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Canadiens' Matheson out 8 weeks with abdominal strain

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Montreal Canadiens defenseman Mike Matheson is expected to miss eight weeks due to an abdominal muscle strain, the team announced Thursday.

The Canadiens placed Matheson on injured reserve and recalled blue-liner Corey Schueneman from the AHL. Matheson didn't dress for Wednesday's season-opening win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Montreal acquired Matheson and a 2023 fourth-round pick from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Jeff Petry and Ryan Poehling in July.

Matheson, 28, ranked second among Penguins defensemen with 31 points in 74 games while averaging almost 19 minutes of ice time per contest last season.

His absence makes the Canadiens' blue line even thinner, as Joel Edmundson remains out indefinitely with a lower-body injury.

Here's how the Canadiens lined up on the back end during their 4-3 victory against the Maple Leafs:

Kaiden Guhle David Savard
Jordan Harris Johnny Kovacevic
Arber Xhekaj Chris Wideman

Montreal's minus-98 goal differential was the second-worst in the league in 2021-22, ahead of only the Arizona Coyotes.

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