“Jeff got into the zone pretty quick and I went as fast as I could back door and I yelled to him and he put it right on my stick.”
Cole Caufield’s teammates couldn’t resist having some fun with the rookie after his first NHL goal gave the Canadiens a 3-2 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators Saturday at the Bell Centre.
Caufield didn’t get the reaction he expected after he returned to the locker room after being interviewed on Hockey Night in Canada.
“We were all waiting for him and we gave him the silent treatment,” said Jeff Petry, who set up the winning goal. “You’ve seen it in years past with other guys, they walk in and nobody’s saying a word. He kind of looked around, a little confused and then everyone broke out and congratulated him.”
Caufield’s goal gave the Canadiens a 3-2 comeback win over the Ottawa Senators and it couldn’t have come at a better time as Montreal moved two points behind Winnipeg in the battle for third place in the North Division. The Canadiens and Jets both have six games to play.
Overtime hasn’t been particularly kind to the Canadiens this season. They were 0-for-9 in games that we were decided by overtime through March 19 but they have won their last three overtime games — one by a shootout — and Petry said the team is feeling comfortable with coach Dominique Ducharme’s system of puck possession.
“We want to control the puck and make them get tired, and we can get a change and keep possession.” said Petry, whose third-period goal sparked the Canadiens’ comeback from a 2-0 deficit. “We had three line changes and they had one or two guys stuck out there and that was our time to strike.”
Most notably, Brady Tkachuk was on the ice for the entire 2:25 of overtime and was gassed when Caufield went to the net to take a pass from Petry and beat Filip Gustavsson from close range.
“Jeff got into the zone pretty quick and I went as fast as I could back door and I yelled to him and he put it right on my stick,” said Caufield, who said the goal was one of the highlights of his life.
Ducharme said he planned to use Caufield in the overtime despite the fact the rookie didn’t see the ice for the final eight minutes of regulation time.
“I went to see him before the overtime started for a quick review and what we wanted to do,” said Ducharme. “You make a plan and I was going to use him in overtime if we got there.”
“It was a big goal for our team and it’s a big goal for him, and now that he’s got the first one his confidence will grow,” said Petry.
After playing an emotional game Friday against Winnipeg, the Canadiens had every reason to look sluggish at the start of the game, but they managed to find some energy after falling behind 2-0 in the third period.
They outshot the Senators 18-3 in the third period and had the only three shots in the overtime.