Saturday, 12 November 2011

Game Sixteen: Habs v. Preds

- So Scott Gomez makes his grand return to the lineup after a couple of weeks on the DL. The record with Gomez playing: 1-4-1. Without, 5-3-1. No comment.

- Cammalleri also back tonight, the team managing to eek out a win sans his services, but clearly the team loses a dimension when he can't start. Very useful tonight given that this Nashville team ought to play much tougher than Phoenix.

- Andre Markov is with the club in Tennessee, albeit (and of course) not dressed. But getting close ... one reckons.

- Have to wonder where the Predators would be as a franchise if they didn't have the best coach in hockey. Probably not too much further ahead than the disaster in Columbus.

- Speaking of the Blue Jackets, the CBC game tonight is Winnipeg against Columbus. What a humdinger that'll be.

- Budaj gets the start, thereby dashing Price's hopes of starting 81 games this season.

First Period:

- Gomez inked to start on the fourth line, thereby fulfilling last year's dreams of many Habs fans.

- Gomez comes storming out on his first shift makes a nice setup in the slot.

- Habs with plenty of jump early.

- Cole sacrifices his body to save an icing. Not sure if taking that hit was worth avoiding a faceoff.

- That fast start earns an early PP. Nashville a top rated PK. Let's see how good they really are.

- Unlike places such as Boston, Philadelphia, Toronto, etc., no boos when PK carries the puck, probably a reflection on the (lack of) hockey culture in a place like Nashville.

- Last chance Pulashaj? He's playing along side Cammalleri and Eller, and with Kostitsyn waiting in the wings, if Pulashaj doesn't produce given this opportunity, he may find himself the odd guy out when Andrei returns.

- Strong shift by Pulashaj, he's certainly trying.

- Another strong road game (so far), determined checking and Preds can't get set, Budaj yet to be tested.

- Superb fake by Cole one a two-on-one sets up Desharnais who puts a nice move around Rinne. 1-0 Habs.

- Just 5 minutes left in the period, only 3 shots registered by Nashville. That's how good Habs have been.

- Pulashaj great awareness setting up Cammalleri who's all alone in the slot. Cammi fumbles the pass and misses the net with his shot.

- Budaj great point blank save on Suter. First big test passed.

- Habs collapsing effectively around their net on the PK. No juicy rebounds in sight.

- Gomez getting limited shifts, but looking not half-bad. Accurate passing, actually doing more chasing after the puck instead and less of his usual passivity. Perhaps he thinks he has to earn a spot on the second or third line?

Second Period:

- Gomez gets the promotion, centering line between Cammalleri and Pulashaj, the later drawing a penalty via hard work in Preds' zone.

- Oh Budaj, softy shorthanded goal for Weber on a 55 footer. Cammalleri and Gomez all messed up on covering the point after the faceoff. Lots of blame to go around on that one. Game tied.

- Game all going to pot since the PP. In retrospect, perhaps the Habs should have declined.

- Now Spacek takes a head slapping hold. Smelling blood, Trotz calls a timeout to send out his best troops fresh on the 5 on 3. That's why he's the best.

- Gill and Plekanec with world class play along the boards winning the battle and killing the two man advantage.

- He might not be the biggest guy out there, but no one can say Desharnais doesn't battle hard for the puck.

- After being partly responsible for the Preds first goal, Gomez hasn't seen a shift.

- Weber with two wretchedly bad giveaways in front of his net in the span of seven seconds. That'll get you benches off the PP right quickly.

- Last two Habs PPs, Preds have scored once and had three or four high quality scoring chances. Like I said, decline the penalty.

- Remember David Aebischer? Not many do, and those who do probably would prefer to forget. Budaj reminds me a lot of Aebischer with the flip-flop routine. Not impressed.

- Nice bounce-back period for the Preds. Habs will need to bounce back from the bounce back if they hope to come out with two points.

Third Period:

- Two minutes of 4-on-4 to start period, Habs looked like they were a man short for much of it.

- Habs simply unable to keep pace right now, Preds are pulling away. Awaiting the inevitable Nashville go-ahead goal.

- If I were Martin I'd toy with using a timeout, if only to stem some of the steam off Nashville's charge.

- Good shift by Plekanec line, giving the Preds an excuse to skate in their own zone.

- Shea Weber is everywhere. Wonder what the over/under is on him playing more than 30 minutes tonight?

- Pulashaj with nice blocked shot and thunderous hit on last shift.

- Game has evened out. Hurtling towards extra time.

- I gotta admit, I like he way Gomez has played on the fourth line tonight. Other lines ... not so much.

- Eller with very careless unforced giveaway in his own zone. It's not the first time he's done that this season.

- Cole pretty much robbed of what would have been the winning goal with just 12 seconds left on the clock. And it's off to overtime.


- If Martin were offered 3 out of 4 points on this tough mini road trip, he'd take it in a heartbeat. So no big pressure on Habs.

- Will THIS be Subban's night to crack that scoresheet?

- Pacioretty!! What a shot off the crossbar! Subban the assist, and Habs complete the road trip sweep. Next up, revenge on Miller and the Sabres.

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