After getting absolutely ran out of the United States altogether by the Minnesota Wild, the Montreal Canadiens finally saw home ice for the first time in what felt like forever. Taking on the Anaheim Ducks in an empty Bell Centre, the absence of a crowd shouldn’t have changed their desire to put forth a better effort than they did three nights prior.
Well, they fared far better than they did in Minnesota, I’ll give them that.
This was an entertaining game, which is all most of us can ask for at this stage of the season. I actually quite enjoyed it, but found myself furious at certain points watching the defensive zone coverage from the Habs. It has been problematic this season to say the least, but of late it appears to have worsened beyond repair.
Take a look at the second Trevor Zegras goal on the night...
If someone in the media could ask Dominique Ducharme why there is often four Habs players in the slot screening their goaltender, I'd love to know.— Matt Drake (@DrakeMT) January 28, 2022
Amazing defensive zone strategy, Dom. pic.twitter.com/4WMHGQ5Wrp
I do realize that in my hastily written tweet, I mentioned only Dominique Ducharme — the defensive coach is of course Luke Richardson — so my outrage is somewhat incomplete. I can assure you that in the podcast linked below, I’ll discuss my opinion of both coaches.
At any rate, it was somewhat reminiscent of a goal the team gave up against the Wild the other night...
This passive box that the Habs are playing in their own zone is brutally ineffective. They are essentially giving up the perimeter, and committing everything to their defense of the slot. Against the Ducks, it at least led to them giving up less shots on net, but it also allowed for goals like the one above, and Zegras’s highlight reel Michigan goal earlier in the game.
The fact that we’re seeing this in multiple games suggests it isn’t an anomaly, they’re being coached to this. If this is the best that Luke Richardson and Dominique Ducharme can come up with, they should both be replaced immediately. Losing is one thing, but losing because your defensive coverage is a constant liability is another thing altogether.
Ehhhhh ben. Click the play button below to listen to your full Bottom Six Minutes, which is available on all platforms and will return after Saturday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers. God only knows what Connor McDavid will do to this defense.