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Confidence wins the day for the Canadiens

The Canadiens didn’t really deserve to win, but they were determined to anyway.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Last night, the Montreal Canadians once again showed the resilience we’ve come to expect from this iteration of the team. They just seem to find ways to win. It was David Savard streaking to the net and getting hit by a pass from Laurent Dauphin that tied up the game. All due respect to those two players, and I do like both of them, it’s not exactly the duo I would circle for such a crucial moment.

After giving Toronto another lead, it was Cole Caufield who managed to tie things up. This after missing the net about a half-dozen times prior.

What do those two situations have in common? Confidence. Savard had confidence to get up into that rush, and considering that he was a more offensive player in Junior, maybe this is a side of him we could see more of under St. Louis. We certainly saw another glimpse of his confidence around the midway mark of the third period. Once again he showed some offensive instinct to get a short-handed breakaway. It was only the incredible heroics from young Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Erik Kallgren that prevented the goal.

Caulfield, on the other hand, let his frustration fuel him and he just kept shooting until he scored. That’s exactly the level of swagger he need to thrive as a sniper. Hilariously, Caufield led the team in individual shot attempts with six but only had one shot actually register on net.

Leading the team in shots on net (and tied for second in shot attempts) was Savard with three. It’s not uncommon for a defensmen to rack up a few shots on net, usually from ineffectual point shots. The difference here was that, according to Natural Stat Trick, all three of them counted as scoring chances.

As a whole, on the analytics side of the game, it was another stinker held together by gum, elastic bands, and incredible goaltending. Montreal had 31.9% of the shot attempts, 26% of the shots, and 28% of the expected goals.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; you won’t win a ton of games with numbers like that. However, with Montreal officially being eliminated from the playoffs, it’s now all about development — for the young shooters and the veteran blue-liners. Who cares that the team stats are bad, I’m just happy watching the individuals grow!