Nick Suzuki quietly inserts himself into the NHL elite

Nick Suzuki is quietly inserting himself into the NHL’s elite.

The captain of the Montreal Canadiens is the third top scorer on the circuit since the All-Star break with 19 goals in 25 games. He reached the plateaus of 30 goals and 70 points for the first time in his career.

And even though he’s far from Connor McDavid, Nikita Kucherov and Nathan MacKinnon in the NHL’s scoring column, the 24-year-old Ontarian plays like some of the best players on the league, said head coach Martin St. -Louis.

“There are several plays that the player can make with the puck that are not bad, but “Suzy” and the best players will find the best option,” St-Louis said Wednesday. He is calm and sees clearly what is happening, because the game is slower for him in his head. »

“That’s why “Suzy” is good. He knows his options on the ice and it’s rare that he doesn’t find the best one,” he added.

Suzuki’s offensive development also partly coincides with the development of Juraj Slafkovsky. During the same streak of 25 games, the young Slovak amassed 22 points. Their linemate, Cole Caufield, collected 17 points.

Suzuki also talked about the trio’s ability to find the best play available, which helped generate more dangerous scoring chances.

“I think we’re better at keeping the puck and generating second chances after a shot on goal,” added Caufield. It allows us to be more creative. »

For its part, St-Louis also praised the work of the trio in the defensive territory. He has often had the mandate to face the best opposing elements with a certain success, at least in recent weeks. “On both ends of the ice, they play much better together,” said St-Louis in response to a question about the chemistry between Suzuki and Caufield. They are more difficult to face on both ends of the ice, because they play together. »

“They will play a lot together and score a lot of goals. I love their chemistry, and I love what “Slaf” brings to them,” he added.

St-Louis also wanted to be reassuring about the production of Caufield, who scored only his second goal in 20 games on Tuesday. Instead, he looks at the collective contribution of the trio and noted that if Caufield had 32 goals and Suzuki 21, no one would point the finger at either player.

“We all get chances to score, but it [Suzuki] is the one who scores the most, added Caufield. I’m happy for him and he’s got more in the tank. Same thing for ‘Slaf’ and me; it’s going to come for the whole trio. But yes, Nick is on fire, it’s true. »

Suzuki will try to continue its momentum on Thursday, when the Canadian hosts the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Canadian has lost his three games against the Lightning so far this season (0-2-1). In addition, he has a 5-11-5 record against Atlantic Division teams.

“These are teams that are at another stage of their process,” recalled St-Louis, speaking especially of the Lightning, the Florida Panthers, the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs. But we are getting closer to these teams. It’s encouraging. »

Cayden Primeau will defend the Habs cage against the Lightning.

Two absent from training

Defender David Savard and forward Alex Newhook did not participate in the Canadian’s training on Wednesday at the CN Sports Complex.

The Habs indicated that the two players benefited from a day of treatment.

Both players were in uniform on Tuesday, when the Canadian defeated the Panthers 5-3.

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