Four straight wins is not something anyone can say they predicted for the Montreal Canadiens to achieve this season. Samuel Montembeault earned his first shutout on Wednesday against the Buffalo Sabres, and the Habs’ top line was once again the focal point of their offensive output.
And this time, it was Nick Suzuki making his mark, and making me wonder if he should be named the next captain of this team.
The top line has been getting plenty of shine lately, with most of the focus deservedly being on Josh Anderson and Cole Caufield. On Wednesday, it was Suzuki driving the offense, scoring twice and setting up Caufield’s lone goal. He was everywhere against the Sabres, and his increased physicality on the forecheck was again a big part in his line’s success.
And of course, he scored an absolutely gorgeous goal on a penalty shot...
Nick Suzuki with the patience of a monk on this penalty shot. pic.twitter.com/ghiy6HEOiM— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) February 24, 2022
After that game, he leads the Canadiens in points by a wide margin — 33 through his 52 games — 12 ahead of the next man in Anderson. If that trio remains together through the end of the season, they could finish as the team’s top three scorers, as Cole Caufield currently sits fifth with 18 points. They make each other better, but Suzuki drives that line, and is arguably the most important offensive player on the team.
But it’s not just points that have me wondering about him replacing the A on his jersey with a C, as captains aren’t required to be leading scorers. At the end of the game, he did something that captains do.
Captain material.— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) February 24, 2022
Nick Suzuki demands the game puck from the ref as this was Samuel Montembeault's first shutout. pic.twitter.com/gQj8mHVlPX
He beelined for the official after the game to make sure he got that puck. It is just one example of how he has been leading this team through one of the toughest seasons imaginable. Some may find it premature to think about giving him that prestigious letter, but with the way he’s carrying himself this season, it feels appropriate.
I’ve always been partial to Brendan Gallagher as this team’s next captain, but I’m beginning to think that Nick Suzuki is equally deserving of that honour.
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