The regular season is finally upon us, as the Montreal Canadiens kicked things off at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday night. Winless in eight pre-season games, it seemed a foregone conclusion that they’d drop their home opener, but they rallied from two separate one-goal deficits and took the win 4-3 in regulation.
As I opined after the final pre-season loss this past Saturday, Cole Caufield is scoring 40 goals this season, and I couldn’t have asked for a better start than what he pulled off against Toronto.
It was more of the same stuff we saw in the pre-season, as he got the Habs on the board to erase the first one-goal deficit early in the second period.
Cole Caufield goes roof on the odd-man rush for the first Habs goal of the year! pic.twitter.com/gbS1vxp0mc— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) October 13, 2022
The pass from Nick Suzuki is an impressive play, but the shot from Caufield is a work of art. That puck is not fully settled for him, but he still manages to put it precisely where it needed to go in order to get that red light on. He had a golden chance in the first period that he missed on, and he made sure that the next one was buried at the back of the top shelf.
Oh, and he wasn’t done there.
Cole Caufield revenge tour is absolutely full speed ahead.— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) October 13, 2022
His second snipe of the night ties the game 2-2! pic.twitter.com/3ldInUVQGg
Mojo. Swagger. Whatever you want to call it, he has it. You see him scanning as he crosses the line to decide if a pass is an appropriate option, sees Josh Anderson driving the centre lane, and just rips it over Matt Murray’s shoulder to tie the game for the second time.
Early last year, you might have seen Caufield try to pass that puck, but now he has the confidence to use his best weapon whenever he sees fit. What’s even more encouraging is that the power play managed to look good without finding the net last night, so if they can keep that going he’ll get even more opportunities.
My prediction stands at 40 goals this season, and if Caufield keeps playing like that, it might be a conservative figure.
BONUS HIGHLIGHT TIME
Brendan Gallagher’s wheels are looking alright to start the year.
"I'm fast as fuck, boyyyyy" - Brendan Gallagher, probably. pic.twitter.com/1wF3u9r3SO— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) October 13, 2022
Arber Xhekaj and Jordan Harris laying the body
Josh Anderson, AKA Spider-Man’s game winner
Josh Anderson buries it post and in with 17 seconds on the clock.— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) October 13, 2022
It's 4-3 Habs! pic.twitter.com/mdOjiAOfA5
Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available on your podcast platform of choice. We’re in full swing at this point, and will have back-to-back episodes coming at you following Friday and Saturday’s games against the Red Wings and Capitals respectively.