Thursday, 15 December 2011

Game Thirty-Two: Flyers v. Habs

So the red-hot, but banged up Flyers come to town. Late news out this afternoon that Chris Pronger is out indefinitely, if not for the rest of the year, with concussion. Add in former League scoring leader Claude Giroux (concussion) and d-man Brayden Schenn (concussion - noticing a pattern yet?), and the Flyers, while sitting atop the Conference, may be ripe for the picking.

'Course, it isn't all roses for the Habs on the injury list. Travis Moen is (probably) out with a foot injury, and with Gionta out with a shoulder injury (no details, of course provided by the Canadiens staff), the PK unit, while brilliant throughout the year, will be weakened.

Still, Carey Price has been very good in net the past three weeks, and the Flyers have not had a particularly good record on Bell Centre ice the past few seasons. So there's reason for optimism tonight. A win would send a pretty definitive message that the Habs ship continues to path its way towards straightening.

- Late afternoon announcement, Diaz will sit, Emelin will start (not entirely surprising, as one can reasonably expect the Flyers to be significantly more physical than the Islanders are (and were). Apparently Diaz has the case of the flu, but even if he hadn't, he probably would have gotten the scratch to make way for Emelin.

First Period:

- Defensive pairing: Campoli and Gill. That could be adventurous. Also Darche on the third line with Eller? Yikes.

- Flyers move the puck so effectively and seemingly effortlessly. Price will need to bring his A game if the Habs are to withstand much of a chance. Anywho, Canadiens get early and game's first PP.

- Flyers wingers super aggressive along the boards, give smaller Habs forwards fits. Makes setting up plays in opposing zone fairly difficult, but does create open ice down the middle.

- Brilliant feed Cammalleri to Plekanec for the breakaway, wasn't a Flyer within 40 feet. That's one of the weaknesses from wingers playing aggressive along the boards, it creates that open middle ice, generating breakaways.

- There is little margin for error, Gill goes chasing and Kostitsyn releases his check, and within 2 second Flyers deposit it past Price. Critical first goal. 1-0.

- Really good shift by Eller line, spent 40 seconds working on a perfect setup to Darche, who wiffed. Oh well.

- Chrissy Lee striketh again, calling Cole for goaltender interference and wiping a PP goal off the board.

- Flyers in deep penalty trouble. Gotta take advantage.

- Suban with that momentous windup makes him an easy shot block.

- Turn off the lights? Flyers have not lost a game this year leading after the first period.

Second Period:

- Wow. TSN is reporting that nobody on the Flyers team is aware that Pronger is out for the year, to keep them from "being in shock." Heck, I posted that Pronger was done two hours ago, how is it even possible in today's Twitter universe that none if the Flyers players are aware?

- Oh wow. What a goal by Desharnais, holding on to the puck for eternity and tucking the puck past a sprawled Bobrovski. Game tied.

- Oy. Seconds later Flyers go back in front, following very questionable contact on Price by Rinaldo. No call by Mr. lee who waved off Habs goal in the first.

- Even though they're overmatched, credit to the Habs for hanging tough in this one. Getting quality chances on Bobrovski.

- And Leblanc scores his NHL first!! Gets the standing O. How thrilled must he be right now?

- Please, no more post-goal let-downs. Please?

- Safe to say Habs have Flyers right where they want them? This game really is up for grabs.

- Tripping call on Cammalleri was abysmal. He made no contact on Timonen, who fell because he spun himself around too quickly and tripped over his own skates.

- Another goal by the Flyers (Simmonds), another incredulous glance by Price towards Chris Lee wondering what happened to goaltending interference. 3-2 Philly.

- Gorges double-clutches glorious scoring chance, then double-clutches glorious setup chance in front of Flyers net.

- And Cole ties it up on the PP with just 15 seconds on the clock! Crazy game.

Third Period:

- Price bails out Weber who makes a bad play attempting to keep the puck in Flyers zone, Kostitsyn fans in sure-fire position in front of Bobrovski. Fun

- If Flyers somehow lose this, the finger will be pointed straight at their discipline, or lack thereof.

- Price makes a very bad play passing the puck up the middle, and gets burned. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but this one comes at a particularly bad time. 4-3 Flyers.

- Flyers commit two golden giveaways in front of their net. Problem is, they were to Gill and then Campoli. No shots registered.

- Pre post-game post-mortem. Habs had the horses to give the Flyers a good run for their money, but defensive breakdowns and sloppy decision making took cost them the game.

- Three minutes left, might as well roll all the dice and send everyone forward. And now the Flyers get called for a hold. We have hope.

- Oh well. Disappointing loss against a tough team in a game that could have been won. Get 'em next time, I guess.

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