Thursday, 8 December 2011

Game Twenty-Nine: Canucks v. Habs

Oh it's nice to be back in the land of reliable Internet coverage. Hopefully the past week will be the last prolonged period of absence away from posting for while!

I did watch the Columbus outing, and given how listless the club performed for most of the 65 minutes played, coming away with a point was much better than the deserved zero.

An interesting matchup tonight featuring two teams that have underperformed through much of the year. The Canucks share some interesting parallels with where the Habs were a couple of years ago. Vancouver is going through a huge rut of controversy over who's number 1 between the pipes, while two years ago Habs fans were fretting over who ought to get the lion's share of starts: Price or Huet (remember him)? Then there's the previous season to consider, the Canucks coming off a Stanley Cup appearance now seemingly a shell of their former selves, the Habs struggled mightily to make the playoffs the year following winning the Eastern Conference.

So the Habs for the Cup final in '14? I was kinda hoping for something sooner.

First Period:

- Weber gets the scratch, as the Habs eek closer to full health status. Hoping for fewer turnovers and more disciplined puck control by Habs blue line. They'll need it because this Canucks offense while struggling, is still explosive.

- Speaking of struggling, Cammalleri first good chance of the game. Where he goes, the Habs doth follow.

- Hey, that's nice to see. St-Denis his NHL first, and the Habs creating a mess of problems for Luongo in front of the net. More traffic please. 1-0.

- The St-Denis should really be the prototype goal for this team if it wants to compete for a Division title. Not pretty, born from hard work and willingness to create havoc in front of the opposition net.

- Canucks really work the puck around nicely with a variety of patterns. Habs' inexperienced defense is having trouble reacting to the set plays, which means Price could look forward to a busy night.

- So hard to believe Montreal had one of the most dangerous power plays in the League last year with most of the same players. It's perplexing. Was it really all Wisniewski?? It can't be that simple.

- Price with a showboat glove save. Impressive. He'll need every bit of that flash to deal with the Habs down two for 86 seconds.

- Gorges in the box (bad news), Gill doing his impersonation of a wall (good news).

- Opposing teams simply can't (or haven't) solved Gill's wall routine on the 5-on-3. He's mastered the art.

- Too bad Stanley Cups aren't awarded to the teams with the best PK. If they did, the Habs could book St. Catherines for next spring.

- Ya see?? Traffic in front makes good things happen. Diaz with a near carbon-copy goal as St-Denis, and it's 2-0. Rinse. Repeat. Win.

- First period SOG 13-7 Vancouver, but the Habs were the better team, and the PK once again came through with flying colours (7 of Vancouver's 13 shots came during that 86 second 5-on-3 stretch).

Second Period:

- Guys like Ryan Miller put the fear of frustration into me. Luango I'm just "meh". I suspect there are many 'nucks fans that share this sentiment.

- And there we go. Erik Cole with a beaut, although stoppable wrister, from the wing. 3-0.

- Fans are taunting Luongo. They ought to check out the clock before they jeer because there's plenty of time left for Vancouver to get back into this one.

- How close was that? Luongo looked behind following shot by Gionta on the 2-on-1. Luongo shaky.

- Might as refill my beer cup during the Habs PP, 'cause I'm petty sure nothing will happen.

- Oh dear. I missed a goal. Problem is, it was the Canucks who score on the Habs PP. The Plekanec point "strategy" strikes again.

- Vancouver lots of legs now following that shorthander. The jeerheads are pretty quiet.

- Remember how Moen had the soft hands of a goal scorer early in the season? That's long gone.

- Official took a long time raising his arm after Price was bodychecked behind the net.

- Suban shot from the line, lots of traffic in front of Luongo. No goal but the strat is commendable.

- Another solid period for the Habs despite the shorthanded blemish. If only the League allowed for penalties to be declined ...

Third Period:

- Habs way too passive while it was 4-on-4, letting the Canucks stroll in for a high percentage shot that was nearly unstoppable. Habs lack of killer instinct letting Vancouver back into this game. 3-2.

- We've heard this song before, against the Sharks, and now the band is playing the same sit-on-the lead tune against Vancouver. It's a ballad that almost never ends on an good note.

- Diaz unloads the hardest shot of the night. Ask Desharnais if you don't believe me.

- Habs doing their best to not hang on for the win, but Luongo now coming up with some key saves. Just need one more, really, but they just never seem to arrive in Habs Land.

- Gionta hurt and gone to dressing room. Probably shouldn't have written earlier about Habs coming close to getting healthy. Do'h.

- Price another great glove save to preserve the lead. 7 minutes left.

- Here we go. 5 on the clock and Eller takes an unnecessary cross check. This is where we close our eyes and hope the PK can deliver one final time.

- It's hard to criticize the PK given how well it's played, but two very good clearance chances were missed before Salo tied it up. And the band plays the same old song one more sad time.

- Lacking the killer instinct: no way you should lose a game at home up 3 in the second. But here we are.

- I half expected Eller to get the bench for that penalty, but Matin just gave him his regular shift.

- Wow. Officials putting away their whistles. Canucks got away with two clear-cut muggings in front of Luongo in the final minute. Not that having a man advantage means a lot.


- We're just 1/3 into the season and Habs may get their 7th OT loss tonight which is crazy high.

- Cautious start to OT. The Habs can't seriously be playing for the shootout, can they?

- All Vancouver in extra period.

- Pacioretty can't believe Luongo saved that/he didn't score. Neither can I.

- Price in goal against Vancouver and the Sedins in a shootout. Who you gonna put your money on?

- Price just awful in these things. No confidence whatsoever.

- And another two points slip away from the Habs grasp. The team can't keep playing to not lose, or they're just going to ... well ... keep losing.

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