Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Game Eighteen: Canes v. Habs

- So Spacek out, Gill still sick (and out). This leaves Gorges as the elder statesman on defense tonight (gulp) and the only starting D with more than 100 games of NHL experience (double gulp).

On the bright side, Cammalleri is reportedly back in, continuing his pattern of ying-yang starts so far this season.

First Period:

- Fourth line continues to do a fine job being a pain in the butt in the opposition's zone, determined checking and creating turnovers, but finishing ... just terrible.

- Nearly perfect PK. Eller leaves the box and joins the rush leading to Cammalleri unloading a rocket past Ward. 1-0.

- Can't underestimate Cammalleri's value to this team's offense. They take on a whole different dangerous dimension with him in the lineup.

- Welcome to the NHL Fred St-Denis. You'll need to adjust to NHL speed or this won't be the last time you find yourself in the box for being out of position.

- Looking at that blue line ... Subban, St-Denis, Emelin, Diaz, Weber, none have played over 100 NHL games, most of them have played under 50. Could this be their least experienced starting defense in Habs history? It's gotta rank up there.

- Gomez just got robbed by Ward, deflecting a shot by Gorges in a designed play. When he finally does put one in the net I'll have to go through the trouble of finding out when the last one happened.

- There's that fourth line again, working hard, causing trouble, and drawing the first PP of the game.

- And now the 5th-worst League PP goes to work!!

- HAH. And it scores!! Weber depositing a shot into a gaping net courtesy a beaut cross-ice pass from Cole. 2-0.

- Men vs. Boys right now. 'Canes totally overmatched in just about every aspect.

- St-Denis looking very nervous, very unsure. Who can blame him, really? First NHL game of his life in the Mecca of hockey. I'd have trouble merely standing up.

- Through 20, can't ask for much more. Totally dominated by the home team. Carolina looked sluggish, disorganized, disinterested. SOG 16-4 Canadiens.

Second Period:

- Not particularly surprising that Gorges checked in with 10 minutes total icetime in the first.

- Ward giving up some pretty juicy rebounds tonight. Fortunate his team isn't trailing by 3 or 4.

- Big reaction to harmless incidental contact on Ward after the whistle. Clearly teams are on high alert as an aftereffect from the Miller incident.

- When they're clicking, Plekanec/Gionta/Cammalleri line is about as dangerous as they come.

- Scott Gomez' shot is about the same as last year, which is to say it's as terrible as it is weak. You're simply never going to ever score on any NHL goaltender if your shot can't crack 65 on the radar gun.

- Subban *finally* scores, his first of the season. Overjoyed is his reaction. He knows he's been noticed for lack of offensive production, so some of the burden is lifted.

- Habs may have been the victims of highway robbery in their game against Miller and the Sabres early in the season, but Cam Ward is making up for it tonight.

- Wonder if Gomez is thinking "geez the way Ward is playing, if I don't score tonight, I might never get the chance to again"?

- Shots are 23-6. That's pretty reflective on what we've seen so far.

- Before he scored, Subban was 0-51 with shots/goals this season, which was worst in the League. Blake Wheeler now "leads", he's currently 0-42.

- Did I say that the 'Canes were getting beat on all aspects? Was wrong. they're 24-37 in the faceoff circle, a grotesque domination.

- Make that 25-38. Sheeeesh.

- Been awhile since I'd seen the Habs so thoroughly dominate their opposition the way they have so far tonight against Carolina. Could easily be 5 or 6 to 0.

- Ward totally out of position, Moen scores from behind the 'Canes net. He'll get the yank for the third, I'm sure. 4-0.

- 2nd period shot totals, 33-12. That's all you need to know.

Third Period:

- Okay, thank you TSN crack research for coming to my rescue. Gomez has four shots tonight, now exactly 100 since his last goal scored on February 6. The Scott Gomez legend of ineptitude and futility grows.

- Not to take away from what has been a pretty good Canadiens effort, but really, Carolina has been so terrible tonight, if this is all they have, this team is headed nowhere but 15th place in the Conference this season.

- Well, Ward is still in net, I suppose Paul Maurice is (rightfully) telling his lineup that tonight's disaster wasn't because of the goaltending.

- So who will be the frontrunners in the Eric Staal sweepstakes?

- Habs called for too many men, even though they actually had too *few* men on the ice. Mind-numbingly poor officiating.

- Assuming Staal is put on the trading block, who'd want to take on his salary, never mind his -17 rating?

- Darche with a minor league cross ice pass from his own zone that's easily intercepted giving Carolina their best odd man scoring chance of the night.

- Even with limited shifts, St-Denis takes second penalty of the night, not endearing himself to the coach.

- 'Canes going through the motions on their PP, team has collectively thrown in the towel.

- Patioretty ain't no fighter. Officials in quickly to break up his tussle with Tim Brent.

- Price collects his first SO of the year, really didn't have to do an awful lot to earn it. Habs return to bottom feeder action tomorrow night in Uniondale.

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