Sunday, 20 April 2014

Game Three - EC Quarter Finals: Bolts vs. Habs

THIRD PERIOD:

- Stamkos injury might be more serious than it appeared. Head injury - we'll see if he returns.

- All or nothing for Tampa this period. Habs will need to buckle down.

- Subban attempted that long bomb pass to Bourque again. Almost worked again.

- Habs most of the chances early in the period. Tampa being surprisingly tentitave. 


SECOND PERIOD:

- Cooper was pretty dead on when he said there was no goaltending controversy - but to expect Lindback to maintain this pace through 60 minutes is not reasonable. Tampa must work on their neutral zone aggressiveness or the Habs will keep bringing it. The fort can't last indefinitely.

- oh for 29. Speaking of something that's gotta give ...

- Stamkos ... much much less of a factor the first half of regulation than any point of the first two games. Habs been very conscioness of his presence.

- Bolts tie it on the powerplay (why can't we?). And it's Palat off a poor shot block by Gorges.

- Habs back to the PP, can they make it oh for 30?

- Vanek, oy so close. Just not happening for this team on the man advantage. Tampa definitely looking rejuvenated right now.

- That disallowed goal is a huge huge break for the Habs. Really should be 2-1.

- Crowd thinks Stamkos is playing his injury up. Must confess I missed the play.

- Replay shows Prust's contact was incidental. 

- Gallagher makes it 2-1. But that goal was ALL P.K. 


FIRST PERIOD:

- Rene Bourque. Is playing out of his mind. Great flip pass by Subban, Habs off to a perfect start. 1-0. This place is going nuts.

- Bolts announce Palat is in, but Salo is out. Can't see how Palat is 100%, so Tampa already vastly overmatched before the puck is even dropped.

- Bell Centre atmosphere is totally electric. Haven't seen this level of interest and anticipation in Montreal in a lonnnnng time.

- Pregame warmup from the rafters.


- 4 minute high stick this game could go from bad to worse for Tampa very quickly.

- Almost 2-0 Bourque. Best chance in that 4 minute advantage. Game all Habs so far. Tampa needs to slow down the tempo, and quick.

- Habs zone coverage has been pretty airtight, Tampa struggling to get much of anything on Price. Canadiens transition has also been very fast, very crisp.

- Beast shift for Gallagher, giving Bolts slow moving defense headaches a plenty. Tampa kind of still holding on here.

- Who is this Bourque and where has he been all year?

- Tampa finally getting some semblance of momentum here, Habs plugging up the slot and keeping the shots on the perimeter.

- Max in the middle of one of these scoring snakebite periods. Eventually something will go in.

- Pretty one sided period, fancy stats are going to heavily favor the Habs. Credit to Lindback for making key saves to keep this game from spiraling out of control.


GAMEDAY NOTES

- Ondrej Palat, he who leadeth his team in all scoring this season, is still a big question mark for tonight's game, although he was quoted this morning as saying that he "feels great." Hockey players being hockey players, that means he thinks he can play and wants to play. But that final decision won't be his to make (but these are desperate times for Tampa, so don't be surprised if he's green lighted).

- Anders Lindback was first off the ice at practice this morning, usually meaning that he'll be given the start tonight. Not a surprise, really ... although the leash on Lindback might be short if he gives up a weak goal early in the game.

- Tampa seems convinced that their biggest issue is this series are zone entries. They spent much of their morning practice working on carrying/chipping the puck. I'm of the opinion that if you're getting dominated in the neutral zone, entering the offensive zone is moot. But what do I know?

- Habs will be using the same lineup/line combos tonight as they did Friday night as they did Wednesday night. Can't argue with the logic.

- Finally, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper after the practice: "I'm sure they've never had a 2-0 series lead on the road and blown it." NICE!!!

- OOOh yeah, tonight we'll be (to the best of our abilities) game blogging en direct from the Bell Centre!!