Nick Suzuki poised to set a new career-high in points, despite adversity

The odds have been stacked against the Canadiens’ captain, but he just kept working.

The Montreal Canadiens beating the Columbus Blue Jackets 8-2 on Saturday night did little to assist in their tank effort. On the contrary, it essentially guaranteed that they won’t be finishing with better odds in the Connor Bedard lottery than their opponents. But since that pursuit was a mathematical unlikelihood well before they put up eight goals, it is best not to cry over spilled milk, and look instead for positives in that stellar game for the Habs.

For instance, Nick Suzuki tied his career high in points, and stands poised to set a new personal best with nine games remaining.

That toe-drag release gave him four points on the night, assuring that his next point of any kind will officially set a new season high. A point-per-game pace over the remaining contests would see him hit 70 for the first time in his career, which may not seem like something to celebrate, until you consider the circumstances under which he’s had to operate.

It is his first year as the team’s captain, he and his teammates had started the year suggesting that they’d be better than many pundits expected. For a while that was the case, but the organization wasn’t finished rebuilding, certainly not to the extent they’d need to be in order to overcome the mountain of injuries they’d encounter.

Suzuki’s best production of the season came with Cole Caufield and Kirby Dach on his wings. Caufield, the player with whom Suzuki has incredible offensive chemistry, was of course ruled out for the season back in mid-January. Dach has also missed significant time, but on top of that, he’s been required back at centre thanks to the sheer lack of bodies that the team has experienced. Suzuki has had to operate without the luxury of an optimal lineup for the bulk of the season, and yet is on the cusp of a career-best mark.

He has 10 points in his last five games alone, mostly playing with Mike Hoffman and Rafael Harvey-Pinard as his wingers. The latter is a surprising call-up from the Laval Rocket, while the Former wasn’t expected to sniff the top line this season barring disaster. Disaster came, and while it wasn’t always smooth sailing, Suzuki found a way to produce.

As difficult as this season has been, Suzuki’s perseverance in the face of adversity has been a huge silver lining.

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