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Juraj Slafkovsky and Cole Caufield are lethargic
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Do you remember a month ago, when the Canadiens’ first trio was breaking everything in its path?

I remember that many people were ready to say that the Habs had finally found their first trio of the future, and that Juraj Slafkovsky should be given an eight-year contract.

Wait a minute, butterfly.

The development of a young player is never linear. A guy like Slaf, for example, has just one point in his last eight games. Is such lethargy serious? Not necessarily, no. After all, you can feel that he’s progressing, which is important for a youngster of his age.

Production will come later, which is fine. Ideally, he’d get back his February scoring touch, but one thing at a time.

Even for Cole Caufield, it’s not easy. He hasn’t found the back of the net since February 15, in his last nine games. So he’s in a slump too.

Caufield’s five assists, 200-foot game and 38 shots on goal in nine games don’t mean he’s not trying. But one day, he’ll have to find the back of the net, because that’s his job.

But yesterday, in the Habs’ 4-1 loss to the Hurricanes, the club could have used his scoring touch. But in the last 15 games, he’s only scored on February 15, which shows something’s wrong.

And that something isn’t Nick Suzuki, let’s face it. Unlike his trio mates, he hasn’t slowed down.

In fact, right now, it’s simple: Joshua Roy is doing the job Cole Caufield should be doing. He’s scored in his last two games and continues to play great hockey.

He may not have been scoring regularly before, but you could see his confidence.

His goal against the Preds on Tuesday and his net yesterday in Carolina are the result of a guy who’s confident. After all, he couldn’t make National League games like that if he didn’t feel up to it.

And yesterday, his goals (because yes, he scored on a goal that was ultimately disallowed) prove it.

Martin St-Louis loves Roy’s game, and understandably so. The way he’s playing, he’s showing that he doesn’t belong in Laval, but with the Habs.

Expect the Habs to send him to Laval on paper today, to make him eligible for the AHL playoffs… but right now, he deserves his place in the sun. #AdministrativeMeasure

But hey. Ultimately, that’s not all there is to remember about yesterday’s game, which was the last of a four-game trip to the American South for Martin St-Louis’ men.

What is there to remember?

1. The Canadiens collected four points out of a possible eight during the trip. It lost twice in overtime (Sunrise and Tampa) and snatched a win from the Nashville Predators.

Yesterday’s game started well, but it got tougher at the end. That said, the whole trip was interesting from an overall point of view.

2. This was the last game before the trade deadline. The club played all its regular skaters, including David Savard. Theoretically, if he’s not for trade and a club that wants him will have to arrange to uproot him from Montreal, it’s only fair that he plays.

The defenseman spent nearly 20 minutes on the ice. Will he be there for Saturday’s game?

Jake Allen wasn’t even dressed for this duel. Samuel Montembeault was the man in front of the net, and he didn’t do a bad job of keeping his team in the game. He made 35 saves on 38 shots.

At one point, he saved his captain ‘s life.

3. Seeing the Canadiens lose in Carolina has become a regular occurrence.

Why do I say that? Because the last Habs goalie to beat the Hurricanes at their home was none other than Charlie Lindgren. That was in 2016, eight years ago.

4. Alex Newhook didn’t have a great game. In addition to visiting the dungeon twice, his interference on the opposing goalie prevented the Habs from scoring a second goal of the game.

In fact, one wonders if he didn’t deserve to lose his spot on the first power play to Joshua Roy.

5. Once again, Rafaël Harvey-Pinard played center. And this time, he managed to win face-offs, with an efficiency rate of 60%. Nobody did better with the Habs yesterday.

It’s a great starting point.

Extra time

Last night, after the game, the club headed back to Montreal. No training is on the menu this morning to let the guys get some sleep.

In other words, there’s absolutely nothing left on the ice before the deadline. The picture is complete.

(Credit: Tankathon)
Remember that NHL executives have until 3pm this afternoon to make trades. Kent Hughes will speak to the media once all the NHL action is over.

What will he have to say? Watch this space.

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