1708003643 Slafkovsky and Suzuki perform better than McDavid and Draisaitl

Slafkovsky and Suzuki perform better than McDavid and Draisaitl

As we kept our eyes on Cole Caufield and Suzuki, Slafkovsky was gaining momentum to their right, slightly in the shadows. So much so that the Slovakian and his captain have become the main accomplices in the Tricolor camp in recent games.

• Also read: A similar development occurs between Slafkovsky and Hughes

• Also read: Juraj Slafkovsky and Nick Suzuki devour ducks

In fact, they are the duo of the moment in the NHL. Of the last 12 goals scored by Slafkovsky and Suzuki at both even strength and on the power play, one was the other's accomplice eight times. A streak that began on January 25th during the visit of Patrick Roy and the Islanders and has now continued for six games.

Slafkovsky and Suzuki perform better than McDavid and Draisaitl

Photo Martin Chevalier

According to statistics from Sportlogiq, that is three goals more than Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who were directly involved in five of their goals. It's also better than Mitch Marner and Auston Matthews (4 goals). It's not nothing!

“It's fun to see how it works,” said the Slovakian on Tuesday evening at the end of the brilliant 5-0 win against the Ducks. But that didn't change in a single day. This happened little by little as we played and practiced together more and more.”

No, it didn't happen overnight. And this complicity did not necessarily arise from equal strength. Because you have to admit that the first experiences with Slafkovsky on the right of Caufield and Suzuki were rather lukewarm.

“Slaf plays the game with great clarity in his reading. He didn't hesitate, the game had slowed down for him, argued Martin St-Louis. For a young player, you never know when the time will come. That’s where he is right now.”

Less predictable

Suzuki's last three goals came after a brilliant cross pass from the Slovakian. A relay race that was so lively and precise that all the team captain had to do was shoot into the open goal.

“Those were excellent passes,” admitted Suzuki. I had almost nothing to do in these games.”

Since January 25, Slafkovsky and Suzuki have met nine times throughout the enclave. This puts them in 13th place on the race track. Five fewer than leaders Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos. Eight of those passes resulted in shots.

But there is more. Not long ago, the opposing goalkeeper knew that the 19-year-old striker was systematically trying to spot his teammates. He could predict the pass. He's been shooting into the net more often lately. If the main player doesn't see it as a coincidence, his middle player doesn't agree.

“It’s less predictable. “He can shoot, but since Cole and I are right-handed, he can also pass from that side of the ice,” he said. It makes it harder for the opponent to read. That’s what’s making us dangerous lately.”

Built thanks to the massive attack

Slafkovsky owes this clarity, this simpler reading, this increasingly solid complicity to his presence at the first unit of the massive attack. The same one who has made interesting progress in the last few games after problems in the first half of the season.

“If we are successful in massive attack, it will have a positive effect on our balanced game. If we touch the puck a lot and stay in the other court for almost the entire power play. It boosts our confidence,” Suzuki said.

Tuesday's game was a good example of this. The Habs' massive attack worked so well that the first unit exploited the Canadian's numerical superiority for almost the entire ten minutes.

Wanting, not wanting, patterns of play emerge. Trends that can be transferred to the five-on-five game.

Best duos since January 25th

playerteamNumber of goals scored
Juraj Slafkovsky – Nick SuzukiCanadian8 goals
Leon Draisaitl – Connor McDavidOiler5 goals
Matt Duchene-Tyler SeguinStars5 goals
Mitch Marner-Auston MatthewsMaple leaves4 goals
Nikita Kucherov – Steven Stamkoslightning4 goals
Alex Ovechkin – Dylan Stromecapital Cities4 goals
Connor McDavid – Ryan Nugent HopkinsOiler4 goals

Source: Sportlogiq

*Five more duos with 4 goals