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Bottom Six Minutes 47: Cole world, heating up

Just two games into the Martin St. Louis era, Cole Caufield is on his first scoring streak.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

For the second game in a row, the Montreal Canadiens found themselves down early. Oliver Bjorkstrand gave the Columbus Blue Jackets the lead less than two minutes into the game, and with the way this season has gone for the Habs, it easily could have devolved into another laugher.

But also for the second game in a row, the Tricolore showed some fight that has been absent for most of the season. Samuel Montembeault kept things close through the first 40 minutes, allowing the Canadiens to tie it up — and almost take the game to overtime — by playing their best hockey in the third.

It can’t be understated how important Montembeault was in that game, but my key takeaway remains the sustained elevation of Cole Caufield’s game.

He appears far more confident, and his chemistry with Ryan Poehling is something that Martin St. Louis should continue to explore for the remainder of the season. Even if the team loses every single remaining game this season, those two players taking a step forward in their careers would make it tolerable.

The St. Louis philosophy of allowing his players to make reads rather than being boxed into a rigid system is showing us a much looser Caufield. He’s anticipating plays, getting creative, and finding the score sheet as a result.

This game wasn’t without issue, as he had a few turnovers resulting from ill-advised passes. But as St. Louis said in his press conference, he’d rather his players make a bad read than not make a read at all. These mishaps are part of the process, and so far that process has resulted in Caufield’s first scoring streak of the year.

We won’t have to wait to see if he can keep this going either, as the Canadiens are right back in action tomorrow at 12:30 EST against the Buffalo Sabres. Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, and we’ll have another episode out just before the Super Bowl tomorrow night.