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Canadiens Sniper Cole Caufield Scores Twice in Frustrating Loss

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Canadiens forward Cole Caufield scores two goals

The Montreal Canadiens fell 5-2 to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night, in what can only be described as a sports event in which the Canadiens participated.

The Canadiens offered a disappointing effort in their Retro Reverse Jerseys, although that’s fitting seeing as they matched the effort put into launching the aforementioned marketing campaign.

The loss is particularly frustrating seeing as the Ducks aren’t just a bad team, they’re the worst team in the league, and yet they outshot and outchanced the home team by a rather large margin.

It was just Anaheim’s third road game of the season, and their second win in regulation.

But it does present a perfect opportunity for a reality check.

For the vast majority of the season, the Canadiens have been surpassing expectations, but their underlying numbers give us ample evidence to project a significant and imminent drop in the standings.

The good news is the 2023 Draft happens to be one of the most anticipated Drafts in recent memory.

Guess Who?

Despite a rather agricultural effort in the first two periods of the game, sniper Cole Caufield did his best to drag the Canadiens back into the game in the early parts of the third period thanks to a very rare power-play goal and his ability to connect with one-timer passes.

Caufield’s goal was his 17th of the season and featured passes by Kirby Dach and Jonathan Drouin.

Caufield followed up the play shortly after that with a wraparound effort off a broken play, tying the game at two.

The goal was his 18th of the season and places Caufield at a 49-goal pro-rated pace.

Few Canadiens fans are expecting him to finish the season by scoring nearly 50 goals. Still, his continued offence through a time in which the Canadiens are struggling to generate sustained shifts in the offensive zone is a very encouraging sign.

 

Desperately Seeking Power

Before being interrupted by a little magic from Caufield, much like the electrical grid in Côte-des-Neiges, the Canadiens’ power play runs with the stability and intensity you’d expect from an overworked guinea pig.

The execution is poor, the players are static, and their legitimate high-danger scoring chances are few and far between.

They had a perfect opportunity to take control of the game on Thursday, seeing as the Ducks own the worst penalty kill in the league (66.7 percent).

It’s also worth noting the Ducks are among the worst teams in the league when it comes to allowing quality shots.

In four power play opportunities, the Canadiens generated just one high-danger shot.

The passes were predictable and given they were so easy to anticipate, there was very little movement among Ducks players.

A moving player, particularly a moving goalie, is a vulnerable player. But there was no vulnerability to be seen on the Bell Centre ice.

It was the hockey equivalent of a soccer team attempting to bottle a game and kill precious minutes on the clock, except in this case the Canadiens were not defending a lead, they were desperate to score a goal.

At this point, the power play isn’t at risk of magically propelling the Canadiens up the standings, but it is sapping the confidence of many of the young players on the roster.

What is supposed to be a momentum-building event leads to momentum for their opponents.

It’s a longstanding issue that needs to be fixed as soon as possible.


The Montreal Canadiens are back in action on Saturday night as they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Bell Centre.

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

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David Trott

I’m neither frustrated nor disappointed with the outcome. This team has won games they shouldn’t have and vice versa. They make lots of mistakes but they are developing. I saw them as bottom ten and still do. I’m not for tanking and I fully realize that some veterans won’t be around long. Habs are developing a solid core.

habbernack

I think they miss Sean and Galley in the line up.

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