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Defensive zone breakdowns cost the Habs against the Leafs

Winning was always going to be a tall order, but the Habs made it harder on themselves in their own zone.

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

The new look Toronto Maple Leafs, fresh off their blockbuster trade, got to test their roster out against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night. It went about as well for them as they could have asked, and while their new additions didn’t find the score sheet, they didn’t exactly need to in a 5-1 win.

The primary catalyst in losing this particular game for the Habs was their defensive zone play, or lack thereof. William Nylander scored a goal completely uncovered to the left of the slot. On multiple occasions, they found themselves hemmed in their own zone due to a complete inability to get the puck out.

And then you had this goal, which was simply comical in terms of defensive coverage.

This is just one example, but you see two players getting thoroughly embarrassed therein. David Savard completely loses David Kampf with a quick spin, and Evgenii Dadonov looks even more lost trying to cover Calle Jarnkrok. This was somewhat the story of the game — one or more of the Leafs forwards uncovered in the offensive zone, and ending up with a quality chance that finds the back of the net.

If you take out the defensive lapses, which is admittedly tough given the sheer amount of them, it wasn’t that bad of a game for the Tricolore. For about half of the game, they were right there with the Leafs. Unfortunately, there is no way for them to overcome that many defensive breakdowns against a potent offense like that of the Leafs.

Perhaps less unfortunately, this new losing streak is pushing them back down to where they likely should be in the standings.

Bottom Six Minutes!

We’re talking Mike Matheson’s continuous improvement this season, and whether or not his recent play could push him into trade conversations as the deadline approaches quickly. I’ll also touch on the rumour of Jonathan Drouin potentially reuniting with Nathan MacKinnon in Colorado, and whether there is any validity to that idea.

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