Pre-season wins, meaningless though they may be, have been hard to come by for the Montreal Canadiens in recent years. They got one on Wednesday night, taking down the
Belleville Ottawa Senators at the Bell Centre ahead of an upcoming three-game set against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
More importantly, in the process of getting that win, they may have found exactly what Juraj Slafkovsky needed to get going.
The 2022 first-overall pick has been somewhat of a hot topic lately, and not for the best of reasons. Fans have been frustrated with his production, or lack thereof, and wondering what could possibly help him take a step forward. Enter Kirby Dach and Raphael Harvey-Pinard, who just may be the answers to the fan base’s prayers.
You can’t read too much into a single pre-season game, much less one in which the Senators iced mostly AHL players, but that line was excellent. They controlled 90% of even-strength shot attempts when they were on the ice, and though they managed just the one goal, you could argue they were as effective as the top line in the win.
It warrants, at the very least, further exploration through the remaining pre-season games as competition is bound to stiffen. Martin St-Louis has spoken about Slafkovsky needing more confidence, and he certainly seemed to have it with his new linemates on Wednesday. You simply can’t thumb your nose at that kind of chemistry just because it came to be in the pre-season.
The coaching staff should go back to that well for at least one of the back-to-back games against the Leafs this week, and see if it was more than a flash in the pan. If Slafkovsky is to start this season in the NHL, they need to figure out a configuration that works, and this just might be it.
Jared Davidson just keeps on impressing.
Cole Caufield doing Cole Caufield things.
Talk about finding the right configuration, is Sean Monahan the right third to Caufield and Suzuki?
Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, also available on your preferred podcast platform. We’ll be back after Friday’s first meeting with the Leafs.