Saturday, 3 March 2012

Game Sixty-Six: Leafs v Habs

So let's get this straight: Brian Burke fired Ron Wilson because of the way he and the Leafs were being taunted by their fans during their recent loss to Florida? Really!? That's all that's required - a few jeers from the mob? Wow.

Obviously Habs fans are far too passive. While Randy Cunneyworth plays out the string awaiting his inevitable dismissal at season's end, the Leafs took matters into hand and got a pretty experienced guy behind their bench who's actually won a championship. WHY can't we do the same - like ... ever? Why couldn't we have hired Carlyle instead?

Instead, we'll repeat the same pattern, bringing in an unqualified francophone ex-player, who'll either have a ridiculous temperament, or a general lack of coaching experience. And he'll be terrible. And the team will suffer.

Guys. Hire the best available candidate, regardless of their ability to speak french?

Bah. Who am I kidding. It's not gonna happen.

Tonight: with Gomez and Diaz out with injuries, the kids will get their chance to shine against the tailspinning Leafs.

Let's drive the final nail into Toronto, boys. Let's salvage some measure of satisfaction out of a lost season.

First Period:

- With the Habs having a losing season, game tickets are plentiful. Lots of Leafs fans in the crowd tonight.

- Spirited start, plenty of hitting, pace is pretty fast. Not bad for two of the East's bottom-feeding teams.

- Gustavsson looking very shaky handling the puck behind his net.

- And with the Leafs netminder caught out of position, Cole buries his 23rd of the year, and reacts with unusual emotion.

- Leafs zone coverage pretty chaotic right now.

- Wow. Not sure if Staibitz has much of a future with the big club, but his fights alone are nearly worth the price of admission. Big tilt there with Brown (split decision).

- Lots of emotion out there tonight. Two frustrated teams in lost seasons taking it out on each other. Great fun to watch.

- End to end action. Can't believe they can sustain this pace for 60 minutes.

- I totally dig the mask Price is wearing tonight - easily the best of his collection.

- Geoffrion making the team play attempting to feed the puck from behind the Leafs' cage to Eller who was tied up by both Toronto defenders. It wasn't the correct play. He could have easily carried the puck in front for a high percentage chance. These are the plays where you hope they learn, and improve.

- Very good first - quite intense, lots of emotion, likely due to the great atmosphere in the Bell Centre. Can't wait for the next 40 minutes.

Second Period:

- Carey Price can't afford to take naps with the faceoff directly to his left. Campoli also in la-la land. Matt Frattin says thank you. Game tied.

- Phil Kessel tests Price to see if Carey is awake with a quick snapper glove said. Price is indeed, alert.

- Gustavsson really seems to like converting the routine into an adventure. No wonder Burke's hair is so white.

- Habs offense grinding to a halt in the 2nd. Betcha the Leafs end up with a lead headed to the 3rd.

- Bourque plays the puck in the neutral zone with his head down, and pays the price.

- Cunneyworth sent out his most defensively challenged line and defense at the same time. Playing with fire.

- With the kids out there, even though it's Toronto, Habs forwards are pretty overmatched. Don't see this ending well.

- Good pressure by Pacioretty draws a trip, and Habs get a chance here on the man advantage, recently ranked as low as 30th, now at 26th against the NHL's 29th ranked PK.

- Wayyyyyyy too much passing. Leafs are giving it away, and we're not taking.

- Gustavsson got lucky laying flat on his back he failed to cover the puck, but Bourque couldn't flip it over and in.

- Superb looking leg save by Gustavsson on a rocket from Subban. Shot probably would have gone wide.

- Leblanc with an insanely stupid and totally unnecessary hold at the Toronto line with only seconds left in the period. Terrible.

- Toronto was the much better team in the 2nd, slightly better team through 40. It's up for grabs, but Toronto needs this game much more badly than the Habs, so expect them to come out storming in the 3rd.

Third Period:

- Routine kill there, thankfully.

- Unusually juicy rebound surrendered by Price from a routine shot.

- All Leafs so far in the 3rd. Here we go (again).

- Nearly at the 6 minute mark, Pacioretty got the Habs their first shot on goal.

- Dave Jackson with a questionable goaltending interference call on Pacioretty.

- Leafs blue line really struggles with what should be routine passing and puck control. It's killing their powerplay opportunities.

- Shots are 32-19 Leafs. Are we gonna steal this?

- The answer is, by the way, almost certainly no unless we can actually generate scoring chances against Gustavsson (we haven't had one this period).

- Weber takes a unwise icing, Habs should call for time.

- They don't, we make a terrible line change trying to get everyone off, and the Leafs take the lead as Grabovski ends his 11 game scoring drought. That one started with Weber, and ended with Cunneyworth.

- We really are the team that cures all that ails the opposition, no? Leafs have won only three times this year trailing after the first (about to make that four), and Grabovski scores his first in a month.

- Komisarek rubs out Campoli along the boards (ought have been called interference). Campoli got his revenge 10 seconds later with a devastating (and legal) open ice hit on Komisarek.

- Subban came within a foot of sending Grabovski back to last Tuesday. If full contact had been made I'm pretty sure he'd still be down.

- Habs still playing like this game is tied. No real sense of urgency.

- Plekanec line turning up the heat. Gustavsson makes a great save off a rebound.

- Cole a silly slash to end any hopes. Leafs were the better team, so the win is deserved.

- Dead carp thrown on the ice. Symbolic sentiment about this year's team in Montreal.

- Why not. Shoddy play by Weber, Grabovski one more. Little salt in the wound. Now it's off to Alberta.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, even anonymously. All I ask is that you behave, and in support of good taste, avoid the use of course language, or express opinions that are just plain silly (racist, sexist, etc.)