Saturday, 10 December 2011

Game Thirty: Habs v. Devils

Well, there's never a dull moment, is there? Still lots of talk about the acquisition of Kaberle from the 'Caines for Spacek, with the usual crowed calling for PG's head for making what is deemed a "desperate" deal.

I actually don't mind the deal. It actually makes a lot of sense. Sure, Kaberle has struggled badly the past year or so, but there really wasn't any spot left on the line for Spacek, what with the emergence of Diaz and Emelin as two pretty reliable guys. The only way Spacek could reasonably have found his way back is if he was deemed capable of revitalizing the Habs woeful powerplay, which as we all know, he couldn't. So enter Kaberle.

Both Spacek and Kaberle were earning roughly the same salary, so I don't quite understand the criticism that the Habs are taking on an extensive player whose contract, aside, can just as easily be buried if Kaberle does prove to be ineffective.

Anyway, it's a very low risk deal, with plenty of upside *if* Kaberle can get the powerplay going again. And it's the powerplay that's kept the Canadiens from competing for the Division - indeed it's been so bad that it's putting the entire season in jeopardy.

First Period:

- So here we go, the 29th ranked PP facing Martin and the number one rated PK in the NHL. Kaberle wearing #22, just finished an uneventful first shift.

- I know Price is a pretty confident guy, but the passes he makes behind is net to returning forwards in front of the net surrounded by opposing players, is downright frightening.

- Eek. Kaberle way out of position giving Devils 2-on-1 break, Clarkson set up perfectly, but whiffs on the puck. Shoulda been 1-0.

- Habs record their first shot 8 minutes into the game. Not good.

- Hoo boy. Kaberle again way out of position giving Devils golden scoring opportunity. Is it too early to pull the plug?

- Devils doing a nice job pass blocking in their zone, preventing the Habs from setting much of anything. Goals could be few and far between today.

- Don't wanna harp so much on this but Kaberle is playing way too soft in front of Price. In any case, Montreal about to go on PP. Let's see if the returns are immediate.

- Kaberle looked pretty good on the man advantage. Made some nice passes quarterbacking the line, helping to set up a couple of decent chances. Unit now 1 for past 37, but something's gotta give eventually.

- Habs just had an awesome PP to close the period, did everything *but* score, but it sure looks miles better with Kaberle as QB. This unit *will* score. Eventually.

Second Period:

- And there you have it, Habs PP strikes for the first goal, Kaberle an assist on Pacioretty goal.

- Devils awfully undisciplined today, Habs PP unit gets another try.

- Cammalleri snakebit today, has missed two sure-fire setups this period.

- Interesting. It appears that Martin is intent on double shifting Kaberle on the PP, perhaps to maximize his time on the unit, thereby limiting his 5-on-5 duties? I approve, if today's game is any indication of Kabele's PP strengths and even-strength weaknesses.

- Eller with a nice alert play handing his stick to Gorges on the PK. Also Emelin now being rewarded for his strong play being used on PK's first unit.

- Desharnais doing a nice Cammalleri impersonation today whiffing on an open net. Should be 2-0.

- Price really in a groove, square on shooters, making tough saves look easy. Golden opportunity to win today, just to create some separation by actually scoring.

Third Period:

- Ho hum. Will the Habs sit on another 3rd period lead? The answer so far is no, with Cole depositing the puck into an open net following a scramble. 2-0. Now will they sit? Better not, 'cause there's still 14 minutes left.

- Just about zero flow in this period, which suits the Habs just fine, but it's agonizing to watch. Zzzzzzz ...

- Kaberle releases his check, Palmieri, who flips one past Price top corner. Oy. Kaberle is soooo soft in front of his goal, I'm not sure how long I can stand it. 2-1, and Habs yet again in danger of letting a game that was largely in hand, slip away.

- In the span of 30 seconds Habs had a 3 on 1 and 2 on 1 break, didn't even come close to getting even a shot on Brodure. Now Diaz has taken a foolish slash. Oh boy.

- Dunno whether to laugh or cry. Moen blows easy opportunity to clear the zone and now Gorges called for putting glove on the puck in the crease giving Devils a penalty shot.

- Price with insane reaction of joy/relief after stopping Parise on the penalty shot. Wild finish here.

- Devils just jamming the goal looking for a greasy goal. Price holding on.

- They won? Wow. Am I breathing again? Not yet.

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