Timing is everything.
Maybe this trend will not continue but Cole Caufield definitely has a knack for it. Caufield scored his second game-winning overtime goal in as many contests on Monday night. That gave Montreal a third consecutive win and a likely stranglehold on the final playoff spot in the North Division.
It may have meant even more in the grand scheme of things.
The Montreal Canadiens are now tied in points with the Winnipeg Jets at 57. Both teams have five games to play. It seems Montreal would have a preference to play Edmonton given the four wins they have against the Oilers this season. That is in just six games.
It is a somewhat good time to be in Montreal. When they win a few games in a row, the buzz up there is something else. Beating Toronto and in dramatic fashion on Tuesday night only heightens the exhillaration.
And now, let us roll the beautiful goal footage…
Cole Caufield’s overtime goal part deux!
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) May 4, 2021
The forward trails the play with a great amount of cunning. With Caufield being this accomplished at 3-on-3 hockey, few should be surprised. The forward was again in the right spot at the right time. Jeff Petry sets up Nick Suzuki to go wide. Suzuki draws the Toronto defender to him leaving the middle of the ice open this time.
Caufield quickly springs into position. The problem for Toronto is that there is a built-in screen in front of the net. Petry sets this up quite well. There was tons of risk with this transitional play but Caufield and Suzuki have considerable speed.
Now, Toronto got caught flat-footed here. Two players go to Suzuki because they know a pass is coming. If that press works, the Maple Leafs are gone the other way. However, the forward gets the puck into space where Caufield swoops in. Once that lane opened up for the winger to receive the pass, it was all but over.
The third Toronto player is out too far. Suzuki has the second player occupied and Petry is covered as the screen to Jack Campbell. All Caufield has to do is let it rip as the charging player comes at him. This creates an even better double screen of sorts.
At the release, if the puck is on net, it is going in. There was no way Campbell could see this shot. The wrist shot found its target in the back of the net. Montreal wins in overtime and makes the North Division a little more interesting once more.
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Some Final Thoughts…
The good news for Montreal is that they get the night off on Tuesday before another back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday night. Now, Carey Price will not play against Ottawa but will join the team in Toronto on Thursday. Hopefully, he trends closer and closer to playing soon. The next two games, as every game is now, are big for Montreal.