Montreal Canadiens: Juraj Slafkovsky Put Up Six Shots Against The Avalanche

Edmonton Oilers v Montreal Canadiens
Edmonton Oilers v Montreal Canadiens / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

Montreal Canadiens 2022 first-overall selection Juraj Slafkovsky has taken considerable developmental strides this season.  But one area has continued to plague him.

On Monday night against the Colorado Avalanche, Slafkovsky flipped the script, firing five shots toward Alexandar Georgiev. It appears that he finally felt confident enough to use his shot. A slick cross-crease pass from Nick Suzuki on the powerplay landed on his tape and he swatted it past Georgiev. 

Not to be mistaken, he scanned and sought open ice and emerged for the pass was brilliant. He would have never beaten the defenseman if not for his smart positioning. With everything else taking considerable strides, with Slaf shooting more - the points should rise.

Of late, Slafkovsky has been the best player on his line, at moments he just takes over, and he opens up a ton of space for his linemates to work. For him to score the game-tying goal in the first period against the Avalanche from his linemates, was a nice feeling. Especially, when you consider all the work he has done to improve his game.

After a strong outing against the Edmonton Oilers high powered offence, it’s promising to see Slafkovsky asserting himself against the league’s best. Up against the Avalanche top line - Mikko Rantanen - Nathan MacKinnon - Jonathan Drouin, Slafkovsky and the Habs top trio had a strong game. 

It’s become increasingly clear that Slafkovsky is a product of the Kent Hughes mentality. He may not have been the best at 18 years old, but his potential to grow is seismic. Just under two seasons in, Slafkovsky has undergone tremendous growth. Martin St. Louis’ trust in him, and his strong work ethic have shown in his strong play. 

Slafkovsky’s increase in shots against the Avalanche wasn’t even the best part. He played a brilliant complete game against one of the best lines in the NHL. The inconsistencies are growing pains in the rebuild, but the last two efforts against the Oilers and the Avalanche have been hard-fought battles for the young group.

It’s easy to see the pieces falling into place, with Slafkovsky, Suzuki and Caufield on the top line. Kaiden Guhle is on the top defence pair - Kirby Dach and Alex Newhook will be healthy next year. Oh yeah, Hughes hasn’t put on his trade socks yet - but there may be a couple of firsts coming Montreal’s way soon.

During a post game interview, Slafkovsky was asked about his night, and he put it simply. He is told to shoot the puck more all the time. So Monday night he did just that.