Saturday, 31 December 2011

Game Thirty-Nine: Habs v. Panthers

Is the road trip finished yet? It's been ... well, full of ups and downs, but mainly downs as this team continues to play some pretty dreadful third period hockey. Price will get the start on a game night largely overshadowed by the silly outdoor game in Philadelphia, the Canada/USA World Jr. matchup, and New Years Eve. Like Thursday night, Habs will face another ex netminder, Jose Theodore will start for Florida.

Cunneyworth continues to juggle the lines, with Moen returning to his early season combo along side Plekanec and Kostitsyn. The Habs offense has at least been playing with a bit more focus and organization since the holiday break, but poor defensive zone coverage and spotty netminding have conspired to make this road trip pretty miserable.

First Period:

- Well, moving Moen already pays dividends, and Kaberle picks up yet another point since joining the Habs.

- When Cammalleri protests a call, usually it's with merit. So it comes with little surprise that the tripping call was phantom.

- Yes, Moen gets PK time, but he's just awful when it comes to clearing the zone. Lost count of how many zone clearances he's blown this year either on the PK or even strength. It's a lot.

- Habs doing a nice job keeping the Panthers mainly in the perimeter in the Canadiens' zone, but we've seen this movie before the while year. Solid defensive coverage early, but it all starts to fall to pieces at the 40 minute mark.

- Tough as nails Emelin took one heck of a hit from Bradley from behind who definitely seemed to aim at his head with an elbow. League might take a look at that later.

- Theodore keeping Panthers in this with Habs storming late in the frame.

- Plekanec a bit too casual taking a rebound off the backboard. If he receives and shoots aggressively, Theodore probably has no chance.

- Theodore standing on his head, stopping Eller on a break. Lots of great chances missed in a period pretty much dominated by the Habs.

Second Period:

- An ugly note: It appears that the Panthers' Krys Barch was given a game misconduct at the end of the first for uttering a racial epitaph at Subban.

- Habs PK way too complacent baking into their zone on a Panthers rush and allow Fleischmann to take a shot from 20 feet, which is almost always a goal. It was in this case. Game tied.

- Theodore exits the game after contact in his crease. He looks fine but he took a good thwack to the head, so I'm guessing the trainers are taking precautionary tests to insure there was no concussion sustained. Habs now get a shot at a cold netminder. Clemensen in.

- Habs doing their best getting the puck on net, no luck yet.

- Subban very nearly broke through on an end to end rush. One of these days ...

- Habs offense going full throttle on Panthers, playing a bit risky with chancy pinches. Careful, guys.

- Panthers very aggressive tonight with borderline hits, this time Jovanovski with hit from behind on Cammalleri along the boards.

- Second time tonight Habs wipe out a PP by taking a silly penalty of their own. This time it's Pacioretty with a lazy hook.

- Oh my goodness, Emelin with yet another spectacular open ice hit, this time he sends Versteeg flying with a clean hip check. Emelin ... a highlight guy for all the right reasons.

- If the Habs bench isn't pumped after that hit, nothing will elevate this club.

- Game has evened up a bit, but Hans have still been the better team tonight. Problem is, they'll need to outplay their opposition in the third if they want a win.

Third Period:

- Like the Panthers' first goal, Subban plays the rush way too soft, this time Matthias the carrier, and he wrists a 45 foot shot that Price simply must stop.

- I certainly don't want netminding to become (another) issue with this team, but I'm beginning to wonder if Price simply isn't built to play a 70-game regular season. His play of late suggests the wear is taking a toll on his ability to maintain a consistent game for a team with so little margin for error.

- Cunneyworth shortening his bench and rotating shifts at a dizzying pace, obviously looking for a spark from *someone*. Desperate times.

- Habs third period woes continue. Panthers outshooting 11-5 with 9 min left.

- Habs offense just can't find a gear. Even the first gear. Too many trying to do this as individuals, rather than as a cohesive unit. Looking bleak.

- Plekanec with yet another boneheaded penalty in the offensive zone, his second tonight. This will drive any level headed coach insane.

- Habs pretty much riding just 4 defenseman tonight. Gill and Weber have had very little icetime, the latter with just over 4 minutes. My question is, if you're only using one of your D so sparingly, why even bother including him in the lineup?

- Plekanec with a golden point blank opportunity on Clemensen, and he muffed the shot. He looks beyond frustrated.

- 2 minutes left, down a goal, Habs still aren't playing desperate. What would it take to get them moving?

- Another 3rd period fold, another loss. Cunneyworth now 1-6. How to explain this? Are the players unconditioned? Are they not fit enough to compete in this League? At some point you have to wonder what the heck is going on.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, even anonymously. All I ask is that you behave, and in support of good taste, avoid the use of course language, or express opinions that are just plain silly (racist, sexist, etc.)