5 Canadiens players who must bring their A-Game to help secure an improbable wild card spot

The Montreal Canadiens are quite a few points out of a wild card spot following the All-Star Break, but if a few players step up, they may contend.

Jan 25, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Sean Monahan (91) celebrates with
Jan 25, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Sean Monahan (91) celebrates with / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
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Cole Caufield must become ultra-consistent in the clutch

If Nick Suzuki isn’t the first player you think about when you hear the word Montreal Canadiens, Cole Caufield is probably that player. Caufield, who, thanks to injuries, only saw 46 games in 2022-23, has since rebounded in 2023-24, and his 39 points in 49 contests is second only to Suzuki. 

Unlike Suzuki, however, Caufield has given the Canadiens much more even production. But if there is one statistic where he is just crushing everyone on the team, it’s his ability to score game-winning goals. Caufield has an eye-popping six of them this season, and if the Canadiens want to win more of those close games, they need to put the puck onto his stick. He will score the go-ahead goal often, and if he doesn’t, there is always a chance for a rebound near the crease so someone else can finish the job. 

The Canadiens aren’t a great hockey team, and there is a good chance that they will lose a few players by the trade deadline, making their job ultra-tough for the spring. But if Caufield comes through in clutch moments, you can’t count this team out. They will sneak up and steal a few wins, and that could make them a surprise contender in March.

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(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference as of Tuesday, February 6th)