Friday, 20 January 2012

Game Forty-Seven: Habs v Pens

Well, here we go ... into the "do-or-die" weekender featuring back-to-back games versus opponents the Habs are desperately trying to track down for that final playoff berth.

As of this afternoon, it appears that Budaj will get the start tonight, a not altogether surprise in light of Price's so-so game against the Caps.

Budaj lost the only game he every played in Pittsburgh while he played for Colorado (4-1 ... two were empty netters).

First Period:

- Never hurts to get off to a fast start, with a little luck thrown in. 1-0.

- Pacioretty in a fight. Did well, but he does have a previously injured hand. Not exactly a smart move.

- Comedy of errors ties the game. First Plekanec falls on his behind (perhaps slightly interfered?), Campoli forgets to cover his goal, and Budaj badly misplays a rather harmless backhander by Letang.

- And right after Letang's goal, following a turnover in the neutral zone, Cole cashes in a easy one past Fleury off a rebound. Pens D is *really* soft. 2-1

- PP goes to work. Let's see if they're just as bad as Washington.

- Yup. Just as bad. Pens could have killed that blindfolded.

- That said, Pens' offense has really stumbled out of the gate. Almost no scoring chances, save the gift goal provided earlier.

- Plekanec *another* shorthanded break, outstanding play by Letang who dives at the last moment to knock the puck away.

- Budaj ain't exactly brimming with confidence tonight, really fighting to find the puck around his crease.

- Subban poor puck control at the line gives Pens a 3-on-1, Budaj a sparkling glove save on Adams. Didn't I just post he was fighting the puck? #wrongagain

- I could be wrong, but this Pens team looks nothing like the Pens that dominated the Habs 4-1 earlier this season. Offense not nearly as coordinated, defense seemingly soft as a Teddy bear. But there's plenty of hockey left to play.

- Plexiglass slab just fell out, nearly on top of the ref. Cue 10 minute delay.

- Desperate times. Plekanec now playing blue line on the powerplay again. Hey, if it didn't work before surely it'll suddenly start working now, right?

- Pens outshot Habs 10-6, but that total not nearly representing the balance of play.

Second Period:

- Even though he scored the game's first goal, Eller just 4 shifts, barely 2 1/2 minutes of time in the first. For whatever reason, welcome to the doghouse Lars.

- Wow. Did the Habs just score a powerplay goal?

- Pacioretty just went to he dressing room. So is it his hand?

- Patches back on the bench. Doesn't exactly look comfortable.

- Yet more evidence that Habs would just do best to decline the penalty. Subban with an unconsciously lazy turnover via a unnecessary blind pass in his own zone and the Pens score shorthanded. /headslap

- If I'm Cunneyworth, I staple Subban to the bench for that play alone.

- Subban getting reamed out by Ladouceur on the bench. That's appropriate - making players accountable for making mistakes that ought never be made at the NHL level.

- Pens offense shifting to a higher gear since that shorthanded goal, Budaj getting pelted. Just. Decline. The. Penalty.

- Darche saves a goal with a tremendous back check on Jeffrey one way, Cole sets up Pacioretty for a pretty goal the other. Hockey is funny that way. 4-2 Habs.

- Habs obviously trying to follow the Caps model for victory. Four goals on just 8 shots so far.

- Somebody's listening. Subban no shifts so far since that gaffe.

- Subban just sent on the ice.

- Kostitsyn a pretty/determined pass to Cole who had Fleury dead to rights, but misses the gaping net with a backhander. Visibly reacts "how the heck did I miss that?"

- Kostitsyn/Cole clicking tonight, tossup for who's played a stronger game. They've both been very good, very aggressive on the puck.

- Pens turn over, Moen a beautiful pass to Plekanec who deflects it off the crossbar. Three goal lead headed to the 3rd woulda been nice.

- Plekanec workhorse 14 minutes through 40 minutes, Eller just 6.

Third Period:

- See, that's why you want that three goal lead. Campoli with a half-hearted clearance attempt that's easily intercepted, and Jeffrey with a wrister that Budaj probably should have stopped. 4-3.

- Habs in trap mode. But there's still 10 minutes left. #thiswonthold

- 8 minutes left. No way they can ride this out. Nonetheless, here we go.

- Cole takes arguable interference call. Here we go.

- Pens blow it. Kunitz with a terribly dumb penalty, hitting Gorges late along the boards. Gorges slow to get up.

- Neal another long distance wrist shot that Budaj just barely saves. 5 agonizingly long minutes left.

- This game is bringing back memories of the Habs fabled run to the Eastern Finals. Just. Barely. Hanging. On.

- And there it is. Sigh.

- Not going to rub it in and say that saw that coming a mile away, but really, you can't go into prevent mode with 10 minutes left. It is just not going to work.

- So yeah. That was an interesting little experiment, but Carey Price tomorrow night.

- 14-6 SOG in that period. It looked more like 34-6.


- The Canadiens' nemesis this year, among many. Playing extra time.

- Since the Pens are a team the Habs are attempting to catch, giving up that late goal also automatically surrendered a point in the standings, no matter what.

- Emelin with a clinic on how to correctly play against the 2-on-1. Hans have nothing going offensively so far.

- Eller, who's had the benefit of barely playing tongiht, figures 'I might as well do this all by myself'. And nearly does. Pens call time.

- Neal doesn't forget. Tried a wrist shot on Budaj from 30 feet. Fortunately blocked.

- Shootout. Oh well. At least it isn't Price in goal. #grabbingatstraws.

- I just can't look. Dread filling my body.

- Scott Gomez is one of the three?? Really?

- Budaj really looked good first shot.

- Malkin shows us how it's done.

- Kostitsyn breaks his stick on his shot. Oh man.

- Gomez to keep them in it. Oh man.

- And Gomez, why he was chosen I'll never know, can't score. And the Habs drop to 1-7 in shootouts. Wow. Just wow.

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