We found some money for our teachers!
We found some money for our teachers! pic.twitter.com/UWbzySgjT6
– HFTV (@HFTVSports) December 7, 2023
The score reads 4-0, just like the November game against those same (mighty) Kings. That said, the CH still looked better yesterday than last time. And that’s even if some booing was heard at the Bell Centre.
Having said that, we shouldn’t think that the two games against L.A. this year were identical. In the first, the guys didn’t show up. But yesterday was different.
You can call it a moral victory if you like, but the Habs played well early on. In the first period, the Habs did well against a team that’s an NHL powerhouse, but…
But hey. With ifs, we go to Paris. And with financing, we go to Quebec City… but that’s not the point.
But hey. In reality, the Canadiens have come up against a very strong club, but one that plays a flat, hermetic style of hockey. It’s reminiscent of the Devils of yesteryear… but with more offense… and without a goalie like Martin Brodeur.
But it’s not too reminiscent of the Devils after all.
Joking aside, it’s clear that the Kings play hockey that isn’t super exciting, but is effective. The fact that the club is undefeated on the road so far this season speaks volumes.
Martin St-Louis believes they’re the best club the CH has faced this season. And since we’re in a copycat league, it’s possible that the CH or another team will decide to emulate the Kings, should they win the Cup in 2024.
Do you agree with Martin St-Louis’ comments? pic.twitter.com/MFHd1pLujc
– L’Antichambre (@Antichambre) December 8, 2023
At the end of the day, there’s one aspect of the Kings we can learn from: the development of Quinton Byfield.
You may have noticed, but Byfield is a more than decent player this season. He’s clearly blossoming within his formation, and it’s the Kings who are benefiting from it. He has 21 points (including eight goals) in 23 games this season, and yesterday he scored twice.
Byfield is a tall player (6’5), who was drafted really early (second overall) and who made a name for himself when he was just starting out in the pros. Then, in his fourth year in California, he looks like he’s going to explode.
I’m not the only one who’s made connections with Juraj Slafkovsky, am I? Am I right?
Juraj Slafkovský showing he can fill the hole next to Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield https://t.co/mpseVSVCZL
– Arpon Basu (@ArponBasu) December 8, 2023
And it hasn’t been perfect.
Byfield didn’t do badly in the AHL that year, you might say, but he quickly made the jump to the NHL, where it was more difficult. But the Kings showed patience, and today, things are looking up.
Is Slaf two years away from looking like Byfield? Alexis Lafrenière? I don’t know, of course.
That said, what we see of Slaf is encouraging. We were talking about moral victories earlier in the text, and it’s clear that right now, the hat fits the Slovakian player very well.
The more time passes, the more we realize that Slaf doesn’t just play on the first line: he belongs on the first line. He doesn’t just complement Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield: they play as a threesome.
Juraj Slafkovsky has another strong game to the right of Caufield and Suzuki! pic.twitter.com/W9Xbk3ObfV
– RDS (@RDSca) December 8, 2023
The more time passes, the more he knows how to play like the “big man” he is. It’s clear that Slaf is getting the hang of the NHL, and the Canadiens are the better for it.
The club will be traveling today and the guys won’t be forced to skate this morning at 11am.