The Montreal Canadiens have struggled mightily to score goals, but Cole Caufield seems poised for a goalscoring explosion, and his latest goal was the 60th of his young career.
On Wednesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Caufield found the scoresheet, knocking in a rebound that counted as his 60th goal in his 145th regular season game. The players he joins on the list of the only Habs players to score 60 goals before their 150th game is quite prestigious.
There are just four players that have reached the feat ahead of the 150th game in the last 100 years. Howie Morenz achieved the feat in 74 games, and Maurice Richard did it in his 83rd game. Jean Beliveau and Joe Benoit reached 60 career goals total in 132 and 135 games respectively.
Caufield has played a minimum of 10 more games than the others on the list, before reaching the achievement. But he also struggled for a 30-plus game stretch under former Canadiens head coach Dominic Ducharme. This is a huge factor to him not reaching 60 goals much earlier this season.
Last season, despite losing half of it to a shoulder injury, he scored 26 goals in 46 games under Martin St. Louis. The 5’9” undrafted Hall of Famer helped unlock Caufield’s goalscoring touch. And Caufield flew, doing his best work alongside Nick Suzuki.
Be it in regulation or overtime, or on a one-timer or absolute snipe, Caufield has become known around the league because of his shooting skills. Defences will cheat to his side, and he has the passing ability to adjust and set up his mates, making him a true dual-threat offensive talent. He will make goaltenders guess each time he has a chance in the slot.
He is nimble-footed and the way he finds small openings in coverage is perhaps the oil that keeps the offensive motor firing. Often he ends up in a dangerous scoring area, and he needs very little time to pick his corners. Slapshots aren’t a favourite of his, but his deadly accurate wrist shot explodes off his stick with very little time needed to load up and shoot.
In the long, illiustrious history of the Canadiens, it is rare that someone breaks a scoring record. The fact Caufield is the fifth player to reach the milestone in franchise history is an impressive feat. At 22 years old, after an injury and the Ducharme drought, that’s pretty impressive company to have your name etched alongside.
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