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Cole Caufield leads the NHL in overtime goals this season

I don’t know about you, but when the Habs pushed their game into overtime yesterday, I figured Cole Caufield would score or the CH would push it into a shootout.

After all, that’s how it works this year. No one other than Cole Caufield has scored in overtime this year in games involving the Flannel.

Still, the CH has gone to overtime six times, including three times in shootouts, since the start of the season.

All this to say that Caufield had his chances and, what’s more, he managed to give his team a power play via a stupid penalty called on him by goaltender James Reimer.

Numerical advantage? Overtime? The little forward wasn’t asking for much.

The man who hadn’t scored since October 26 against the Blue Jackets proved, once again, that given time and space, his shots are simply unstoppable.

Caufield scored his third overtime goal of the year (an NHL high, of course) and seventh of his career. He dominates on three-on-three.

Good for the CH.

The result? The CH won 3-2 and ended a four-game losing streak. Mike Matheson and Nick Suzuki took charge for the Habs.

Interestingly, Suzuki and Caufield scored once each, as Martin St-Louis decided to play them on different threes for once.

Of course, you’ll tell me that both guys scored on the power play, where the first wave features the team’s two highest-paid forwards. And that’s true.

But the fact remains that Martin St-Louis knows that a little time away can do the boys good. It reminds them of the privilege of playing together… and maybe, just maybe, the time spent on the power play becomes more precious. Maybe it does.

St-Louis spoke from personal experience, when he was sometimes separated from Vincent Lecavalier when both Canadiens employees were stars in Tampa Bay.

And it obviously worked tonight. Both guys scored… and the power play worked. After all, in addition to the two stars, Sean Monahan also scored on the PP… only to have his goal disallowed.

In fact, as Guillaume Villemaire points out, the Habs found the back of the net for the tenth game in a row on special units. Yes, you read that correctly.

The CH have scored on the power play in nine of their last ten games, and they scored shorthanded against Vegas.

The last time the club didn’t score on special units was in the pathetic game against Minnesota… on October 17. It’s been a little while, we agree.

At 21.8%, the Habs have the 13th-best power play in the league. And since expectations were low, that’s a positive. No?

But hey. Those aren’t the only two players who had a good game for the Montreal Canadiens, who finally had a good performance in November.

What do I remember about this game?

1. Cayden Primeau, playing for the first time in over two weeks, looked very good in the game. It’s never easy to shake off the rust, but Primeau did it well.

He made 29 saves on 31 shots. The guys in front of him helped him, but he helped the guys in front of him, too.

He kept his team in the game (especially in overtime) and that shows why waivers don’t seem to be an option. Aside from the fact that the CH needs depth in front of the net in its organization, the kid’s got talent.

Primeau’s first win with Martin St-Louis as coach and Kent Hughes as GM is no mean feat. Jeff Gorton had been in the job for about two weeks on December 16, 2021…

2. The Habs defense was tighter than usual last night. Honorable mention to Justin Barron (over 22 minutes of play yesterday), who is becoming more and more indispensable on the Habs’ blue line.

Does this have anything to do with the fact that Mike Matheson played a big game for the Habs? To ask the question is to answer it.

The defenseman played over 27 minutes. He collected three points, including a goal on a great play by the club. He had a positive differential. He helped out on the power play. He took five shots on goal. He was the general the club needed.

You can tell when a guy is playing up to his talent. He helped the CH give up fewer than 30 shots (29) for the second time this year, and for the first time since the excellent game in Vegas. In fact, it was the CH’s best game since Vegas.

3. Juraj Slafkovsky’s playing time was special. He played very little at the beginning and end of the game (he spent long minutes on the bench at the end)… even though he wasn’t playing like a guy who deserved to be benched.

He ended up playing about 13 minutes, which is more than Michael Pezzetta, Joel Armia and Arber Xhekaj. He deserved more playing time, though, as he still did well during the game.

4. Ben Chiarot and Jeff Petry were on the other side. With Joel Edmundson injured and Shea Weber’s and Carey Price’s careers over, they’re currently the only two active players in the big “defensive corps” of the 2021 series.

But in 2023, are you watching these guys with boredom? That’s the question.


The Habs were originally scheduled to train today. But with a flight back to Montreal and two games (Boston, Vancouver) awaiting the CH on Saturday and Sunday, the guys will finally have the day off.

So we won’t know if Rafaël Harvey-Pinard can hold his own against his team-mates in training. To be continued.

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