Saturday, 10 March 2012

Game Sixty-Nine: Habs v Canucks

- OMG. Markov to play tonight?? For realz??! That's the word this afternoon. Confirmation later.

UPDATE: Markov has been given the official green light. His start is almost certain. Yay!

- Carey Price will apparently play with yea another new mask tonight, and it's awesome ... check it out.

First Period:

- Habs going with 7 D tonight.

- Markov now on the ice with Emelin. The Russian duo.

- An uneventful first shift for Markov. Here's hoping that continues for the rest of his career.

- Subban/Gorges, Makov/Emelin. That's a pretty, no - very good top NHL blue line four-set. Can't wait for the next season.

- Nice little push by Gomez to redeflect a pass and forcing Luongo to make a tough save. The first shot of the night.

- Poor shift by Palushaj with poor giveaway at centre giving Canucks a rush and then takes a holding penalty under pressure.

- Habs with some pretty hard hits, Subban and Leblanc. You have to do that to slow down a team like Vancouver.

- Weber and Campoli are going to get matched heavily if Cunneyworth plays them regularly. Both struggle with speed, a major weapon in the Canucks' arsenal.

- Markov on pace for about a 12 minute game. About what was expected.

- Play is relatively even, except on the shot clock, where it's 12-1 Vancouver. Really says Habs forwards are struggling to get their shots on Luongo. Price excellent so far.

- Campoli and Palushaj with killer d-zone giveaways that will eventually bite us. A bit lucky so far, Price really focused.

- Markov with a beautiful pass up through the middle to White. That's the kind of play and player we've been desperately missing for more than a full season.

- Markov on the PP. Wouldn't that be something if ...

- Subban a great hit on Kessler (his second this period) but the reaction ... poor judgement.

- Not a bad period. Habs playing like a dangerous nothing to lose team. Vancouver better be careful.

Second Period:

- Kessler having a rough night, getting rubbed out again, this time by White.

- Staubitz vs. Kassian. Two heavyweights, split decision to Staubitz.

- Continuing with the boxing analogy, Canucks controlling the tempo - basically circling the Habs in the ring, landing a lot of jabs, but no scores yet. But you know it's just a matter of time before the Habs finally hit the canvas.

- Game opening up a bit, Habs offense actually generating some good chances. Not sure if the Habs have the depth to match the 'nucks in that kind of game.

- Gomez making some pretty awful giveaways in his own zone last two shifts. Giving Vancouver's dangerous forwards plenty of extra and unnecessary chances.

- I gotta say when you consider how long it's been since he played an actual game, Markov looks like he hasn't missed a beat.

- Kessler gets his revenge as Markov gets caught up ice. Perhaps I shouldn't have made the last post. 1-0 'nucks.

- Have to say this is one of the more physical games Habs have played this year. A lot of thunderous checks, lots of feisty checking, lots of bear-poking. Really enjoying this.

- Habs pushing. Easily their best zero-goal game played this year. Giving themselves a fighting chance against a team they ought not be competing with.

- The kids strike!! Great work by Leblanc along thr boards to set up Geoffrion with his very first as a Canadien. One of many more (we hope).

- Great pace to this game. Crowd totally getting their money's worth. Third period setting up to be a humdinger. A Habs win would be extremely satisfactory.

Third Period:

- Cole! Off his own rebound 13 seconds in, and Habs take the lead. Wow.

- Markov more than 11 minutes played and still a good 20 minutes left. Cunneyworth not holding him back.

- Subban's been a monster tonight, driving Canucks forwards crazy and protecting his goal with great efficiency.

- Officials have been letting both teams play. So who's gonna take the next first bad penalty?

- Well there we go. Delay of game call against Vancouver. Big opportunity here.

- Woah. Another delay of game call on the Canucks. Habs go to the 5 on 3.

- Subban!!! From Markov!!

- It's just one game, but the Habs PP is clearly another animal with Markov out there.

- Rene Bourque. Too many plays exercising poor judgement.

- Pacioretty got mugged on a break. Officials really are lettin' 'em play.

- World-class shot block by Gorges on Kessler. Probably saved a goal.

- Unlike all of the seemingly countless games blown or lost in the 3rd period this season, Habs continuing to press for more, and checking aggressively. Really fun to watch.

- Cole salts it away. What a game for the Canadiens. It's been a joy to watch, and maybe a hint of a pretty bright future just around the corner.

- Not to take away from what's been an excellent night for Montreal, but Canucks fans ought to have plenty to be concerned about the playoff readiness of this Vancouver team. It starts (and may end) with their goaltending.

- Habs defense and forecheckers really doing a fine job limiting the Canucks' chances here. If only we'd seen more of this from games 1-68, who knows where we'd be in the standings?

- Markov now just a bit over 15 minutes. Rust is still there, but not nearly as much as to be expected.

- Canucks can't get anything going. They're being blanketed all over the place.

- Markov final time: 16:12. First game back and the impact is immediate.

- Great game by the Canadiens. Probably the best of the season. Really will be interesting to see how many of the remaining 13 games will be won with Markov in the lineup. I'm thinking perhaps quite a few, which will probably end hopes for a top 3 pick.

The Canucks got beat soundly tonight, so there's much joy in Habs land. On to Buffalo Monday to play a desperate Sabres team whose season is dangling by a thread.

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