Let’s (re)put them with Nick Suzuki and start thinking about other combinations. https://t. co/b3LScTFyCF
– Maxime Truman (@MaximeTruman) November 30, 2023
The individual progress of the Habs’ young players is important this season. For a club that is rebuilding, it’s essential to have young players who are moving up.
And if there’s another young player who fits into this category at the moment, it’s Juraj Slafkovsky. The first pick of 2022 is increasingly visible on the ice.
Yesterday, on the sidelines of the Canadiens’ 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, we saw once again how Slaf is able to stand out on the ice. He was visible and did some great things with the puck.
In particular, he picked up an assist on Cole Caufield’s goal.
When you look at it, the Slovak has five points in his last seven games… which is a lot better than his two points in 15 games to start the season.
He’d picked up a point in the first game of the season, but after that, he’d managed just one goal in the next 14 games. There was potential talk of sending him back to Laval.
But right now, with the points on the board and the way he’s performing on the ice, those discussions aren’t at the forefront – and that’s fine.
The #22 hasn’t systematically played with Slaf lately, but it’s often happened.
The two men are starting to develop chemistry together and it makes sense. After all, Slaf likes to distribute the puck and the American likes to have it on his stick to score goals. Caufield would like Slaf to shoot more, but he’s not going to complain if he has the puck.
Still, one wonders what it would be like to have a center other than Christian Dvorak on the Habs’ second line. Colleague Maxime Truman suggests Nick Suzuki, which is a logical choice, of course.
But hey. Don’t expect Martin St-Louis to change his top-6, which is working well at the moment. Alex Newhook and Nick Suzuki are playing well together, too.
And yesterday, the coach said he was satisfied with his four trios. I don’t expect any major changes for tonight’s game – unless you consider the possibility of seeing Michael Pezzetta again as a major change, of course.
For tonight, I don’t think so. But that can change quickly…
On the CH, Juraj Slafkovsky is, at 5 vs 5:
-2nd best passer
-4th best scorer
-4th in checking
All this despite the fact that he ranks 14th (!!!) in terms of usage time at equal strength.
Time to give him a chance on the 1st PP?
I think it is.
– Anthony Martineau (@Antho_Martineau) November 30, 2023
But hey. That’s not all that should be remembered about the game against the Blue Jackets in Cannon Country. It wasn’t just Slaf who caught the eye during the game.
Because yes, at the end of the first and beginning of the second, there were a lot of turnovers. Not all of them were recorded by the NHL, but there were quite a few, let’s say.
I’ll never understand NHL statisticians.
According to them, 0 turnovers by Caufield in the 1st period. pic.twitter.com/B8pJ2xaHic
– Jonathan Bernier (@JBernierJDM) November 30, 2023
2. Cole Caufield was one of the culprits. In the first period, he didn’t play good field hockey.
Speaking of Anderson… how often have you seen him?
4. Jayden Struble looks like an NHL defenseman right now. Playing behind Mike Matheson and Kaiden Guhle on the left, nobody’s asking him to be an MVP.
But he hits, he keeps his game simple and he doesn’t get his team into trouble. He deserves his place in the sun.
The result? Apart from Tanner Pearson and Jesse Ylönen, everyone else played at least 14 minutes in the game.
The absence of special units helps Martin St-Louis distribute playing time very evenly (at least, for 10 of his 12 forwards). This could help tomorrow night when the Habs are back in action at the Bell Centre.
– Marc Antoine Godin (@MAGodin) November 30, 2023
More and more, it looks like Martin St-Louis is coaching like an ECHL coach at the end of the game. After all, in the ECHL, coaches don’t always have 12 forwards in their line-up.
But hey. With the CH playing in Montreal tonight, maybe the club’s stars will have a bit more legs against the Panthers.
6. In the second period, the Habs had a moment where they controlled the puck for a good two minutes. It looked like a power play, but it wasn’t.
The changes made by the coach didn’t change anything: even though there were new guys on the ice, the CH had the puck. That makes up for the bad change on Patrik Laine’s goal, I guess.
A brutal line change by the Habs leads to a Patrik Laine chance. He sneaks it by Montembeault. pic.twitter.com/atPHpua87F
– Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) November 30, 2023
The Canadiens end their trip with six points out of a possible ten. That’s not bad at all for a club like the Montreal Canadiens.
We’ll have to look for consistency, but hey.
The CH is three points behind the Maple Leafs and third place in the division, which isn’t bad.
But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. After all, starting tonight, the Florida Panthers will be a big client for Martin St-Louis’ men. And why should that be?
Because they’re on fire and they’re big.
– Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) November 30, 2023
Cayden Primeau, who left for Montreal yesterday, arrived in Quebec well before his teammates. He therefore had a more complete night’s sleep in his bed in preparation for tonight’s game, in order to continue the baseball-like rotation in front of the net.
Note that because the club won’t be able to train, I don’t necessarily believe that defenseman Arber Xhekaj will be back in action today. The CH doesn’t need him at all costs tonight.