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Mike Matheson: it’s often a tough game defensively for his duo
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

For a rare occurrence in recent weeks, the Montreal Canadiens didn’t play well as a team last night, resulting in a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames.

It’s a good result for the lottery and for the rebuild, but it’s clear that the Habs could still have played better.

Martin St-Louis was absent last night, but still, the Habs could have looked better.

Our thoughts are with Martin St-Louis and his son, of whom there is no news at the moment.

Offensively, things went well, with the Habs having some good scoring chances (including several goalposts) and some good possessions in the opposing zone that were neutralized by Dustin Wolf, who had quite a game.

However, it was defensively and in front of the net that the Tricolore performed rather poorly.

Indeed, on almost every one of the Flames’ five goals, mistakes were made.

And when we look at these errors in general, we see that they all occurred when the duo of Mike Matheson and Kaiden Guhle were on the ice.

As you can see, the advanced stats reflect the duo’s mistakes and ultimately, their poor performance.

The Flames’ second goal of the game, and also Mikael Backlund’s second goal of the game, perfectly represent the duo’s night’s work.

The two leave the Flames striker completely alone in front of the net, and all he has to do is deposit into a gaping cage.

Of course, Cayden Primeau, who had a fairly ordinary game, made a mistake, but it could have been fixed if his defense duo had been well-positioned.

The Matheson – Guhle duo also looked bad on the Flames’ third goal, when Matheson can clearly be seen arriving late on the play to cover Martin Pospisil who found himself in front of an empty net.

And on the Flames’ fifth goal, the two defensemen found themselves on the same side, to the left of Cayden Primeau, leaving defenseman Daniil Miromanov completely alone with a return shot and an empty net.

In short, it was a very difficult evening for the defense duo, and not for the first time.

In fact, when you analyze the whole thing, you realize that in general, Mike Matheson’s duo, whether supplemented by Kaiden Guhle or not, have tough games defensively.

Matheson plays a lot of minutes and his offensive performances are good, but they somewhat disguise the fact that he often struggles defensively.

The Quebecer is very important to the Habs, but he still makes a lot of mistakes, and he would clearly be more comfortable in a second or third defenseman role.

He works VERY well as a first defenseman, but his defensive play leaves too much to be desired.

This made Cayden Primeau look bad yesterday, although the goalie can blame himself too, as he really didn’t have a good game, especially compared to his last outing, a shutout against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

In short, a game to forget for the Habs, although at least Cole Caufield finally scored, on an assist from Juraj Slafkovsky (who was the most-used forward at 21:08) and an assist from Nick Suzuki.

There was at least that much positive in this match, in addition to the fine performance of the David Savard – Arber Xhekaj duo.

En Rafale

– A great feat for Oshie.

– All bets are off in the West, barring a disaster for the Predators or Golden Knights.

– Indeed.

– The Canadian striker is on fire.

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