Saturday, 17 March 2012

Game Seventy-Three: Islanders v Habs

So it's the same injury-plagued lineup tonight as last night (as much of the season, I suppose). Among the wounded and scratched are Markov, Kaberle, Diaz (there's your defense), Moen is still out, Gomez is out and may never return, ditto for Darche, and of course Gionta. So that's a third of your starting lineup right there.

For the Islanders, Staois is out. That's it. One guy. If only we could be that fortunate. Oh yeah ... and DiPietro is out but ... you know ... DiPietro.

Budaj will start for the boys, giving Price a well-earned night off.

YOU KNOW IT'S GETTING REALLY BAD DEPARTMENT: How bad is bad? Bad is when your somewhat clueless coach is finally starting to realize how terri-bad your game is. It comes as somewhat of a mild surprise to see Randy Cunneyworth tear a strip over malcontent enigma Rene Bourque for his ridiculously bad play since ... forever? But that's what happened over the weekend.

I suppose we should offer Cunneyworth a measure of congratulations for pointing out the blatantly obvious?

ANYWAY THE BATTLE FOR 15TH IS ONNNN TONIGHT. Can you feel the excitement?

First Period:

- Markov is in!!

- Thanks to Montoya for failing to cover the post and giving Palushaj his NHL first goal. Habs take early lead.

- Campoli and Weber team up to play the puck instead of its carrier. Formula for disaster as Bailey gets a break but cant beat Budaj. Habs fans may want to leave the room when those two defensemen are on the ice.

- More argument why Staubitz shouldn't be in the lineup. Ryan White can fight just about anybody, and he also plays a pretty good game.

- Same old story. Habs PP with whole lotta passing but no shots on goal. Subban as the trigger man simply doesn't work because his shot is so inaccurate.

- Islanders taking some really clunky offensive zone penalties.

- Can't believe how many passes this PP unit takes and then finally after 30 seconds of tossing it around, make a shot attempt from a low percentage location. SHOOT THE PUCK.

- Not exactly an enthralling period of hockey. In other words, about what you'd expect when the 14th place team takes on the 15th place team.

Second Period:

- Budaj saving Gorges' bacon there after a pretty clumsy turnover.

- Leblanc another bad holding penalty. Seems to me he takes far too many of these unnecessary calls.

- Wow Streit. A pick by Moulson on White (not called) created a huge gap through the middle. Subban and Gorges needed to be a bit more alert closing the gap. Still, that goal really shouldn't have happened. Game tied.

- Bourque really needs to just look around. A simple pass to his right would have sprung Eller to a clear breakaway. Instead his shoots a weak one off a defender's leg. And so it goes.

- Sleep-inducing action here. Neither team's offense able to do much more than toss the puck at opposing goals.

- A fine shot by Neilsen, but Budaj solidifying his backup credentials with that one. Can't let those past you. 2-1 New York.

- Montoya with terrible decision to rush out for the puck giving Leblanc wide open net. Martin slides across to save a goal.

- Wretched period of hockey. Very sloppy, uninspired, utterly forgettable. Habs just 20 minutes away from a ticket to the basement.

Third Period:

- Great rush and perfect dish by Subban, excellent backhander by Leblanc. Game tied.

- How 'bout that? Even Campoli can make a fine defensive play on a 2-on-1.

- Bad old Habs from the Martin era. Too many men.

- Habs PK with some uncharacteristic puck chasing, nearly gives the Islanders the lead.

- If I'm crossing my fingers every time Budaj is faced with a shot, imagine how his teammates feel?

- Really? Tavares with a two handed high stick to the back of Leblanc's head off the faceoff. How can that be missed?

- How mediocre is the East this year? Division-leading Sens getting shut out by the Leafs right now, Ottawa scoring but two goals in regulation their past three games. What could have been ...

- Leblanc has really been playing well, working hard tonight, has a goal, yet has barely half the icetime of Bourque. Yeah ... it's a mystery.

- Not sure if the shot clock guy has an itchy trigger finger tonight, but can't fathom how the Islanders have 36 shots so far.

- Bourque getting lots of boos from that weak attempt to receive a pass from Plekanec, and even weaker attempt to retrieve the puck. Unacceptable effort.

- Markov nailing Neilsen in front of the Islanders bench. New York enraged - they thought the hit was high.

- The hockey gods giveth and taketh away. Streit with a delay of game. Opportunity to win it here.

- If Habs don't score in regulation they'll have a bit of 4 on 3 time in OT.

- More of the all passing, no shooting. Enough already.

- Figures that it would go to an OT. String the torture of watching really bad hockey out even longer.


- 43 seconds with the man advantage. Will they register a shot on goal?

- The answer, shockingly, is no.

- Well, unlike the last two games which also went to an OT, at least the boys are pushing for a winner here.

- Montoya with an equipment "problem".

- My goodness we are terrible tonight for simply getting the puck on Montoya. Too many blown 2-on-1s to count.

- Seems only fitting that Bourque would muck up another two-on-one, this time at the very end of OT. /headslap


- What strange selection will Cunneyworth make tonight? Stay tuned.

- Desharnais, Plekanec and Pacioretty. How 'bout that? Not bad.

- And Desharnais makes a sweet move.

- Neilsen replies. Budaj ... uh ...

- Pleks misses. Badly.

- Tavares misses on the backhand.

- Pacioretty ... nope.

- Parentrau ... nope.

- Bourque??? He scores!

- Moulson ... eek ... Budaj ... ugh.

- Eller a little too fancy there.

- Okposo ... nope.

- Where is Cole?? Markov now. That was ... terrible??

- And Bailey finishes it off. Where was Cole? Whatever. Sigh.

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