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Bottom Six Minutes: Captain Suzuki returns with two-point effort

The newly minted captain looked solid in his first game action since last season.

NHL: Preseason-Ottawa Senators at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens finish their 2022-23 pre-season on an odd bit of scheduling, with three straight games against the Ottawa Senators. Kicking things off with a 5-4 loss at the Bell Centre on Tuesday night, it was a disappointing final score, but with some bright spots to build from

Most notably from their captain, Nick Suzuki, who made his return to the team count to the tune of two assists.

The first was the product of some absolute puck-handling wizardry, embarrassing two Senators defenders before feeding a perfect pass over to Joel Armia.

His second assist was just a sublime cross-ice pass to his right-hand man in Cole Caufield. Playing Suzuki at the point and Caufield near the face-off dot seems to be a recipe for a lot more power play goals than Habs fans have become accustomed to over the years.

This wasn’t Suzuki’s best game in a Habs uniform, but it was better than you’d expect given that he hasn’t seen game action since last season. If that is him shaking off rust, he could be in for a career year given a full season playing alongside Caufield, regardless of how bad the team fares in the standings.

The big question at this stage is who will be playing on the other wing. Juraj Slafkovsky didn’t look bad there on Tuesday, but he also didn’t look ready to be there on a nightly basis. If the organization agrees with that statement, and elects to start him in Laval or elsewhere, then the favourite to play with Suzuki and Caufield would be Josh Anderson.

Whoever they pick, if Suzuki is going to be bringing puck and passing skills like he did against the Senators, they’re likely to be a lot of fun to watch.

Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available on your podcast platform of choice. We’ll be back on Thursday night as the Habs and Sens take their pre-season rivalry to the east coast.