Thursday, 5 April 2012

Game Eighty-One: Habs v 'Canes

ONE MORE GAME TO GO. After tonight. That's all that matters. Then the nightmare will be over.

It's a must-lose tonight or we can kiss that 2nd pick lottery slot goodbye.

Kaberle is back in from injury. Emelin is out from injury. So already it's looking positive.


First Period:

- Late to the game. I see I missed almost nothing anyway.

Second Period:

- Habs powerplay right back on form. It's terrible. And Kaberle is back. So the Gauthier hangover continues.

- Blake Geoffrion with pretty much the clinical example of how to do a wraparound. 'Canes defense was pretty much AWOL. They, like Tampa last night, look pretty dispirited.

- Budaj fails to cover the puck and LaRose tucks in his own rebound to tie the game. Budaj continuing to make fundamentals misplays, which may give Habs more pause to reconsider their backup options this summer. Not convinced Budaj's job is safe.

- Muller sending out the Skinner line against our 4th, which has been struggling big-time in the defending zone. Big vulnerability for Habs tonight.

- Ward with a ridiculous save on Desharnais. What can you do?

- Staal nearly tucked one past a totally unsuspecting Budaj whose awareness appears to be somewhere in the clouds.

- Staal is just soooo good - he's everything the Habs desperately need right now for a centre. The way he set up LaRose was a thing of beauty.

- Plekanec with his 10 gazillionth shorthanded breakaway of the season, Ward really pulling out the horseshoes this period.

Third Period:

- Ruutu with another beautiful setup, this time to Harrison who beats Budaj but not the goalpost. Elite players are a joy to watch, regardless of the uniform they wear.

- Spacek is the low guy on the 'Canes blue line totem pole, clocking in barely 6 minutes almost halfway through the third.

- 'Canes all over the Campoli/Kaberle dynamic duo. If this game were actually important I'd be adverting my eyes with those two on the ice.

- Nice pick by Subban. Too bad it was right in front of the referee.

- What an effort by Plekanec on that 2-on-1 shorthanded rush, delivering a perfect pass to Blunden who deflects it just past the post. Plekanec unsung hero for the Habs tonight.

- Carolina the much better team from 2nd period forward. They deserve the two points. Take them. Please?

- That's so Bourque. Any other forward would have taken that puck and pulled away for a break. Instead he slows up, and has the puck easily stripped away from a defender from behind. One of the laziest forwards to wear a Habs uniform in a very long time.

- Uhoh. Spacek takes a careless penalty giving the Habs hapless powerplay a chance to win the game. Not good.

- Oh PK. Well, I suppose the hapless label is earned. At least that takes care of the powerplay (Staal had a good argument for a penalty shot).

- Oh great. Now the 'Canes take another. Habs with 4-on-3 chance.

- Just. Dismal. That might have been the worst I've seen all year.

- Wow. They're calling everything the last three minutes. Habs again get a man advantage. And Cunneyworth actually asks for time?

- Plekanec at the point during a man advantage continues to be a disaster. Why are they going back to this tried and terribly failed strategy?

- Habs are gonna have more 4-on-3 time in OT. Not good.


- Desharnais with some terrible decision-making plays last two shifts.

- Habs specialty teams petty much a disaster tonight.

- If it's a shootout it's an automatic loss, right?


- A win will make it virtually impossible for the Oilers to catch us for 28th. So com'on guys, lose this? You've done it all year long to near perfection, so just one more time? Please???


- Eric Staal. Thank you. The dive for 29 stays alive.

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