It was obvious, but at the same time, we have learned to not expect the obvious.
Cole Caufield. Nick Suzuki. Jeff Petry. To start overtime for the Montreal Canadiens. It makes so much sense, yet it has not been something we have seen in recent years. After seeing players like Phillip Danault, Ben Chiarot, among others start the overtime period, it was nice to see a team with nothing to lose trying to win.
The next shift, Rem Pitlick jumped over the boards and he was joined by Corey Schueneman and Mike Hoffman. You could hear the surprise on the RDS broadcast when both Pierre Houde and Marc Denis noticed who was on the ice. None of those players are what you would call safe choices. In fact they could be considered the opposite of that.
With an offensive zone faceoff, after a whistle, interim head coach Martin St. Louis swapped Pitlick for Jake Evans in hopes that he would win the draw after being the team’s best faceoff man. He lost it, but the very next shift, on the fly, the Canadiens’ coach went back to Caufield, Suzuki, and Petry and the result was a perfect play, and a much-needed win.
So often you see coaches trying not to lose in the extra frame. We saw it under Dominique Ducharme and even Claude Julien in the last few years. It may be easier for St. Louis in these circumstances because he doesn’t have anything to lose, but trusting his offensive players to go win him a game is a nice change. Nevermind that it happened to work.
While starting the original trio may have been an obvious start, going right back to them and shortening the bench wasn’t. It was a nice masterstroke by the rookie bench boss, and his faith in his young stars paid off.
There is still a lot of work to do for this Canadiens organization, but it sure is nice to have positives to take away.