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The Ottawa Senators have lost their first game of the 2023 NHL pre-season at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens. The Sens roster for this game was most certainly their weakest of the pre-season, but they still had to play a very competitive match against nearly a full Montreal Canadiens roster. The story of the night was forward Mathieu Joseph, who played an incredible game for the Sens amid his name being involved in trade rumors. But did Joseph do himself or the Sens a favour tonight after an absolutely stellar performance?
Senators Canadiens Game Breakdown
The game started as you would expect for the Sens tonight. The Canadiens outmatched the Sens early on, and it looked like the game was bound to be a blowout. Despite weak numbers and a couple quick goals, Joonas Korpisalo didn’t have an awful game in the crease. The chances the Canadiens were creating were grade A; if it weren’t for Korpisalo, the game could’ve gotten out of hand early on.
The first goal of the game was out of the control of Korpisalo. The goal did not come from an attempted shot towards the net but rather a deflected pass. Defenceman Travis Hamonic was backtracking towards his net to block off the lane when he lost an edge and crashed into Korpisalo. The puck followed behind Hamonic and crossed the line, with Korpisalo not even having the opportunity to save it. It was a miserable play for the team, but one you survive with in the pre-season.
The second goal was more of the same for Joonas Korpisalo, who was left out to dry once again. After a scramble in the slot, the puck bounced out of a pile onto the tape of former first-overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky. He sent a quick shot high glove side that beat the Senators netminder. Once again, it’s hard to blame Korpisalo for this goal when the puck was a pinball in a maze only a couple of feet away from the crease.
But then, the Senators began to figure out their game as they entered the second period. The scoring started with Dominik Kubalik finishing a power play goal from a Jiri Smejkal assist. This was Kubalik’s 2nd goal, 3rd point, in his first two pre-season games. The goal came from his patented one-timer, which we have heard about all off-season. He used this shot several times this game, and man, can that guy ever get rid of it in a hurry.
But the real story of this game for the Sens was the elite performance from Mathieu Joseph. Joseph had two goals in the game for Ottawa, both being remarkably similar. We finally saw Joseph use his speed again to create scoring chances, and he delivered.
Both goals started with Mathieu Joseph carrying the puck into the offensive zone toward the left circle. Joseph beat the goaltender clean on both occasions without a screen or passing threat. Both goals were absolutely beautiful, and Joseph was inches away from scoring his hat trick goal on another Sens powerplay.
But ultimately, the Canadiens found a way to battle back and take the lead in the latter half of the third period. Goals from Cole Caufield and Sean Monahan became the difference-makers for Montreal. While the Monahan goal resulted from poor defensive coverage, the Caufield goal was one you would like to see Korpisalo save. That being said, it did come off of the stick of Caufield, who was set up in a dangerous position on the ice. The shot found a way through the arm and body of Korpisalo, which is always a tough look for a goaltender.
Mathieu Joseph Just Opened A Lot Of Eyes
It’s no secret to Senators fans or Mathieu Joseph that his name has been shopped on the trading block for the last few weeks. With Shane Pinto unsigned, many fans, including myself, pointed at Joseph as the scapegoat who would have to be moved out for cap reasons.
But tonight, Joseph changed the narrative for Sens fans, who now seem divided on who should be traded. Before this game, it felt as though 90% of fans were ready to ship out Joseph; now, that number seems closer to 50%, with the other half prepared to ship out Erik Brannstrom.
So the big question to me is, did Mathieu Joseph do himself and/or the Ottawa Senators a big favour? The most discussed rumor right now is that the Flyers are potentially interested in acquiring Joseph, but their demand is that a first-round pick (or equivalent prospect) be attached in a deal.
With the entire NHL aware of the Senator’s situation and wish to move on from Joseph, I wonder if this incredible performance either enticed some other buyers or lowered Philadelphia’s price.
Obviously, I would prefer to keep Joseph than trade to trade him. But if it came down to moving him or Erik Brannstrom, I would still use Joseph, regardless of his excellent performance. Recency bias is playing way too much into which Senator should be moved out. Last season, Brannstrom was far and away more valuable than Mathieu Joseph. Given it has only been one pre-season game, I am not ready to commit to Joseph and give up on Brannstrom. Especially if Joseph has increased his value around the league.
Thoughts On Joonas Korpisalo
Let’s not sugarcoat it: Korpisalo’s first game in a Senators uniform was slightly disappointing. But an Asterix needs to be placed next to this performance when considering the talent Montreal put out against a very inexperienced Senators roster. The defensive structure was virtually non-existent, and the Canadiens stars found holes in the net all night.
What Korpisalo did show that was promising was his athleticism and ability to track the puck laterally across the crease. Joonas Korpisalo is, as advertised, a wild goaltender who competes hard for every puck. He showed his talent, and when the Sens provide him with a more defensively sound roster, I am sure he will bounce back.
One response to “Mathieu Joseph Just Proved Everybody Wrong In Senators 4-3 Loss To The Montreal Canadiens”
STOP CONTACTING OUR GOALIES PLEASE !!!!!!
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