Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Game Forty-Six: Stars vs. Habs

THIRD PERIOD:

- Habs two period possession total, 36%. Granted, the play hasn't been totally lopsided, but com'on ... against a team like Dallas with so many defensive issues - this is just atrocious and inexcusable. Habs totally deserve to cough up this game.

- Stars have had at least three empty nets tonight, because of bad bounces and slow reactions by Habs defense. Everyone involved just plain lucky the Habs are leading on the scoreboard.

- Habs again being out-possessed in the period, and Dale Weise ain't exactly helping. Unless the Habs were hoping to have as little to do with the puck as possible.

- Just mind-boggling how Dallas has failed to score tonight off mad scrambles around Price. Habs really living off horseshoes tonight.

- Crazy great blocker save by Price. A mere mortal netminder would have had no chance. Habs are being outshot by a margin of 2 to 1, shots are 38-19 as we type.

- Bad too many call on Dallas for too many. Now down five on three. See how the Habs will muff this one up.

- Annnnnnd ... there you have it. Sekac high sticks Daley. Buh-bye 5-on-3 before it even began.

- Goligoski in a race for the puck, cuts out Price's legs. He's called for a trip, Dallas is furious, but it's the correct call. Habs have a 4 on 3 for 1:25.

- Desharnais on the ice for this 4 on 3, for some insane reason.

- Major mistake by Therrien putting Desharnais out there on the 4-on-3. He doesn't shoot, and guess what, when set up with a wide open net, doesn't shoot. Crazy bench management.

- Habs really, really, really should have buried this game. Somehow found a way of giving away some incredible advantages. This game is foreboding a bad end for the Canadiens.

- Don't know if anyone else has noticed, but since Emelin was ejected, this Habs team has played a better defense game. Huh, that.


- Dale Weise capping off a craptaculour game with a bad interference penalty. Foreboding ... we mentioned it before. Here we go ...

- Somebody with a brain cramp early jump off the bench with Pacioretty coming off, and the Habs get nailed for too many. 5 on 3 for the Stars coming up. 


- Outstanding muscle play by Subban to wrestle the puck away from Seguin, and help clear the zone. It kills the 5-on-3. Worth every penny of that $7 million.

- Dallas swarming here. It's a nail biter.

- Price excellent on the powerplay. But Subban the real star on the 5-on-3 kill. That one muscle play on Seguin might have well won the game.

- Habs just barely hold on for the win. Barely. An unimpressive, but entertaining game and victory. One more night, one more game, one more "we'll take the two points although we really didn't deserve it."




SECOND PERIOD:

- Well, well, Habs powerplay manages to strike, but then again, when you've got guys like Subban, Galchenyuk and Gallagher spearheading your attack, you're in pretty good shape. 3-1.

- Hoo boy. Alexei Emelin. With a dumb, dumb, dumb CFB on Spezza, and he gets 5 and a game. Don't be surprised if a couple more games are tacked on by the League. The important part here is that the Habs will now be down 5-3 for nearly two full minutes.

- I swear, Emelin has got one of the lowest hockey IQs I've ever seen on a Montreal Canadiens hockey team. Makes way too many stupid choices - the CFB only being the latest.

- Dallas with a pretty passive two man advantage, which they fail to score. Price excellent as usual, but no real sense of urgency from the Stars.

Well never mind that. Totally brilliant carry by Seguin, who feeds Eaves who has simple tap in to make it 3-2. Almost killed it. Almost. Still, blame that on Emelin.

- No Emelin. Addition via subtraction. Betcha high percentage scoring chances on Price stop happening so frequently from this point out.

- Hate just kicking this dog 'til it dies, but lots of speculation by some that Emelin ought be traded by Bergevin, as though somebody else would actually be willing to trade for him. Thing is, nobody would. The only guy in the National Hockey League with any say who seems to think he's a competent NHL defensemen is Michel Therrien, who stubbornly pencils him in every game.

- Another dismal night for Weise on the top line. He's killing their production, possession numbers are atrocious, and yet, Therrien just keeps playing him. Maddening.

