In a perfect world, the Montreal Canadiens would score five goals a game and never allow a goal against. They happen to play hockey in an imperfect world, however, one filled with plenty of obstacles that make such outcomes unlikely. That hasn’t slowed down the Canadiens in the last week though, as the continued absence of their franchise stars has spurred them into their longest winning streak of the season, bolstered by their newest addition in Cole Caufield.
He announced his arrival to Montreal with a stunning overtime goal against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. Not only was it his first NHL goal, it also officially eliminated Ottawa from the playoff race and capped a second straight comeback victory. On Monday night, he became just the third player in NHL history to score his first two goals in overtime, and first in 16 years.
Caufield’s never-quit attitude on plays, even in physical mismatches, is commendable, and makes him a perfect fit in this current Habs lineup that refused to coast into the playoffs due to other teams’ incompetence. The team had to overcome adversity once more, as it looked like Toronto might strangle the life out of them as they defended their one-goal lead. Again and again the Habs pushed, eventually tying the game to send it to overtime, where Jeff Petry and Caufield worked their magic once more.
It would be easy for a young player to get discouraged in this game, after all Caufield rang a beautiful shot off the crossbar early in the game and then watched Jack Campbell stonewall Josh Anderson and Ben Chiarot in short order late in the third period.
Instead, on a quick change, Caufield flew in through the neutral zone and into the offensive end where he could take a Petry feed and run it right down the middle of Toronto’s defence. Anyone who knows Caufield knows that giving him the middle of the ice is playing with fire.
The Canadiens have become a new beast in the last week, and right in the middle of that is Cole Caufield. He’s become not only the most exciting player on the team, but he’s melded perfectly with the mentality that is radiating out of the Canadiens recently. Cole said this year has been the best year of his life, and with results like these it’s getting even better.