Sunday, 15 January 2012

Game Forty Five: Rangers v Habs

- Budaj will get the start tonight, as will Bourque in his first game as a Hab, apparently will play along side Plekanec and Gomez. Habs looking to get back into the win column, in other words, the usual.

- Campoli and Nokelainen are healthy scratches.

First Period:

- Here's a pretty good indicator of how the season has gone. There were tickets available for the game. $65 got you in the arena, which by Montreal standards, is unheard of. Consider it heard.

- Bourque a little partial breakaway along the wing, speed was impressive.

- Rangers really, really sloppy and disorganized in their own zone facing the rush, and Pacioretty deposits the puck over a sprawling Lundqvist, Habs take the early lead.

- Bourque playing his size, nailing Hagelin along the boards. These are your new Habs.

- Moen vs. Bikel in a tussle, Moen simply didn't have the reach to do much damage, but nonetheless, these are your new Habs.

- Canadiens' forwards distinctly more physical tonight. Rangers have taken a mini-thumping so far.

- Budaj pretty solid so far, he's benefited from having unobstructed views of most of the Rangers' tries so far.

- Habs really can't afford to take vacations in their zone against a team like the Rangers, this time Eller with a lazy check allowing Mitchell to easily backhand a juicy rebound in front of Budaj. Game tied.

- Rangers really cycle the puck nicely, very patient setting up their plays. Habs are vastly overmatched.

- Habs with a strong start out of the gate, but the Rangers slowly took control as the period progressed - they're just too deep to keep pace with. Trend is pointing all New York for the second period and beyond.

Second Period:

- Great start for the Habs, as a point shot by Cole is deflected in by Pacioretty. The whole series began because of Cole's using his body to create a turnover in the Rangers zone. Size working in Montreal's favor (that time). Habs lead again.

- Oh my goodness. If Scott Gomez can do more of that for the rest of the year, I won't make a peep about how much he's paid. Habs lead 3-1 courtesy some dazzling moves and a perfect setup by Gomez to Blunden.

- Borque having just an awful shift, totally lost on the ice, the Rangers had kept Habs pinned in their zone for more than 2 minutes, Gill with a desperation dive to clear the zone, but Habs can't change their line. Finally Budaj covers the puck. Rangers with amazing puck control.

- It's way to early to harp about this, but aside from his first shift, Bourque has been pretty invisible, which was/is big knock in Calgary.

- Habs making it look easy. Cole to Pacioretty with a perfect spin pass from the corner to streaking Desharnais all alone in front. Beautiful goal. Habs, and I'm rubbing my eyes to make sure I'm not dreaming, lead the Rangers 4-1.

- Desharnais/Pacioretty/Cole combination have 9 combined points so far tonight. Coach, just keep these guys together.

- Kostitsyn can't be in the dog house, can he? Just under 6 minutes played and 2nd period nearly over.

- Plekanec line against pinned in their own zone. Something clearly ain't right, and I'm looking over at Plek's wing.

- It's been nearly a calendar year since Gomez last scored a goal, and he came agonizingly close, all alone in front of Lindqvist.

- Pacioretty double-shifted with Gomez. Cunneyworth, I'd reckon, wants Scott to just score ...

- Budaj providing a very Carey Price-like performance (in a good way). Very square to the shots, excellent rebound control.

- Cunneyworth putting out Gomez/Darche/Blunden for defensive purposes to protect the lead heading for the third period, and they promptly surrender a breakaway to Prust who rings one off the post. Yeesh.

- An excellent period, everything just seemed to click, and the chances that have seemingly stayed out all season are going in tonight. How will this team respond for the final 20 holding a three goal lead?

Third Period:

- RDS put up the stat - Plekanec is an excellent 75% in the faceoff circle tonight.

- Habs come out storming in the third. Nice.

- Yikes. Darche taking a slap shot to the throat. He skated off immediately and went immediately to the dressing room in significant distress.

- First three minutes, ALL Habs swarming the Rangers zone.

- I sense the Rangers have the unfortunate luck in they played a team tonight hell-bent on winning. Habs fierce so far in this period.

- Good news. Darche back out there.

- Budaj hasn't had much to face in the period, but the main reason he enjoys a three goal cushion was all the solid saves he made in the first and second period. Very impressive tonight.

- Habs passing the puck with a lot of mustard and confidence tonight. Maybe the best they've done that all year.

- One big key to victory tonight (assuming it happens). No powerplays.

- Plekanec line *again* hemmed in their own zone. Weird.

- Budaj with a little flair makes a nice glove save off an Anisomov wrister.

- Aside from the Moen/Bikel tussle, just one minor penalty tonight. It's been pretty quiet (but still an enjoyable game).

- I can't tell you how much I enjoy these cruise-to-victory type games. We've really only had two or three all season.

- Not to take away from what's been a great night for the Habs, but you get the feeling the Rangers might have taken the Canadiens a bit too lightly, given how we've played lately, and with Budaj starting. They got owned tonight.

- Well you can't keep a good thing going forever. Rangers get an interference penalty and we get a powerplay.

- The unit tried their damnedest to feed Pacioretty for a hat trick.

- The boys made it look so easy tonight. If only they played like this in October, and November, and December, we'd be cruising to a playoff spot.

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