Caufield and Suzuki in the footsteps of Lafleur and Larouche

Caufield and Suzuki in the footsteps of Lafleur and Larouche


MONTREAL | There is still a huge amount of land to be cleared. But on a simple mathematical level, Cole Caufield and Nick Suzuki are both heading for a 50-goal season. After 18 games, they've each hit the target eleven times. 

When you go from a rule of three, it's a 50.1-goal season for Caufield and Suzuki. To achieve this, the dynamic duo will now have to go to hell in addition to avoiding the infirmary. We are still far from the hare cup, as Jean Perron would say.

However, we cannot prevent a fan's heart from dreaming. The small left winger and the captain have been arousing passions since the start of the season.

A season of 50 goals remains a rare feat. Last year, there were four NHL-level scorers of 50 or more: Auston Matthews (60), Leon Draisaitl (55), Chris Kreider (52) and Alex Ovechkin (50). 

Lemieux and Jagr

The magic number of 50 becomes even rarer for two strikers on the same team in the same season. Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr did it in 1995-96 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Number 66 and number 68 had scored 69 and 62 goals during this most productive season.

There were therefore not two scorers of 50 or more goals within the same team for 27 years. In the entire history of the NHL, only 25 teams have bet on two scorers of 50 or more goals during the same campaign.

The Edmonton Oilers hold the record with three scorers of 50 or more goals. They did it twice, in 1983-84 and 1985-86. It was Wayne Gretzky (87), Glenn Anderson (54) and Jari Kurri (52) in 1983-84 and again Gretzky (52), Anderson (54) and Kurri (68) in 1985-86.

< p>Nothing for 43 years

In the rich history of the Habs, we retrace two seasons with two forwards with 50 goals or more. Guy Lafleur (50) and Pierre Larouche (50) had reached the 50-goal plateau in 1979-1980.

Before them, Lafleur (56) and Steve Shutt (60) had also moved the strings at more than 50 covers in 1975-1976.

If they were to keep up the pace, Caufield and Suzuki would achieve a first in 43 years at CH. It remains a very embryonic project, however.

Suzuki did not score more than 21 goals in three seasons in Montreal and he never reached fifty in the Ontario Junior League, obtaining two seasons of 40 or more goals with the Owen Sound Attack.

In the case of Caufield, he has more the profile of a natural scorer. Last year, the American scored 23 goals in 67 games despite a disastrous start to the season under Dominique Ducharme.

For those who have forgotten, Stéphane Richer is the last scorer in 50 goals in a Habs uniform. He did it twice with 51 goals in 1989-90 and 50 goals in 1987-88.

The Chess Player

Martin St. Louis described Suzuki as a chess player minutes after Saturday's 5-4 shootout win over the Flyers at the Bell Centre. Suzuki has a knack for predicting moves ahead of time. He showed all his intelligence in extra time by making a perfect pass for Caufield even though there were only about four seconds left on the clock.

“I'm lucky to play with a great passer, he thinks I'm always at the right time and he did it on the tying goal, Caufield said after the game against the Flyers. He is quite a passer, but he can also score several goals. Nick is good all over the rink. We just want to follow him, he is not the captain by chance. »