The Canadian found himself in overtime for a sixth time this season and for a third time, Cole Caufield played the hero.
Caufield scored the winning goal on a power play with 44 seconds left in overtime and the Montreal hockey club ended a four-game losing streak by beating the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 on Thursday at Little Caesars Arena.
Positioned in the faceoff circle to the right of goaltender James Reimer, Caufield accepted a pass from Mike Matheson, returned to his right, then shot against the flow into the upper part of the shield side.
The 22-year-old American leads the NHL with three overtime goals this season. He has seven in his career, a career high in the Bettman league since his NHL debut, tied with Martin Necas, Alex DeBrincat and Connor McDavid.
“I like being in these situations,” Caufield said. Of course it would be better to win in regulation time, but you have to take advantage of the opportunity in front of you. »
Coach Martin St-Louis had shuffled the cards a bit, placing Alex Newhook and Josh Anderson on Nick Suzuki’s wings. Caufield found himself to the left of Christian Dvorak and Juraj Slafkovsky.
A little more than 24 hours after making his mea culpa in front of the cameras, Matheson collected a goal and two assists, participating in all of his team’s goals. The 29-year-old defenseman had compiled minus-3 differentials in his two previous outings. This time, he ended the evening at plus-1.
“He managed the risk better,” said St-Louis. It was a performance he needed to bounce back from. It’ll help him. »
Suzuki also scored for the Canadian (6-5-2), in addition to collecting an assist. In his second start of the season, Cayden Primeau stopped 27 shots.
Primeau won his first NHL game since December 16, 2021 against the Philadelphia Flyers. He ended a personal streak of nine NHL losses (0-8-1 in 13 outings).
“Cayden was our best player tonight,” Caufield said. He made tough saves in important moments, particularly in overtime. »
The Habs are 3-0 in overtime this season and 1-2 in shootouts.
Christian Fischer and JT Compher scored for the Red Wings (7-5-2). Reimer made 23 saves.
The Canadian will return to the Bell Center this weekend. It will host the Boston Bruins on Saturday, then the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday.
A good battle
The visitors opened the scoring 7:02 into the game. Newhook took advantage of the space created by Moritz Seider’s fall after contact with Suzuki to advance. Newhook then joined Matheson in the slot and the Montreal defender moved the strings with a lively shot from the side of the shield.
The Canadian had not had the lead in each of his previous six matches.
“I think that was our challenge tonight: to play a good first period, to score the first goal,” insisted St-Louis. It allowed us to play the match in front of us, without having to take any risks. »
Primeau preserved this lead for more than one period thanks to some good saves. He was notably alert against Jeff Petry during a two-on-one attack, then when Dylan Larkin wanted to surprise him from behind the net.
Suzuki came close to widening the gap in the second period, when the Canadian was playing outnumbered. He escaped, but his shot grazed Reimer’s shoulder before hitting the post.
Reimer signaled himself again when Anderson appeared alone before him. He made the save with his shield.
Sean Monahan beat Reimer with 7:58 left in the second period, during a power play. But Red Wings head coach Derek Lalonde won his case during a video challenge. The restarts showed that there had been offside when entering the zone.
The Red Wings took advantage of this second chance by tying the game 1-1 with 3:16 left in the second period. Michael Rasmussen shot backhanded. The puck deflected against the glove of Primeau and Fischer before ending its journey behind the goal line.
The referees reviewed the goal, but ultimately awarded it since Fischer had not intentionally deflected the puck with his glove.
The two teams exchanged goals early in the third period. Suzuki surprised Reimer between the pads during a power play, 26 seconds into the game. Then Compher found the opening over Primeau’s right shoulder at 6:06.
Primeau and Reimer made good saves in overtime, but the Red Wings goaltender was punished for stupidly holding Caufield’s stick after a collision between the two players.
Suzuki first reached the post, then Caufield made the difference a few seconds later.