Thursday, 17 November 2011

Game Nineteen: Habs v. Islanders

- Are we getting healthy yet? Budaj gets the logical start tonight to set up Price for Saturday's much tougher matchup against the Rangers. I've been more or less satisfied with Budaj's work so far. Nothing stellar, but about what one could reasonably expect from a backup. Hoping for a bit less of the flip flopping tonight.

- For those who hadn't heard, Hal Gill is in the hospital, and won't be back in the lineup until next week. That's gotta be one very bad case of the flu.

First Period:

- There must be at least 5,000 in attendance tonight, but no more. Sad.

- Nice shorthanded rush by Plekanec draws a holding call. Will get a short peek at what appears to be a somewhat revitalized PP.

- Rolston with a 55 footer that easily beat Budaj stick side, but not the post. A minute later Tavares on a break tries a wrister, same location, Budaj makes a very nice save. The great goal scorers notice stuff like that.

- Bad break for Islanders, as starter Nabokov is injured and Dipietro is brought in cold. First shot beats him badly but rings off the post.

- Given his chronic record of fragility, what happens if Dipietro goes down as well?

- Habs ought to be dominating this game, but it's mainly been a pretty even contest of both teams taking relatively harmless jabs at each other.

- Ho hum. Quite possibly the most forgettable period of hockey I've seen this season, let's hope things pick up a little over the next 40 minutes, or my posts may be interrupted by an involuntary nap.

Second Period:

- Budaj muffs up a simple shoot in by failing to stop the puck behind his net, Islanders more than happy to take the gift goal. 1-0.

- Cracks appearing in Habs inexperienced D, Diaz and Emelin fail to communicate and coordinate the Islanders rush, and it's 2-0.

- Islanders inexplicably with twice the legs in the second period, winning all the races and battles. Where was this in the first?

- Clearly the 'Canes made a big impression last night, as the Habs are playing just like them tonight.

- Since coming in, the Habs' offense has applied virtually no pressure on Dipietro. It's really been that bad.

- Getting embarrassing now, total mixup in zone, defense (Emelin/Diaz) no where in sight, Budaj overplays the puck and goes down too early, Isles lead 3-0.

- Outstanding shift by the Habs fourth line, keeping Isles hemmed in their zone for nearly two minutes. At least somebody is still trying.

- Patioretty courtesy a pretty pass from Eller gives Habs a little life.

- As terrible as Emelin/Diaz has been tonight, St-Denis/Weber have been impressively steady.

- Comeback kids on the march, as Cole deposits the puck over a totally sprawled Dipietro. 3-2.

- And just like that, Islanders respond with a pretty deflection by Rolston. Budaj can't be faulted (for that one).

- All in all, terrible period by the Canadiens. Yet still, they could still eek a win out of this mess, but they'll have to sort out their defensive confusions in the dressing room quickly.

Third Period:

- Pretty much a repeat of the first period, no real scoring chances either side. Islanders are just fine with that, thank you.

- Habs with one brief flurry on PP, otherwise not quite able to gain control of the puck and set up in the Isles zone. Time running out.

- Big rebounds given up by Dipietro, forwards simply haven't been there to cash in.

- And as I type that last post, Gionta wide open side of the net on the PP, and it's a one goal game.

- Eek. Cole from 15 feet wires one, somehow Dipietro keeps it out.

- Budaj comes out, it's now or never.

- Pretty frantic action in the Isles zone, somehow the puck stays out. Golden opportunity to move up the standings goes past the board, and now the Habs face the hottest team in the League Saturday night. Ick.

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