Saturday, 31 March 2012

Game Seventy-Nine: Habs v Caps

Four to go. Nearly there. The finish line in sight and then we can take six months off and pretend none of this happened.

So we lost last night. Great!! The Oilers ... lost. Sheesh. Com'on Edmonton. This sucking is kind of hard to do. We might actually win one of the last four so WIN A GAME already.

Carey Price will start tonight. Or maybe not. It doesn't really matter.

First Period:

- Budaj actually gets the start.

- St-Denis having mobility issues, gets called for the trip.

- PK looked pretty solid, but then Campoli/St-Denis come on and leave Budaj high and dry. Caps strike early.

- I think it's fair game to reexamine Budaj's future in the off season. As a backup, he's performed alright. The question for debate is whether he fulfills the role of pushing Price in his performances - I think it fair to say that Budaj isn't and hasn't fulfilled that role.

- Habs offense has been as close to zero as humanly possible. Plekanec has been feisty this period, but is saddled with wingers utterly incapable of scoring.

- The old Ovechkin would have easily converted on those chances. Today's Ovechkin ... well ....

- It's a sure sign that something's gone terribly wrong when a 3-on-1 is surrendered and Pacioretty is the one guy back. Markov in dreamland. The collective quality of this team's play ... horrendous. Caps now lead by two. I sense a blowout on the way.

- Habs get a PP. Will they also get one scoring chance in the period?

- Plekanec with a reasonably challenging shot on goal. So that's one.

- Hah. How'd that get in? Cole with his 32nd. Habs play one of their worst periods all season and yet find themselves on the scoreboard and just a goal down.

Second Period:

- When Markov is QBing the PP this team is vastly more effective and efficient gaining the opposition zone. It's a skill that Kaberle was incapable of executing and Subban has yet to learn.

- Um ... uh oh? During the time out Markov stepped on the ice to do a few strides - definitely seemed to be favoring his leg.

- That noted, Habs management would be crazy to allow Markov to participate in the upcoming Worlds. They retain the right to forbid him from doing so.

- Desharnais hammering himself for not putting that puck in off Cole's shot. Game really should have been tied.

- The past four or five games the only Habs line that's produced scoring chances is the Desharnais/Cole/Pacioretty combo. Nothing else has been working.

- Habs with a good bounce-back period going. This game could have easily spun out of control into a blowout. But they've held tight, provided Budaj with some excellent protection, and given Neuvirth a few challenging tries.

- Eller very pretty setup to Geoffrion in front of Neuvirth, but he can't convert.

- Plekanec's feisty night finally pays off. Since Bourque and Blunden are totally incapable, Pleks does a solo rush and finishes with a tricky sharp angle shot that eludes Neuvirth. Tie game (deservedly).

- Haven't seen Markov since his little hurt skate. That ain't good.

- Really solid frame for Montreal, while Washington even with Backstrom's return, has looked really listless since taking a 2-0 lead. The Caps *have* to win tonight, which makes their disappearing act all the more mystifying. Sets up a compelling third period.

Third Period:

- Markov did have one more shift late in the second (during the Plekanec goal) a 40 second shift.

- Habs continue to push into the third. The Caps are really playing with fire. No way Montreal should even be competing for a win tonight.

- Ovechkin just watched Eller pass him by along the boards. Infuriating if you're a Caps fan.

- Pretty dismal PP for Washington, scattering of boos reigning down.

- Great save by Budaj on Ovechkin.

- Silly tripping call on Plekanec who was merely going through a motion of pulling the puck back from the drop.

- Caps PP tonight strongly resembling what ours has looked like all season - really bad.

- Fine effort by Cole draws a tripping call, and Habs go on the PP, oh-for-three so far.

- Pacioretty's wheelhouse slapper leaves much to be desired.

- How'd Bourque not get called for a slash? His stick breaking in two as he made a lazy slash check.

- Wow. Budaj in the wilderness close to the neutral zone than his own crease. Really got away with that one.

- Eller and Geoffrion with some nice chemistry tonight. Wonder if there's maybe some future potential there.

- Great block by St-Denis who has like his team, has bounced back nicely after a rough first period.

- Caps desperate to end this before regulation.

- Not to be. Habs earn a gritty point tonight, and depending on OT, possibly two.


This is the Habs' 22nd game this season where extra time was required. Crazy. Only 7 have resulted in gaining an extra point. There's your playoff spot right there.


- Campoli easily follows and then strips Ovechkin of the puck. That's how far he's fallen.

- What a great 125 foot pass from Markov right on the tape of a wide open Desharnais, who fails to do anything.

- Bourque with another open net missed to add to his large collection.

- Pacioretty looked like Gretzky there maneuvering around the Caps defense and setting up Eller who couldn't tip it home. So many great individual efforts wasted.

- And to shootout once more. 16th time this season. Caps desperately need this extra point to stay ahead of the


- Hendricks will shoot first. Will he try his funky fake? Now's a good a time as ever.

- Yup. He does. And Budaj is frozen solid.

- Ovechkin almost lost the puck on that attempt.

- This just in: Habs are terrible in the shootout.

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