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Juraj Slafkovsky: the first trio rolls much more smoothly without him
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot
Last night, in their last game before the All-Star break, the Montreal Canadiens lost 3-2 in overtime to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Despite the loss, it was still a good game, with two goals scored by the youngsters.

Indeed, Kaiden Guhle and Juraj Slafkovsky were the scorers, which is simply an ideal scenario for a game when the team is in the midst of rebuilding.

We can even make it even more ideal by adding that Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield each picked up an assist.

Some would even go so far as to say that Sean Monahan picked up an assist, which is good for his value on the trade market.

In short, it’s a game from which we can take a lot of positives, and that’s all the better, especially compared to last Saturday’s game in which the Habs were completely crushed by the Boston Bruins.

What’s even more positive about yesterday’s game is Juraj Slafkovsky’s performance.

Yes, on paper, all he did was score a (fortunate) goal, but it’s really Slaf’s entire performance that gets the attention.

In Slafkovsky’s case, you really have to look at more than just the points.

I begin my argument with this magnificent overtime sequence.

Just imagine if Slafkovsky had been able to complete the maneuver how the earth would have shaken in Quebec.

The clip would have set social networks ablaze in a matter of seconds.

Unfortunately, the young Slovak didn’t score on the sequence, but he did demonstrate the full extent of his talent with a good skate, a beautiful feint and excellent puck protection, all against Kristopher Letang.

He’s not the first to come along, let’s say.

In short, this overtime sequence is just a small sample of Slafkovsky’s excellent game.

And what we forget to mention is that the Habs’ number 20 had this excellent game without being alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield on the club’s first trio.

Slafkovsky, who has been out of the first lineup for the past two games, shows that he can perform even when he’s not with the club’s best players.

Better still, we realize that he was a major contributor to the first trio’s success, given the fact that the latter has not been rolling as well over the past two games with Josh Anderson.

Slafkovsky is really the one leading the charge for the Habs right now, and he’s the one making his trio (whichever one it is) better.

Just look at the difference in the percentage of goals expected from each trio against the Islanders on Thursday.


This says a lot about Slafkovsky’s contribution compared to Anderson’s.

For comparison, here’s the same chart, but for yesterday’s game against the Penguins.


Once again, Slafkovsky’s trio leads the charge.

The Slovak performs very well alongside Sean Monahan, with whom he develops a fine chemistry.

In short, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Slafkovsky is not only progressing and improving, he’s becoming a very important factor in the Habs’ success, as he makes the trio he’s playing on better.

It’s really encouraging to see Slaf performing like this right now, because you can really see that he’s slowly becoming one of the Tricolore’s best players.

For those still worried about his offensive production (20 points, including seven goals in 49 games), the points will come more frequently very soon.

They’ve already been coming more regularly in recent games.

And let’s just say he could get more points on the power play if Mike Matheson only saw Slafkovsky, as this image shows.

In short, Slafkovsky is really developing into an excellent hockey player, both offensively and defensively.

In a gust

– Let’s pray he lands in Montreal next draft.

– Jannik Sinner wins the Australian Grand Slam after a duel with Daniil Medvedev.

– Wow.

– Big win for LeBron.

– Great news.

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