(Photo credit – Getty Images)
I’m pretty confident that the collective elation in Montreal last night was felt in space. Finding a positive for the Habs has been difficult the last couple of weeks but the youth moment may have given the team the spark it needed. With six games remaining the magic number is 4 wins (2.5 against Calgary) to clinch the final playoff spot in the North.
Habs fans have patiently waited for a patented Caufield moment and they got it last night, in OT no less. Not only was the goal Caufield’s first in the NHL, but it also marked the first time the Habs have won back to back games in a month. Just like with the Badgers this season, it took Caufield a few games to find his first of the season, but it certainly was not from a lack of effort. He has averaged 3 shots per game creating a ton of offense for not only himself but his team as you can see by his underlying metrics.
This is not to suggest that Caufield is destined for a goal per game pace like he did in Wisconsin, however the fact that his game has adjust to the pros this well, thus far is encouraging. More importantly, it seems that the fans are not the only ones that are enamored by the Hobey Baker winner. Just re-watch the goal and check out the pure joy from guys like Suzuki, Toffoli and finally check out KK in this alternate angle. Yaya fan boy, something something, I don’t give a f***.
Not to be lost in all of this is the play of a couple other prominent youngsters. Cayden Primeau played great last night, keeping the Habs in the game after falling behind by two. He stood tall making several key saves including a couple breakaways to give his team a chance to win last night and fully deserved his first win of the season.
Another first for a rookie was Alex Romanov’s tilt with Josh Norris after laying the body on a delayed offside call. Romanov is having a good season, maybe not the offensive production that fans hoped for but I believe this is more to do with the coaches keeping him on a bit of a leash for his own development. However, no one can argue his physical presence, something that has been felt by the Sens time and time again. In last night’s game Josh Norris took exception, and while you have to lot Romanov’s spirit, he might need a few technical pointers for his next fight.
I will say in his defense, it is illegal in the KHL to take your gloves off in a fight or it is an automatic ejection, so you can tell that it was pure instinct to start for Romanov. A final name we would be remised not bring up is Jake Evans, who has often been the odd man out since the trade deadline. Every time he has been reinserted into the lineup he has been one of the team’s better forwards. The former Notre Dame captain leads by example, and his on ice play has been inspiring and it is great to see that he is making the most of his opportunity.
As mentioned earlier, the magic number for the Canadiens now sits a 2.5 and 4 over the Flames and Canucks respectively. This number represents the combination of Habs wins and Flames/Canucks losses needed for the team to clinch a playoff spot. With games left against the Maple Leafs (3), Oilers (2) and the Sens (1), who always give the Habs a hard time, the team will have to earn their playoff spot. Despite the injuries the team looks to be coming together just in time to put together a final push for the playoffs.
As always don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hot Sauce Family and check us out on Youtube for all of our podcasts and videos! We are proud to present the inaugural episode of the We’ve Got Balls podcast! This week Luca and Dean talk NFL draft, Lakers, Clippers and the rest of the storylines in the Western Conference.