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Keeping the kids together keeps the team together is how it goes, am I right? Needless to say the Canadiens are a young squad but the first line of Cole Caufield, captain Nick Suzuki and Kirby Dach have been on fire this season. Suzuki has 9 goals and 8 helpers, is ranked 11th in points in the NHL and Caufield with 8 goals and 7 assists is tied at 26th in NHL points.
- Kirby Dach, who was acquired from Chicago during the offseason is finding his spot on the top line. Racking up 4 goals and 8 assists with 3 assists and a goal on the powerplay which is what the Habs are looking for. In addition to that are two game winning goals and an overtime goal. Last game against Vancouver Dach had two tucks. A goal in the first period and late in the third Suzuki makes a pass to Dach all alone who scores an insurance goal to secure the W vs Vancouver.
- Although the top line has been hot this season the last couple of games the second line have shown up. Mike Hoffman, Christian Dvorak and Brendan Gallagher have been grinding away and getting rewarded for it on the scoresheet. Hoffman finds the back of the net twice against the Red Wings and takes advantage of a Canucks defenseman who bobbles the puck for a two on one and scores on a wrist shot. Dvorak with assists in back to back nights and Gallagher with a couple apples versus the Wings. All three who have been great work horses in all other areas creating offensive scoring chances, blocking shots or breaking up scoring chances.
Cole Caufield is just a special talent, the way he releases the puck and his hockey IQ is off the charts. For only being 5’7” he plays an offensively aggressive game and isn’t afraid to get in front of a shot or two on the back end. He skates like the wind and backchecks his heart out to break up plays. At such a small stature he has the guidance of his listed 5’8” coach Martin St. Louis who played just over 1,000 NHL games and had just over 1,000 points, two Art Ross trophies and a stanley cup. I can see Caufield learning a lot from St. Louis and with Caufields scoring ability, he should have some Art Ross trophies of his own someday.
- Over the past couple of games Caufield has had only one assist but did everything else that is required to win hockey games. Including drawing penalties, four shots against the Wings and he really only shoots to score. As well as scoring in the shootout against the Wings where Nick Suzuki came in to score again. Although Jake Allen stood tall that game with 43 saves and closed it out in the shootout against Wings captain Dylan Larkin.
- Speaking of Nick Suzuki, the 23 year old captain. Head coach Martin St. Louis had a few words to say about him. “ I think he’s very mature,” St. Louis said to describe his young captain. Anyone who has been watching Suzuki this season is probably thinking the same thing.
- Most young captains have a tough time under pressure where Suzuki seems to be thriving. It was a big question coming into the season but coach St. Louis and Canadiens management said how they felt naming Suzuki captain at the beginning of the year. Not to mention being named captain the first year of his 8 year $63 million dollar contract, raised some eyebrows wondering if it was too much, too soon. So far Suzuki is showing how he leads and gaining respect of his fellow teammates who have nothing but good things to say about their captain.
- The top line kids are leading the way for the rebuilding Montreal Canadiens and with leadership like Nick Suzukis there is a long road ahead but nothing but high hopes. With additions like Sean Monahan who played nine seasons in Calgary next to one of the games biggest superstars Johnny Gaudreau. Including Monahans seven 20 plus goal scoring seasons and a few 30 plus goal seasons. Certainly helps with the Habs winning mentality. We can’t forget rookies like defensemen Arber Xhekaj and Kaiden Guhle who have combined for 9 points in 14 games. Also rookie forward and first overall pick in the 2022 draft Juraj Slafkovsky who has had a few goals including one on the power play, only thing is he’s 18 years old and has a lot to learn. Such as hitting from behind…
This team is looking good at (7-6-1) and even with suspensions, powerplay trouble and finding their line chemistry. It all seemed to come together pretty quickly, coming from at one point early in the season 1/18 on the power play to 5/15 in the past five games. There will always be work to do but it’s progress and now they all know their roles on the powerplay. Playing close games to good teams like their 6-4 loss to the (13-2) Vegas Golden Knights and an overtime loss to the (8-3-1) Winnipeg Jets. Having their shit together now could be an exciting time to be a Habs fan and with the matchup against the (5-6-2) Pittsburgh Penguins coming up could be fuel added to this Canadiens rocket that’s just starting to take off. #GoHabsGo