Montreal Canadiens: the off-ice cohesion between Dach, Caufield and Suzuki is reflected on the ice


After a quieter evening in Detroit, the Canadian’s first line found its bearings on Wednesday, when Kirby Dach notably stood out with two goals.

Dach was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks on July 7 for first-round picks and third-round picks. He now has three goals and six assists in his last six games since being paired with Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki.

With 12 points on the clock after 14 games, Dach would lead the Blackhawks in scoring going into Thursday’s games.

« You never know, » Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher said when asked if he was surprised to see a player of Dach’s caliber being traded so young. We are just happy to have gotten a player who can help the team for a long time. »

Dach was selected by the Blackhawks third overall in the 2019 draft, 12 spots before the Canadiens set his sights on Caufield.

A wrist injury hampered Dach’s progress with the Blackhawks. Then the team decided to sacrifice him despite his 21 years when they opted for a major rebuild this summer.

Although his contribution to the attack was relatively weak, Dach played good hockey for the Canadiens according to advanced statistics before being promoted to the first line. Things clicked quickly when he found himself on the right of Caufield and Suzuki.

“I have a lot of fun with them. I think it helps that we have fun together off the ice,” Dach said after the Canadiens’ 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night. We talk continuously and we explain what we see on the ice. We have a great chemistry. »

Caufield and Dach were born 19 days apart in January 2001. Suzuki is the eldest of the group, having turned 23 in August.

« Spending time together, whether it’s even just for dinner, I think helps bond, » Dach said. When you have good cohesion off the ice, it will often carry over to the ice. »

Johnathan Kovacevic joined the Canadiens a little later than Dach, who was obtained from the Winnipeg Jets via waivers on October 8. While Dach spoke about his time off the ice with his linemates to explain his successes, Kovacevic noted that the atmosphere was particularly welcoming at the Canadian.

« I felt as soon as I arrived that it was different here, » said the 25-year-old defender. This is a group that is easy to get along with. You feel that something special is being built here. »

Kovacevic admitted to not knowing exactly where that vibe or mentality came from. However, he noted that it was felt in all spheres within the organization.

« Even the general manager (Kent Hughes) comes to us to ask how life is going, » he said. You have the feeling that they care about you and it shows in the locker room.

« When you care about your teammate as a person and not just as a hockey player, when your bond goes beyond hockey, it’s easier to push yourself and play for each other, » added Kovacevic. You are playing for something more important than just yourself, which is a special feeling. »

Head coach Martin St-Louis also often emphasizes the importance of doing every little thing with enthusiasm. So far, the recipe seems to be working, as the Canadian has a record of 7-6-1 after 14 games. We had to wait until December 16 — the 31e game of the season — to see the Canadiens win a seventh game last winter.

“We are making great progress. We understand the style we have to play every night. The guys understand their role and how to contribute, Gallagher pointed out. But things are always more and more difficult during a season.

“There are lessons to come. But the good thing is that we have been able to learn from those lessons so far this season and quickly correct our mistakes. […] I think it shows the maturity of our group, even if we say that we have a young team,” concluded Gallagher.

The Canadiens will resume training on Friday before hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Center on Saturday night.

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