- More sloppy defensive play by the Stars defense getting caught up ice unnecessarily, and Fiddler is forced to take a hook. If it wasn't for so many sloppy, slow plays by their blue line, they would probably be ahead on the scoreboard.

- Once again, faceoff next to Price with just a few seconds left on the clock, and once again, Malhotra fails to deliver on his mission of winning a draw. Dallas nearly scores again. If Malhotra can't win faceoffs when they matter, what exactly is his purpose in this lineup?

- Habs same old formula. Outplayed, outshot, out-possessed, leave it to Price to win the game. Meanwhile the first line is drifting aimlessly with Weise pulling them under the surface, and Alex Emelin manages to finds creative ways of being stupid, game in, game out. Habsland!


FIRST PERIOD:

- Prust opens the scoring, although he shoulda scored off a brilliant setup by Sekac, who looks fantastic early. 1-0.

- Correction. It's Emelin who gets credit.

- And Emelin saves a goal on an empty net, although he was horribly beaten by Seguin leading to a wild scramble in front of Price.

- Good lord, Alex Galchenyuk, with a highlighter. Nail Yakopov who?? 2-0. Stars defense has been soft, soft, soft.

- Man, this Dallas defense, has it been this bad all season? It's a minor miracle they have 49 points.

- Dallas had better close up their passing lanes, or guys like Pacioretty are going to score three or four more.

- Desharnais carries the puck like a winger. But then we already knew that.

- Sweet Jesus. A ridiculous intentional offside call against Subban, and wouldn't you know it, the Stars score off the faceoff. Incredible.

- Therrien going nuts at the officials for that call. For good reason. Should be 2-0 after the first. 




HOCKEY IS BACK. YAY!!

Hey! Did you watch the All-Star game this weekend?!? You did? Then get out. LEAVE. There's the door. NEVER RETURN HERE AGAIN.

Wow, he actually left. Man, I just lost half my readership. Oh well. That "game" this weekend, they scored 29 goals? Com'on already. The whole enterprise is a ridiculous and unnecessary distraction. Instead of wasting a week just to play a stupid game, scrub this silly All-Star nonsense, gain a week, and actually end the season before we start buying Halloween decorations.

It feels so great to return to normality. And tonight, the season's second kicks off in Habsland with a visit by the Dallas Stars! Hey, you know who plays for the Dallas Stars? Tyler Seguin (seen above munching on his hockey stick ... com'on Dallas, feed your hockey players! Sheesh). You know how many points Seguin has scored this year? 52! You know who wishes Tyler Seguin would play for them? The Boston Bruins!

HAH-HAH. Oh man, what was Peter Chirelli thinking??? Oh well. Boston's (huge) loss has been Dallas' big gain, Seguin is having a masterful season, and while he's playing for a team that isn't going to make the playoffs this year, he's going to be a critical piece of the Stars' rebuild. This could be a pretty decent team in 3 to 4 years (although we also kind of said that about Dallas 3-4 years ago).

So tonight! Dallas rumbles into Montreal to take on the Habs, who continue to remain a very healthy team, with only P.A. Parenteau on the sideline recovering from concussion. The Habs lines will be as follows:

Line 1: Paciorety/Plekanec/Weise (OH GOD REALLY, MICHEL?)
Line 2: Galchenyuk/Desharnais/Gallagher (sigh)
Line 3: Sekac/Eller/Prust (we're okay with this one)
Line 4: Bournival/Malhotra/Thomas (meh).

Markov/Subban (yeah, yeah).
Beaulieu/Gonchar (fine, fine)
Gilbert/Emelin (sigh, sigh).

Carey freakin' Price.

So while Therrien continues to put out the wrong combinations, we say hello to our old pal and Saskatchewan boy, Travis Moen! Travis, I'd say we really miss you, but this team had way too much depth. Hope things are going well down south!

Also a welcome back to Patrick Eves, who is in his first game since December 2nd, where he sustained an ankle injury in Toronto. Erik Cole (remember him?) won't suit up tonight, he's nursing an upper body injury.

Kari Lehtonen will get the call in nets for Dallas.

Puck drops at 7:40 EST. HOCKEY IS BACK!