By scoring two goals against the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, not only did Cole Caufield reach the 25-goal mark for the first time in his career, but he was also the fastest Montreal Canadiens player to reach 25 goals since Stephane Richer did it during the highest-scoring era of the NHL.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate some of the best goals scored by the Canadiens’ sniper throughout his young career.
10. Welcome to the NHL
Caufield showed a love for scoring at crucial times from the very get-go, as evidenced by the first goal of his career, a game-winning overtime goal against the Ottawa Senators.
Shoutout to John Bartlett for salvaging the important goal call despite some terribly timed rambling by his colour commentary partner.
9. So Nice He Did It Twice
Canadiens fans didn’t have to wait very long to see another Caufield highlight. He scored yet another game-winner in overtime the following game, introducing himself to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the best manner possible.
8. Slump Buster
Caufield’s goal drought to start the 2021-22 season has been covered ad nauseam, but the goal that ended up busting his scoring slump has not.
It’s not Caufield’s prettiest highlight, nor will many remember it in 10 years, but it epitomized just how hungry the rookie was to find the back of the net, and how hard he was willing to work to finally remove the monkey from his back.
7. Zoom Zoom
Heading into the 2019 Draft there was a significant amount of criticism levelled at Caufield’s skating ability, which was billed as being somewhere between poor and pirate-like peg-leggedness.
The reality was that Caufield simply was not an elite skater, which often equates to harsh criticism from scouts when a player is shorter than 6’0″.
Truthfully, Caufield has always shown good speed and decent acceleration, which he has paired with an improved first stride to burn NHL defencemen on many occasions, including in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals against the Vegas Golden Knights.
6. Too Small For The NHL
One of the biggest concerns at the Draft was regarding Caufield’s ability to find open space in a physical league such as the NHL.
And while there’s certainly something to be said about the value of having a large frame in the NHL, we often tend to forget that smaller targets can have an easier time finding time and space in the offensive zone, as evidenced by roughly half of Caufield’s NHL goals.
5. More Than A Shot
Obviously, Caufield has a deadly shot, but he has a pair of nifty mittens as well, which he uses to throw off goaltenders whenever the opportunity arises.
4. Not His First Rodeo
It took Caufield just eight seconds to score two goals against the Arizona Coyotes, which led to some perfectly timed compliments by the Coyotes broadcast crew.
3. Impossible Achievement Unlocked
Sometimes you just have to sit back and admire elite talent at work.
Not only did Caufield score with less than two seconds to go against the Philadelphia Flyers, but he also managed to accomplish something very few people have achieved.
He made John Tortorella smile.
2. Still Counts
We’re cheating a little here since the overtime goal in Game 5 that signalled the Canadiens’ incredible comeback to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2021 playoffs belonged to Nick Suzuki, but it was such an important moment in Caufield’s young career that it is worth mentioning.
Another big moment, another big goal, created by the players who will act as the foundation for the Canadiens’ rebuild.
1. The Stick That Scored A Hat Trick
Caufield earned his first career hat trick in a 10-2 drubbing of the Florida Panthers in the last game of the 2021-22 season, and he did it in style.
His second goal, in particular, electrified the sold-out Bell Centre, giving Canadiens fans a glimpse into the future and an opportunity to celebrate in what was otherwise a difficult season.