Mike Matheson Turtles Against Matt Martin After Boarding Barzal

Matheson penguins Martin Islanders NHL

Mike Matheson was having a great game Thursday night when the Penguins took on the Islanders, but with 4:35 left in the third period he, needlessly, took a penalty with a bad hit on Mathew Barzal. 

The Patric Hornqvist for Mike Matheson trade was appearing to favor only the Panthers as Horqvist has been on a tear as of late, now though it looks like Pittsburgh is starting to click with Matheson.

Matheson's first major play of the night came when he made a strong pinch to keep the puck in the Islanders' zone which went to Kasperi Kapanen who shot it and was tipped in by Sidney Crosby.

With 2:00 left in the second period Matheson intentionally plays the puck off the boards with a shot-pass that comes right back to him. Matheson let off a clean snap shot, but Varlamov kicks it out. However, the rebound goes directly to a wide open Teddy Blueger, the only player on the right side of the ice.

To top off the night, Matheson skated a puck out from behind the Penguins' net, fought off Islanders' forward Oliver Walstrom, and dumped it into the offensive zone. The puck was picked up by Malkin, passed to Rust and potted by Zucker to put the Penguins up by three.

This was a fantastic game for Matheson and the team as a whole, but when Matheson took the boarding penalty on Barzal, he put a black mark on an otherwise great game.

The cross-check delivered to Barzal was completely avoidable and unwarranted, there was only 4:35 left on the clock and the game was, pretty much, a lock. This isn't the first time that Matheson has delivered a bad hit, last season he nailed Islanders' Boychuk head hit. Now, with this penalty, he not only injured Barzal, but cost Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry a shutout, for no defendable reason.

This leads to Matt Martin confronting Matheson with 2:00 left in the third. Martin went after Matheson in the corner and was going to make him answer for his hit. Matheson could have done the respectable thing and accepted the fight, take his licks and move on, but he chose to play dumb and drop to the ice. Had he just answered the bell all would be good, now he looks like a dirty player and a rat. 

Hopefully Matheson will step up and answer during their next meeting and make things right. 



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