Last night, in their last game before the All-Star break, the Montreal Canadiens lost 3-2 in overtime against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Despite the defeat, we were able to enjoy a good game and, above all, two goals scored by the young players.
In fact, Kaiden Guhle and Juraj Slafkovsky were the scorers, which is just an ideal scenario for a game while the team is in the middle of a rebuild.
We can even make it even more ideal by adding that Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield had an assist each.
Others will even go so far as to say that Sean Monahan got a pass, which is good for his value on the trade market.
In short, it is a game from which we can take a lot of positive things, and that is much better, especially when compared to last Saturday’s game, in which the CH was completely crushed by the Boston Bruins.
What is even more positive in yesterday’s match is the performance of Juraj Slafkovsky.
Yes, on paper he only scored one goal (very lucky), but in reality it’s Slaf’s entire performance that draws attention.
In Slafkovsky’s case, you really have to look at more than just the points.
I begin my argument with this magnificent sequence in overtime.
Slafkovsky nearly finished it with a power move in overtime. Increasingly, we’re getting a glimpse of the beast the Habs hoped to select with the No. 1 pick in 2022. pic.twitter.com/xPmHVOyBYb
-Ted Bird (@manofbird) January 28, 2024
Imagine, if Slafkovsky had been able to complete the maneuver, how the ground in Quebec would have shaken.
This clip would have lit up social media in just a few seconds.
Unfortunately, the young Slovakian did not score in the sequence, but he was able to show all his talent with good skating, a nice fake and excellent puck protection, all against Kristopher Letang.
He’s not the first to arrive, let’s say.
Ultimately, this overtime sequence is just a small sample of the excellent game Slafkovsky had.
Juraj Slafkovsky tonight:
— 1 goal
— 7 shot attempts
— 6 scoring opportunities (3 high danger)
— 2 hits
— 2 takeaways
Starting to fill its frame. pic.twitter.com/sgkCEV0pcJ
– Big Head Hockey (@BigHeadHcky) January 28, 2024
And what we forgot to mention is that CH number 20 had this excellent game without being alongside Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield in the club’s first trio.
Slafkovsky, removed from the first line for two games, thus shows that he is capable of performing even if he is not with the club’s best players.
Better yet, we realize that he contributed greatly to the success of the first trio considering the fact that the latter has been playing worse since two games under Josh Anderson.
Slafkovsky is really the one leading the charge at CH right now, and he’s the one who improves his line (regardless of which one).
Just look at the difference in each line’s expected goals percentage against the Islanders on Thursday.
This says a lot about Slafkovsky’s contribution compared to Anderson’s.
In comparison, here you have the same table, but corresponding to yesterday’s game against the Penguins.
Once again we realize that it is the Slafkovsky trio who are leading the charge.
The Slovak performs very well alongside Sean Monahan, with whom he develops great chemistry.
In short, we are increasingly realizing that Slafkovsky is not only progressing and improving, but that he is becoming a very important factor in the success of CH since he is part of the trio in which he plays.
It’s really encouraging to see Slaf acting like this right now, because we can really see him quietly becoming one of the Habs’ best players.
For those still concerned about his offensive production (20 points, including seven goals in 49 games), the points will be coming more frequently very soon.
For some games they have been coming with more regularity.
And let’s just say he could get more points on the power play if Mike Matheson saw Slafkovsky as evidenced in this image.
– InsideTheRumblings💭 (@NHLInsider69) January 28, 2024
In short, Slafkovsky is truly developing into an excellent hockey player, both offensively and defensively.
– Let’s pray that he lands in Montreal in the next draft.
The lady wondered why I didn’t care that Pittsburgh tied the game last night and then won in overtime. I received a one-word answer: “Demidov.” https://t.co/ggWx2qEiGZ
– Grant McCagg (@grantmccagg) January 28, 2024
– Jannik Sinner Australian Grand Slam champion after a complete duel against Daniil Medvedev.
-RDS (@RDSca) January 28, 2024
Sam Reinhart has 12 power play goals in the last month.
Matthew Tkachuk has helped on nine of them.
I asked Matthew what his secret is.
—George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) January 28, 2024
– Great victory for LeBron.
LeBron James triumphs in exciting duel with Steph Curryhttps://t.co/Y6tCoMSxVm
-RDS (@RDSca) January 28, 2024
– Great news.