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Canadiens @ Red Wings Top Six Minutes: Cole Caufield caps a solid effort

Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

First period

  • Some new lines tonight. Nick Suzuki with play with Alex Newhook and John Anderson, while Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovský get Christian Dvorak as their centre. It’s tough for Slafkovský to get comfortable in the NHL when his centre keeps changing.
  • It feels like a showcase of Dvorak to me. Maybe one of the GMs wants to see how he plays with young wingers.
  • The goal of staying out of the penalty box doesn’t last long as Jordan Harris goes off three minutes in.
  • As the best power plays seem to, the Red Wings compress the defensive coverage within the confined of the circles, advancing far up from the blue line and shortening the passing lanes. The Canadiens seem to take the opposite approach, wanting as much room for individual players as possible.
  • The Habs survive the two minutes, and can get back to work.
  • The best Newhook has made since opening night has him speeding down the wing and centring the puck to Mike Matheson, who puts it in the net. Those two players needed that goal.
  • Suzuki doesn’t seem fazed by the demotion, as he started the play to his new winger.
  • The player originally traded to acquire Matheson, Jeff Petry, goes to box moments later for sending the puck over the glass.
  • Slafkovský has a great look to the right of the net, but his shot just misses the target as James Reimer falls off-balance.
  • Then he changes as the penalty expires, forcing the Habs to defend a two-on-one as the oncoming defenceman couldn’t get into the play in time, He had to put in the effort to aid on defence there.
  • The fourth line earns an offensive-zone faceoff, which is one of the main goals for your least-used trio. They get two shots in two different sequences of play. A quality shift for Michael Pezzetta, Jake Evans, and Joel Armia.
  • A two-on-zero for Detroit develops from a giveaway. Cayden Primeau overplays the puck-carrier and gets pulled out of position, but the bank attempt off his pads fails.
  • A less good shift from the fourth line results in penalty for Pezzetta for missing a swipe at the puck an knocking his man down. At least the two penalties so far have been in the defensive zone.
  • The power play ends early as a stick slash is called on Detroit.
  • Again, the Canadiens spend the majority of their time on the power play scrambling just to get someone away from a defender. They can’t mark all five of you, guys.
  • A subtle thing, but Caufield recovered a missed pass sent his way by shrugging off a Red Wing stick before trying to move to a better offensive positions. A lot of the wingers on the team would have just run into that wall after gaining the puck and giving it up.
  • That wasn’t the greatest hockey ever played, but it’s a start to overcome this losing streak. Other than the penalties, Montreal was the better team.

Second period

  • Primeau is called into action on an early rush.
  • The hot rod revs again as Anderson takes down a player after another giveaway.
  • Kaiden Guhle has his stick wrapped around a Red Wings forward and it called for holding.
  • Nick Suzuki gets a short-handed breakaway from his own blue line, but hits the right elbow of the net. He nearly pulls away for a second one as well.
  • A great delay by Brendan Gallagher to wait for Sean Monahan to get into a passing lane nearly results in a tipped-in goal. A good kill, and an offensive-zone faceoff immediately afterward.
  • Josh Anderson protects the puck, drives the net, and draws a call. An excellent effort by him.
  • Some good puck movement leads to a goal from bumper man Sean Monahan after a pass from Suzuki.
  • But, after a review, it was determined that the play was offside. Another power-play goal comes off the board for the Canadiens.
  • Who could have foreseen that the real issue with Caufield being small was not having long legs to drag at the blue line?
  • It means an extra minute that the Red Wings penalty-killers have to remain on the ice, and the Canadiens keep the pressure on for a good 90 seconds after the penalty expires. Detroit was lucky to escape, but now their best defenders are gassed.
  • It takes a pass off the body of Christian Fischer to solve Primeau, and he may have needed to knock the puck in with his hand to do that. It’s under review.
  • That looked like propulsion of the puck into the net with a glove to me. The refs allow the goal to stand.
  • Slafkovský has a lane to the net with the puck on his stick and opts for a pass into traffic. It results in a power play, but it should have been a power move to the net by him.

Third period

  • Power plays straddled by intermissions rarely result in goals. “Rarely,” I say, because this one does. Nick Suzuki has Montreal back in the lead.
  • Monahan now has points in seven straight, getting an assist on Suzuki’s goal. The captain has goals in three straight.
  • The Canadiens are defending this one-goal lead very well. Not sitting back, but holding the majority of the possession.
  • One shot spoils that, however. Suzuki’s clear attempt lands on an unfriendly stick, Primeau leaves a hole above his shoulder, and J.T. Compher finds it from a sharp angle.
  • Primeau had stopped every shot he’d faced up to that point.
  • A stretch pass to Gallagher just gets deflected enough to put him offside. He tosses the puck at the net anyway, drawing the ire of Moritz Seider. He’s back to his usual self.
  • Suzuki and Caufield get reunited at four-on-four, but they don’t get a chance out of it.
  • A delayed icing is indicated. The puck crosses the Canadiens’ goal line. The linesman waves off the icing.
  • A race for the puck ends with Austin Czarnik falling into the boards at speed following contact with Jordan Harris. He limps to the dressing room in the commercial break.
  • The veteran line puts in a nice shift after the Habs had been stuck in their own end for a bit. That was a key shift to settle the team down.
  • Guhle collects the puck behind his net, looks up and sees three Wings in the direction he’s heading ,but calmly stops, holds, and moves it the other way to start the breakout.
  • Anderson just misses from six feet. It’s just not happening for him.
  • And that’s a point. Now for the fun hockey.


  • Montreal has barely touched the puck in the opening two minutes. That’s not as fun as I expected.
  • Matheson lead a two-on-one but recognizes he’s moving faster than the defence and takes the shot himself.
  • Suzuki gets a breakaway but can’t get the shot he wants. Zero for two on those tonight.
  • Caufield gets a shot, tries to prevent Reimer from playing the puck, Reimer grabs on to Caufield’s stick to create a three-on-two, and the ref correctly calls that a penalty.
  • To the power play! But a timeout first.
  • Cole Caufield gets some time to work with, sets his feet and rips a shot to end this game. Perfect shot. Losing streak over Habs win 3-2.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) The more you know

2) Where’s that satisfying thud off the shin pads?

1) Just quietly doing his job