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Canadiens vs. Blue Jackets Top Six Minutes: Cole Caufield coordinates the comeback

Oct 26, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson (8) celebrates with teammate forward Cole Caufield (22) after scoring a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at the Bell Centre. | Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

First period

  • A great start for the top line full of energy, and a good chance for Cole Caufield.
  • Mike Matheson scored one end-to-end goal, and now the crowd is getting amped up when he gets the puck with a bit of space.
  • The Blue Jackets score first, however, as Matheson allows a pass from his side that gets across the crease in front of Justin Barron to Jack Roslovic.
  • Arber Xhekaj took a hit from behind by Dmitri Voronkov, who is making his league debut. Xhekaj gives him his “welcome to the NHL” moment by getting up with fists flying. The ref does spare Xhekaj an instigator, however, though he did assess a minor for roughing. I think that’s the ref’s subtle way of saying Voronkov deserved it. Four-on-four.
  • Another Canadiens play run into the boards, this time Alex Newhook by Cole Sillinger. The refs will have to award the Habs a power play on this one regardless of what happened after the hit. Have to send the message now.
  • Instead it’s four-on-four. The message? Keep doing what you’re doing, Jackets.
  • Newhook seems to be fine because he just authored a good shift for his trio.
  • Tanner Pearson throws a puck across. Zach Werenski nearly tips it in, then Zach Werenski prevents it from trickling in.
  • The least subtle hold ever made puts the Blue Jackets in the box. No Hab will be joining them on this occasion.
  • Thirty seconds in, the Canadiens are set up.
  • Still having issues hitting the net; they’ve had 30 shots on target just once so far.
  • With Barron in the box for tripping, the Blue Jackets make it 2-0. That was just a long-range shot that solves Samuel Montembeault.
  • Things started out fine, but again it’s a goal against the penalty kill that was the backbreaker that period, causing an obvious drain on Montreal’s energy. They do average three goals per game, so they can still win it.

Second period

  • Another good opening shift from the top line, and this time it results in a goal for Nick Suzuki. He’s quite pumped.
  • Josh Anderson nearly ties it up on a breakaway, but can’t elevate the backhand. Their not out of this one yet.
  • Barron executes the Savardian Slideorama to break up a two-on-zero.
  • Anderson gets hooked on his latest attempt to score. To the power play for a chance to tie it.
  • A shot misses the net.
  • A pass eludes Matheson.
  • A stick thwarts Sean Monahan.
  • A shin pad stops Juraj Slafkovsk√Ĺ.
  • A poor pass from Brendan Gallagher send the puck out of the zone.
  • The power play ends.
  • Montembeault is forced to make an exceptional save on Werenski who joins the rush as the penalty expires.
  • The fourth line keeps the Blue Jackets hemmed in. It ends when Voronkov targets the head of Jordan Harris at the blue line for no reason whatsoever. I don’t like that guy.
  • A shot from Caufield. That’s what you want. But Elvis Merzlikins snags it.
  • Suzuki made a cross-ice pass through so much traffic Caufield wasn’t expecting it.
  • That power play was much more dangerous, but it’s still 2-1 Columbus.
  • Harris goes to the box for try to use his stick to defend. Not quite the same severity as the shoulder to the head he took earlier.
  • And another goal against the penalty kill. No one took Emil Bemstrom at the side of the net.
  • I don’t know about you, but I’ve grown bored of this story playing out every game.
  • A slash break a Columbus stick, but there’s no penalty. The ref looked like he really wanted to call one.
  • Instead the Canadiens get the power play later on the shift, and head coach Pascal Vincent is none too pleased about it.
  • Not the usual setup, so there’s no one-timer to set up for Caufueld, and Matheson is forced to take the shot himself. It goes off the post and in.
  • From 2-0 down after one, it’s 3-2 Columbus after 40 minutes. We’re on track for a 4-4 tie at the end of regulation.

Third period

  • Anderson comes close to scoring yet again. He really wants one tonight versus his former team.
  • Suzuki thought he had an open net to sling the puck into, but Merzlikins was quick to shut it down.
  • This is the most sustained pressure the Canadiens have had to begin a period.
  • And … Brendan Gallagher takes a penalty. He was caught on the wrong side of his man heading up ice on a rush.
  • Fantilli attempts to run a pick on Matheson and it leads to a dangerous fall for the defenceman. Fortunately he seems to be uninjured. That will send the Canadiens back on the power play once Gallagher is released from his prison.
  • Caufield finds the stick of Sean Monahan in the slot for a perfect tip play. It’s a tie game.
  • Caufield now has eight points in seven games. Monahan is second on the team with six.
  • Anderson is stopped yet again. I think he;ll score the winner in whatever form it comes.
  • Caufield gets a break but it also stopped by Merzlikins. Montreal is very close to ending this. The Blue Jackets have resorted to holds and interference to try to slow them down. This is when the Canadiens are most difficult to play against.
  • Just don’t take a penalty in these final five minutes….
  • Montreal’s pace is double what it was the past few games, including the start of this one.
  • Tanner Pearson has the puck just waiting for him to put it in the net, but is hooked in the hands and can’t shoot. There’s no penalty.
  • Now Gallaghe heads to the box with a minute to go.
  • The ref refused to make the hooking call with a minute left because he didn’t want to dictate the result, then was forced to make one for an automatic high stick. Just some poo officiating.
  • But the Canadiens get a point from being 0-2 down.

Overtime

  • They will off the minute, and we’ll play some four-on-four.
  • Matheson might be spent after that PK shift.
  • Nope, he’s out there a minute later.
  • He tried to hit the stick of Newhook for a tip, but the puck goes out of play.
  • Caufield tries again for his goal, but Merzlikins has been great on the clean opportunities.
  • Caufield gets the goal! What a game for him, and a great recover by the Habs. 4-3 the final. A 4-2-1 record.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) I hear you saying you want more Joel Armia on the power play

2) The game management wasn’t great in this one

1) With a couple of candy apples and a giant stuffed animal for Caufield