The Canadiens’ support players must produce


The first line of the Montreal Canadiens has been working at full speed for four games. The team still lost three of those four games as the rest of the attack is down.

Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Kirby Dach had 9 goals and 13 assists during that streak, but the Canadian went 1-2-1.

The Habs’ lone victory in its last four outings dates back to October 29, when Christian Dvorak notably provided three goals in a 7-4 win over the St. Louis Blues.

In the last three games, three losses, six of the Canadian’s seven goals have come from the sticks of Suzuki, Caufield and Dach. Juraj Slafkovský is the club’s only other player to score, in the Habs’ 4-6 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.

« You can’t win with just one line, » admitted forward Sean Monahan. We have to find ways to put the puck in the net. The numerical advantage seems better and better. We need to build on that and develop chemistry on other lines. »

Head coach Martin St-Louis is aware that the many changes made to his lines since the start of the season are not helping the development of cohesion within the group.

On the other hand, these changes are often due to circumstances – a player out due to injury, another returning to play, a suspension, etc.

“Does it cause stress? Does it cause the player to grip his stick a little too tightly? We try to make sure they are comfortable on the ice,” St-Louis said Monday.

Caufield and Suzuki have each scored eight goals since the start of the campaign. Dvorak, Slafkovský and Josh Anderson follow with three goals each.

Forwards Jonathan Drouin, Jake Evans, Evgenii Dadonov and Rem Pitlick have all played at least 7 of the team’s 12 games and still haven’t moved the ropes. Pitlick’s name was also submitted for waivers on Monday.

While Drouin refused to use the numerous changes in line partners as an excuse, he noted that Suzuki and Caufield have been playing together on a fairly regular basis since the American winger’s arrival in the NHL.

« And Dach completes them well now thanks to his good vision of the game, » noted Drouin. Their speed is greater than [celle de] a lot of defenders we’ve faced so far. »

» They [Suzuki et Caufield] also spend a lot of time together off the ice. I think it helps them on the ice,” he continued.

Asked about the potentially inspiring nature of the first line for other Canadian players, Brendan Gallagher recalled how special Suzuki and Caufield are.

« There aren’t many players in the world who can do what they are capable of doing, » said the 30-year-old veteran. They are special players and they achieve special things on the ice. »

“The others, we have to stay true to who we are,” added Gallagher.

In Gallagher’s case, that means attacking the opposing net and throwing a lot of shots. And that, all players can do.

“We need to have more confidence with the puck and make plays. We have to get to the net and find a way to produce. It can’t always come from one line,” Monahan concluded.

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