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Canadiens @ Devils Top Six Minutes: Cole Caufield gives Habs back-to-back wins

Jan 17, 2024; Newark, New Jersey, USA; Montreal Canadiens left wing Juraj Slafkovsky (20) celebrates his goal against the New Jersey Devils during the first period at Prudential Center. | Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

First period

  • Justin Barron, back in the lineup, nearly opens the scoring on a wraparound after carrying the puck deep into the offensive zone.
  • A sudden flurry of chances by Devils is their first real pressure of the opening period.
  • Tyler Toffoli gets another good look walking into the slot, but Samuel Montembeault comes out to take all of the net away. He comes up big on Timo Meier on a breakaway moments later
  • Juraj Slafkovský makes the Devils pay for those misses. Thanks to a nifty mid-air pass from behind the net to the slot by Cole Caufield, Slafkovský just had to hit an open piece of the net.
  • Joshua Roy nearly makes in 2-0 on a mini breakaway, but Daws stops the five-hole shot.
  • Kaiden Guhle goes to the box for getting his stick up on the chest of Meier, which the Devils forward pretended caught him in the face.
  • David Savard and Toffoli get into a bit of shoving match after the former Hab whacks at Montembeault’s glove.
  • A quick period ends with Montreal in the lead.

Second period

  • Twenty-five seconds in the period, Mike Matheson goes to the box for high-sticking. I think that one actually made contact.
  • Toffoli tries to set up a Nico Hischier with an eight-foot pass from the side of the net, but it doesn’t go as Toffoli envisioned.
  • Joel Armia and Jake Evans kill off the final 30 seconds with possesion in the Devils’ zone and a scoring chance.
  • Jayden Struble faces a three-on-one, and makes sure no pass gets made.
  • At the other end, they get a power-play chance. There are some chances the top line stays on the ice for the full two minutes, but no goal.
  • The Devils have alreayd had more odd-man rushes than Montreal allowed in the past two games combined. You can get away with that with Montembeault in the net. The Devils are also looking to see them up on nearly every shift.
  • Thanks to those Monty saves, the Canadiens can get a 2-0 lead. It comes off the stick of Joshua Roy, who got himself to the middle of the ice to accept a pass from Sean Monahan. It’s Roy’s first NHL goal.
  • Monahan continued around the net and scooped up the puck for his new linemate.
  • Nick Suzuki tries to get around his man on the forecheck, but his stick comes up. Devils defenceman Kevin Bahl is bleeding so we know that stick found flesh.
  • It’s a 2-0 lead after two period, but the Canadiens will have three minutes of penalty-kill time to open the final frame.

Third period

  • The Canadiens don’t get through the first minute, so it’s 2-0 with another minor left to kill. Luke Hughes scores from the top of the circle through a layered screen.
  • And the game is tied on a second power-play goal. That one-timer from Alexander Holtz just beat Montembeault clean after Guhle did well to clear his man out of the way.
  • At least they don’t have to defend a lead now.
  • After the two goals put some spring in the Devils’ step for a few shift, things have settled back down to the pace the game had been being played at through 40 minutes.
  • Armia seals the wall to create a takeaway, then gets in for a good scoring chance. He’s made several good plays in this game.
  • Dawson Mercer tried to draw a penalty by launching himself into the board when he felt a bit of contact. but the contact came from Caufield, and the referee didn’t buy it.
  • With less that five minutes to go, the Canadiens do an excellent job of turning defence into offence. Struble fakes a pass behind his net and slings it up to Roy in the slot. Joel Armia fights off several hooks to get the puck in the offensive zone. With the Devils watching the play on the boards, the puck comes to Jordan Harris show steps into a slapshot, and the rebounds pinballs around off Monahan and eventually Caufield for the 3-2 goal.
  • The Devils pulled their goaltender and got one goo chance, but a final block from RHP seals the 3-2 win for Montreal. That’s now 2-0-1 since the Sharks game.

EOTP 3 Stars

3) Another good win for him

2) And that’s why interviews are an important aspect of the draft process

1) You can tell it’s a close-knit group

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