In the Habs’ Room: ‘I think we’re better and better every day’: St. Louis

In the Habs' Room: 'I think we're better and better every day': St. Louis thumbnail

Cole Caufield, who scored two goals in the 3-2 OT win over the Blues, says Montreal players are embracing interim coach’s concepts.

Author of the article:

Pat Hickey  •  Montreal Gazette

Canadiens' Cole Caufield, right, is congratulated by Jeff Petry after scoring the winning goal in overtime against the Blues Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
Canadiens’ Cole Caufield, right, is congratulated by Jeff Petry after scoring the winning goal in overtime against the Blues Thursday night at the Bell Centre. Photo by Dave Sidaway /Montreal Gazette

Josh Anderson said it was good to go into the dressing room after Thursday night’s overtime win over the St. Louis Blues and hear music playing.


There hasn’t been much joy in the room over the past month, but the Canadiens were elated not only with their first victory in 11 games, but also with the dramatic nature of the win.

The Canadiens appeared dead in the water when Pavel Buchnevich scored with 1: 19 remaining to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

But Cole Caufield scored at 19: 50 to force overtime and then potted the winner at 2: 22 in the extra frame to give interim head coach Martin St. Louis his first NHL win. It was the Canadiens’ first overtime win in eight tries.

“As soon as they got that goal you just want to go out and press, try to get into their zone as quickly as possible and obviously we had the right people out there,” Anderson said. “(Chris Wideman) made a great cross-ice pass to Cole and that’s the guy you want to have the puck in that situation. We got a lot of confidence from that goal and Cole came through again in overtime.”


St. Louis has been preaching the importance of making the right decision at the right time and that described Wideman as he passed up a possible shot to set up Caufield.

The coach attributed the win to his team’s capacity to learn.

“I think we’re better and better every day,” St. Louis said. “We’re applying some of the things we’re talking about, but we’re not trying to bring in so many things at once. We’re working on one thing at a time and the more we add, it gives us a better chance, especially if the effort is there because it doesn’t matter if the effort isn’t there, the commitment isn’t there.”

There was an excellent example of commitment before the tying goal when veteran Brendan Gallagher tracked back to prevent an empty-net goal.


St. Louis said he’ll consult with his coaching staff to determine if he can accelerate the learning process when the Canadiens return to practice Saturday after a day off.

‘I’m trying to be patient, not give them too much at once, but when you look at what they did tonight, I feel I need to give then something else, add to our playbook and give them a chance to win even more.”

When St. Louis was hired, there was a feeling Caufield would be among the players who would benefit from the coaching change and the early returns indicate that is the case. He scored one goal in his first 30 games and now has four in four games under St Louis.

“The past couple of games we’ve been playing well, down to the wire,” Caufield said. “For sure, it feels good to be on the other side of things (and) get the win for Marty.


Caufield said the Canadiens have embraced St. Louis’s concept of playing without the puck.

“I think that’s the way Marty is implementing things,” Caufield said. “We’re getting to know where guys are on the ice and that’s helping our offensive zone production. We’re keeping (the puck) on our sticks longer. It’s about playing without the puck and that’s what guys are focusing on now and the we’re getting more chances we get, the more goals we’ll score.”

“Hopefully we can string some wins together,” added Caufield, who is all too aware the Canadiens haven’t won two games in a row this season.

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