bag of carrots deep within your freezer.

The power play heatmap tells the tale: the Canadiens mustered very few scoring chances during their six man-advantage opportunities.

Canadiens power play heat map

Work In Progress

You may remember a certain writer explaining why Martin St-Louis’ new lines have the potential to finally lead to consistent secondary and tertiary scoring for the Canadiens, thus mitigating the overreliance on the top line.

Unfortunately, the third line struggled to control the play on Tuesday night, with just a 27 percent share of the shots and a 22 percent share of the high-danger chances.

They did, however, manage to score a goal, owing to a fantastic individual effort by Sean Monahan, his fourth goal of the season.

Monahan isn’t a dominant presence in the lineup, but every time he finds the back of the net Kent Hughes receives more leverage in future trade negotiations.

The Canadiens will have an opportunity to turn the page tomorrow night, as they fly to Columbus to face the Blue Jackets. The puck drop is scheduled for 7 PM EST.

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

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