The production of Caufield, Slafkovsky and Suzuki is a dream for the Canadian

Martin St-Louis admitted that it was difficult even for him not to get carried away by the production of his first line in recent games.

The lessons from the head coach of the Montreal Canadiens have obviously not fallen on deaf ears. Young Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield and Juraj Slafkovsky have been leading the charge for the Habs in recent games and fans dream of seeing this combination run rain and shine across the NHL for several seasons.

“‘Slaf’ has reached another level, but it’s the three players! “Suzy” is on fire and Cole also had a long streak of games with at least one point,” said Brendan Gallagher, who will return to action Thursday against the Rangers in New York after serving a five-year suspension. met.

“They carry the team offensively and that’s great for us,” he added.

Suzuki has scored at least one point in his last eight games, collecting seven goals and as many assists during this stretch. He ranks tied for third in NHL scoring with Nathan MacKinnon since this streak began on January 20.

For his part, Slafkovsky has collected at least one point in each of his last six games. He scored five goals and four assists during this streak. The 19-year-old Slovakian has accumulated 20 points in his last 24 games.

Then there is Caufield, with six goals and nine assists in his last 13 games.

“It’s a very difficult league, so to have success like that at a young age is very impressive,” insisted defenseman Mike Matheson. Throughout the season, they built together.

“These last few matches, yes they have scored a lot of goals, but what they do well, they have been doing for several matches,” he added. It’s good for them to have games where it goes into the net. »

After the 5-0 victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, St-Louis also highlighted that the success of the three players on the power play helped generate the confidence necessary for them to also produce at five on five.

Slafkovsky joined the first power play unit on December 4 against the Seattle Kraken. In 29 games, the Canadian has an efficiency of 23%, which is good for ninth in the NHL during this period.

“It’s another opportunity to have the puck a lot, touch it a lot,” said Matheson, who ranks eighth in the NHL in power play points by a defenseman. When you have success on the power play, it gives you confidence with the puck. You see the game better. It gives you confidence in general. »

Only time will tell if this unit will become untouchable or if St-Louis will sometimes have to go with an electric shock to revive these players.

Furthermore, Samuel Montembeault will defend the Canadian’s net against the Rangers. He has guided the Habs to victory in three of his last five starts and is 4-0-1 in his career against the Rangers.

For their part, Suzuki and Josh Anderson did not participate in the Canadian’s training Wednesday morning, instead taking advantage of a day of treatments.

For his part, forward Kirby Dach skated solo before his teammates at the CN Sports Complex for the first time since he had surgery on his right knee. Dach tore two ligaments in the second game of the campaign.

The team does not expect him to return this season.

Gallagher returns

Ready for his return to play, Brendan Gallagher, however, insisted that he does not recognize himself when he sees the gesture that led to his five-game suspension.

On January 25, Gallagher elbowed New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech in the head. The latter missed a game after this gesture. Gallagher, for his part, was champing at the bit for almost three weeks.

“I’ve been playing this sport for a long time and I’ve never been suspended, and not just in the NHL,” Gallagher said after the Canadian’s practice on Wednesday. I don’t think it’s going to happen again. When it happened, I surprised myself.

“It’s not a good feeling,” he added. It’s not part of my DNA. This is the first time in my life that this has happened and hopefully the last. »

Gallagher said he sent Pelech a note and said he was happy to see him back in action quickly. The 31-year-old veteran also returned to the sequence that led to his suspension.

Gallagher said he wanted to stop Pelech from sneaking up behind him, believing he might be able to escape.

“My intention was to force him off course, not to hit him,” Gallagher said. Then, at the last moment, I told myself I had to touch him. My angle of attack wasn’t good and I didn’t hit it in the right place. […] It was not intentional. It’s a fast sport and things happen quickly. »

And when it came to the length of his suspension, Gallagher didn’t want to get himself into hot water by criticizing the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. However, he noted that a comparison was made with the four-game suspension of Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy at the start of the season.

McAvoy then knocked out Florida Panthers defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson with a violent late check.

“My point was I was trying to make a hockey play and the guy had the puck,” Gallagher explained. We both hit the player in the head. I suffered one more match [que McAvoy]. It’s like that. I live with their decision, but I’m happy to be back. »

Gallagher has scored eight goals and as many assists in 48 games this season.

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