Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Game Thirty-Seven: Habs vs. Sens

I know this is rather cruel, but as we speak, Cam Ward is now leading Scott Gomez in the goal scoring race. Mr. Gomez, your move.

First Period:

- So Campoli gets the night off. Well that's a good start, considering how he'd played leading into the Christmas break (quite badly).

- A terrible start. Just terrible. Eller line just standing around, Emelin and Gill overwhelmed, Senators swarm and score. Just terrible.

- Plekanec gets caught up ice, takes a clunky tripping penalty.

- Price with some clumsy puck handling behind his net, really ought to have cost him a goal, but Sens fail to find the open net.

- Oh Eller, with a shot like that, why aren't you scoring 30 or 40 a year? The crowd goes wild. You'd never know this was an away game. Game tied.

- Well I guess that's a good sign that Pactioretty is back to full health as he picks a fight with Michalek, and does okay. Still, it's always a no-no to have one of your (arguably best) forward in a fist fight, given how razor thin this team's lineup and health is.

- He isn't quite as smooth a skater, isn't quite as dazzling handling the puck, but if there was one guy that reminds me a lot of Alex Kovalev, it's Erik Cole. He, like Kovalev (when he wanted to), seems to have a knack for making things happen.

- Breaks starting to turn in Habs favor, as Plekanec at right spot, right time, to deflect Diaz' point shot past Anderson for his 8th of the season. 2-1 Canadiens.

- I haven't seen them much this year, but Senators with some really soft zone coverage.  Makes you wonder how the heck they have as many as 39 points right now.

- Wow. Early bounces all Habs right now, and Cammelleri, who hasn't scored in forever, is thankful for that. Harmless shot by Leblanc off Anderson (shouldn't have been a rebound), off a defender's skate, and then right to Cammi for the easy put in. 3-1.

- With Habs up 5-1, Subban and Gorges get their positions all mixed up, and Spezza writs an easy one past Price. Leading by four, you can afford to "sit", which means stop making stupid or sloppy plays. Habs just made one.

- Really, a pretty even period, the Senators were just too soft and sloppy in their zone, Anderson probably let a couple in he shouldn't have, and the Habs profited from some pretty crazy bounces. We'll take it. I know Cunneyworth has got to be feeling pretty good right now.

Second Period:

More good breaks for Habs, broken sticks, and very iffy goaltending helps Leblanc score his NHL second. Anderson gets yanked, and the very familiar Auld comes in. 4-1 Habs.

- Habs man advantage looked fantastic, at least during a delayed penalty call. Held the puck for well over a minute mainly in the Sens own zone.

- Canadiens with a ferocious PP. The team looks pretty much more focused and determined than I've seen at any time in the last three weeks.

- Pretty strong period for Habs, one of the best in quite some time, coming off what was probably one of their worst games in franchise history in the last 20 years. Hockey is a funny game that way.

Third Period:

- Well here we go, one of the best scoring third period teams in the League (the Senators being number one), against one of the worst third period teams, period.

- Habs with a surprisingly aggressive period so far, doing what you'd usually expect in bottling up the neutral zone, but still maintaining a pretty steady offensive attack. If only this were the kind of period they played earlier in the season, the team might not be fighting to stay out of the cellar in the East.

- Habs starting to shell up now, and as a result, the Sens are getting a few more shots on Price. Nothing outwardly dangerous, mind you, but the crazy bounces can, and often do, break both ways.

- Icing on the cake as Cole cashing in on the 5-on-3. Pretty impressive performance by the powerplay tonight. Yeah, it's just Ottawa, but the puck movement was very crisp. Grats to Cunneyworth for finally picking up his first win. I'm sure it entered his mind that this day would never arrive.

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