Monday, 24 October 2011

Game Eight: Panthers v. Habs

- Well, here we go. A revised (reconstituted?) fourth line. Will it help this team to return to the win column? Or are we headed towards panic territory with one win in 1/10th of the season played? You'd hate to speculate about "must" wins so early in the campaign, but this one is pushing its elbows into such territory.

- Bit of a gamble tonight, Martin calling on Budaj to start instead of Price. If a couple of weak ones get past Budaj, might we see a quick hook, given how much is riding on a getting a win?

First Period:

- Moen robbed only seconds into the game, and Habs go to the PP early. Ut-oh. Will the horrorshow start early?

- Plekanec STILL playing the point. This ISN'T working. Sigh.

- Do my eyes deceive me? A power play goal? The first five on four man advantage goal of the year, and it only took 22 periods. Of note, that goal came as a direct result of traffic in front of the Florida net. See? It really isn't that complicated.

- There are reputedly scores of scouts at the game. The vultures are sensing opportunity?

- Budaj looks solid ... so far. Aggressive and seemingly confident in covering the Panthers' shots.

- The almost-Hab Jagr just scored his first goal as a Flyer. Welcome back to the NHL, still glad we didn't get you.

- Two Habs with broken sticks at the same time, giving the Panthers a poor-man's 5-on-3. Never seen that before. Habs survive the bad luck unscathed.

- Wow. Cammi wacking an airborne puck point blank and just barely denied. The hand-eye is dazzling. PP vastly better ... so far.

- The definition of a clunky goal scored by Florida on the PP, courtesy defensive confusion. All that momentum and hard work set back to square one.

Second Period:

- Erik Cole officially awarded credit for Habs goal, his first of the season and in this uniform. Finally.

- Subban a brilliant rush, Darche robbed on the rebound by Markstrom, who's keeping his team right in the game with tremendously athletic saves.

- Is it just me or does Markstrom look huge in the net? He seemingly covers just about everything just standing there.

- Gionta with a goal-saving backcheck. This stuff is never measured, barely recognized, but plays like that are often the difference between victory and defeat.

- Game settling in a bit. Subban draws a somewhat silly holding penalty.

- Habs defenders blowing wayyy to many clearances. This will inevitably come back to hurt.

- Budaj has made some fine stops, but the flip-flop antics are reckless.

- Straight from the land of wtf? Pacioretty given a high sticking penalty for going after a juicy Markstrom rebound?

- The Habs PK not nearly as effective this season compared to last. Main reason must be all the squandered opportunities, especially by defense, to clear pucks out of the zone.

- Pacioretty hurt? Went into the corner awkwardly, perhaps caught a skate blade in a rut?

Third Period:

- Florida shutting everything down, looking to pounce on a Habs mistake.

- And there it is. Diaz with an unforced giveaway in his zone, Panthers lead 2-1.

- Pacioretty is apparently done for the night. What else could go wrong?

- Habs offense in the deepfreeze. Fans in the seats are getting restless.

- Markstrom has been very good. But he's also had big trouble with rebound control. Lack of Habs finish unable to take advantage.

- More juicy Markstrom rebounds. Habs need to show some desperation. Another loss would be devastating.

- Habs defenders cheating a bit. Might as well toss the dice at this point.

- Another factor that's really hurting the team - dismal faceoff percentages. It seems as though Habs have lost 2 out of every 3 dropped. The little things add up to become big things. Like winning only 1 out of your first 8.

- Goalpost rung, massive goalmouth scramble. Nobody able to bury. The team is snakebit.

- Critical faceoff deep on PP. Will it be won? It is, but Habs still can't bury the chances. Wow.

- Situation now critical. Does Martin now worry about his employment? Never a dull moment in Habs land.

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