Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Game Ten: Habs vs. Flames

Overtime:

- Guys, do this for Carey. You owe him, big time.

- Habs line caught here, unable to change.

- They escape. Barely. Breath.

- Desharnais should be paid by the shot. Then he might actually do it.

- Huge last minute push by Habs, just barely missed with a flurry of point blank chances. Shootout. Blah.

- Price with three spectacular saves in the shootout, Parenteau scores. One of the most preposterous Habs wins I've seen in awhile. Habs living on some borrowed time, which is very worrying. They can't keep playing like this and hope to win more than they lose.



Third Period:

- If Habs somehow win this debacle everyone owes Price a dinner. Heck, they already do.

- Flames, the lowly Flames, simply owning the third. Price standing on his head trying to salvage a point. It's a disgrace to see how his teammates are responding to such an outstanding performance. No pushback. Nothing.

- Flames practically given a free pass to tee up on Price. Laregly because Habs forwards are so badly being outworked in their own zone.

- What a hit by Tinordi on Stajen. Goodness. Looks like knee on knee. Don't think it was intentional. 

- Don't understand why that's a penalty. Both players collided, it's just that Stajen got the worst of it. Lacroix again.

- Another Flames powerplay, although this time the call on Parenteau is legit. Not Lacroix this time, of course.

- Backlund with an obvious dive, Lacroix gets suckered. This is embarrassing.

- Flames have pretty much been 5 on 4 last 10 minutes of the third.

- That choking sound is the Calgary Flames powerplay tonight. I can't believe they might not win this.

- Tie game. Incredible. Carey Price with a ridiculous performance. Calgary handed powerplay chance after chance after chance. I'll be stunned if Habs get two points. 


Second Period:

- Four-on-Four is supposed to favour the Habs, but Gallagher (not for he first time) blows his coverage, Girodano allowed to take the high slot and wrist a beaut over Price's shoulders. 1-0 Calgary.

- Habs had definately shot clock advantage last night, definately not so tonight. More or less a horrible 2nd period for Mintreal, 6 minutes in. Team need a game changing shift.

- Price keeping his undeserved team in this game. Can't be expected to do it all. Somebody needs to generate a spark. Volunteers?

- Abysmal half hearted effort by just about the entire Habs lineup tonight. It's as though everyone except Carey Price is thinking about going home.

- Habs actually have a shift where they don't look like the sleeping undead. Now headed to a powerplay that will of course, not score. But maybe momentum can be generated at least. Grasping straws over here.

- Man, Habs just need a bounce. Something. Anything.

- And there it is. Gilbert fires it on net and it somehow finds its way home. Tie game.

- Pacioretty with a 30 hockey IQ tonight. Shooting it into the opposing goal well after the whistle? Stupid, stupid.

- Flames push hard final 30 seconds pinching the blue line but Price keeps the game tied. Habs for the most part were badly outplayed that period, and committed a series of bad penalties to boot. And Thirthey end up scoring the only goal. Shrug shoulders. Sometimes it makes little sense.


First Period:

- A goaltender interference call in the Habs favor. That actually happened.

- No road powerplay goals this year. Looks like the strategy is to feed the point and have the forwards (all three) crash the net. Worth a shot I guess.

- Dan Lacroix is terrible. Getting fed up with the lack of officiating quality.

- Pretty lame two man advantage powerplay for the Flames. That's their weak spot. Can't produce offensively consistently.

- Wonderful pass from Weise on the tape of Rene Bourque's stick for clear-cut break. You know the rest of the story ...

- Lacroix with another perplexing call - a hook on Gilbert for ... well, there was absolutely no hook. Oh well.

- Seems like the ice just tilts towards the Habs every time Galchenyuk takes a shift. So difficult to even begin to estimate his future peak. But it looks absurdly great.

- First period was a basic wash, some fairly poor calls, mainly by one official (as is usual). Habs don't look quite as sprite as they did last night, but not bad either. Still, it's feeling a lot like this team is entering a scoring funk, which means the Habs will be awfully reliant of Price for victories.



Gameday Game Preview:

Ahhhh .... so all that stuff yesterday about how we were all in your face about being first place overall, and how the Canadiens were the greatest hockey team in the world, and Montreal City Hall better start booking off St. Catherine's street next June for a parade? All that stuff? Yeah. Can we all forget about it?

This western road swing. I tell ya. 8 wins the past 31 games. One more tacked on last night courtesy the Edmonton Oilers, who even with their 30th rated defense, managed to keep the Habs from scoring a single goal. Hoo boy.

Now, it's all not vinegar and iodine (whatever that means) for the Habs. A more-or-less competent game was played last night, impacted negatively by a couple of factors that can't be controlled. First, there were more than one or two questionable penalty calls against the Habs (and for that matter, non-calls against the Oilers) courtesy officials Brad Watson (who ought to know better) and Derek Nansen, who only officiated his 6th NHL game last night, and to be quite frank, seemed to have difficulty in discriminating between actual penalties, and non-penalties.

The other factor? Luck. The Habs, who've been riding the wave of good fortune for all that it's been worth since game one, seemed to have nothing go right last night - in addition to the poor calls, the bounces just never seemed fortuitous, and the one time when the puck was put past Edmonton starter Ben Scrivins, it was waved off (correctly) because Brenden Gallagher drove the net, sending spilling Scrivins to the ice an instant before Max Pacioretty wristed the puck home. Sans that no-goal call, the Habs would have taken an early lead, and who knows ... might very well have gone on to win the game.

Anyway, everything moves 300 km south tonight, as the Habs take on the rebuilding Calgary Flames. On paper, one might think the Habs ought not have too much difficulty getting back on the winning track. The Flames are anticipated to finish near or even at the bottom of the Western Conference standings this season, although to date, they've gotten off to a respectable start, 5 wins in 10 games. Calgary's Joe Colborne, in what can only be described as a statistical anomaly, has scored zero goals so far this season, but still leads his team with 8 points (all assists, of course).  The talented Mason Raymond, whom the Leafs didn't attempt to resign during the summer, holds the team lead in goal scoring, 5 so far in 10 games. So Habs fans would best be advised to keep their eyes focused on numbers 8 and 21, respectively.

For the Habs, fans should keep their eyes on Rene Bourque, who continues to struggle to produce (same old story), and while he demonstrated effort at the start of the year, he looks like he's now firmly in a rut. There's an awful lot of disinterest in his game performance right now, and with Michael Bournical and Jiri Sekac chomping at the bit to get some time, Bourque's leash of chances may now be very short.

For whatever reason, Nathan Beaulieu will not start tonight, even though he played very well last night against Edmoton. Jarad Tinordi will be reinserted into the lineup. As will Carey Price, making his first start since last Saturday's win against the Rangers.

Puck drops at 9:10 EST.