Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Game Six: Habs vs. Sens

HAPPY WEDNESDAY. And thanks to the NHL not being able to get their labour agreements in place, that means we've got yet another hockey game. And then another one on Saturday. And then another one on Sunday. Thank goodness I have no life. But then you probably already figured that part out already, considering I blog every freakin' Habs game.

SO TONIGHT the puck drops at 7:00 p.m. in the arena somewhere way outside of the city it's supposed to represent, and we got Guillaume Latendresse (remember him? .... he was supposed to be the guy that Galchenyuk is now ... sheyah ... I know. You don't remember because it's all something we're trying to forget) and the Sens, who haven't beaten us in the past nine (can that be right?) games. It's true - unless you don't count overtime losses. Then yeah ... they've beaten us. Three times. But still! We've got Ottawa's number, and tonight, we be gunnin' for our fifth straight honest-to-gawd victory. The world's gone crazy, I tells ya.

Anyway, Latendresse has been pretty awful so far, but the Sens do feature the mighty Craig Anderson, who's never won a thing in his life, but is being hailed as this year's sure-bet Vezina winner, just like he was in 2008! 

Soooo ... yeah. Anderson has a bit of a history being a little quick out of the gate, followed by a slow fade. Maybe that fade could get started tonight, ya?

So what else is going on. How could I forget? TSN via the Canadian Press, had a nifty little piece yesterday that somehow qualified as an article, stating that P.K. was getting the cold shoulder from his teammates. Looks like somebody from the CP was hoping to stir the pot with a little vigor. Keep working at it guys! Get them pesky Habs off their game and hope that this is finally the year where Leafs fans have a game to watch past the second week of April. It's gonna happen one of these years guys, don't worry.

Say. I'll bet you're wondering how Scott Gomez, with that spakin' new HUGE contract he signed with the Sharks, is doing, right? I know it's the last question I ask each night and the first thing I think about when I wake up. HOW IS SCOTT DOING?!?

Scott is doing just fine! Okay, so he hasn't scored a goal yet. But ... but ... BUT ... he has an assist! And even more importantly, he's found himself a valuable role for his team. So awesome. Seven hundred thousand dollars a year to sit in a box for somebody else. That. Is. Sweet. YOU GO SCOTT.

Peter Budaj will start in goal tonight for the Habs. Enjoy it Peter, 'cause it's probably only gonna happen five more times the rest of this season.

First Period:

- White went right for Zach Smith, right after Armstrong leveled him. Obviously there's some history between settled.

- As usual, a pretty big segment of the crowd in Ottawa are Habs fans. I'd estimate at least 1/4 (the tickets are more affordable, why not drive the two hour distance?).

- Phillips protesting a pretty clear-cut interference against Cole.

- Well that didn't take long. Pleks scores and Markov, who did a fine job carrying the puck towards the Sens net, just keeps piling up the points. 1-0 Habs.

- Prust and Neil square off in a fight that just wouldn't quit. Gonna be a fun game.

- Budaj gives up juicy rebound from high point shot, and O'Brien tucks the puck past his left skate. Hope you bet over for this one, 'cause I got the feeling there's plenty more to come.

- If not for Desharnais hustling back to cover the slot, O'Brien probably scores his second of the period.

- Budaj kinda just really stole one from Alfredsson there. Habs defense soft and sloppy more than once in the period.

- Emelin has been one of the big unsung contributors to the Canadiens' early season success, but he does tend to struggle adjusting to speedy puck carriers.

- Sens really taking some silly penalties here, Chris Neil, for the 5,000th time, not thinking before he acts.

- Chris Phillips a careless stick to Markov's skate. Take a time Therrien, get your very best out for the 5-3.

- Therrien not listening, Habs 5-3 advantage peters harmlessly away.

- Not wanting to state the obvious, having Subban in the lineup for 2nd line PP unit would be huge benefit. PP definitely not the same when Markov not on the ice.

- Ottawa most definitely toughest opposition Habs have had this year, but Canadiens are holding their own very well. Very close period, fully expect the final to be one goal margin.

Second Period:

- Artstrong doesn't possess much of a shot, probably should have passed off on a clear-cut 2-on-1.

- Desharnais trying to find the sniper in his former self. Still searching.

- Gotta say Budaj doing everything and more for a sparingly played 2nd stringer.

- Ryan White's penalty probably just saved a goal. Weird play there. Oops, never mind, Sens score immediately off the draw. 2-1. White stays in the box.

- This Ottawa powerplay is kinda firing on all cylinders. Habs simply can't find an answer.

- Yup. And there's another. And it's 3-1. And Budaj crashing back to earth.

- Habs have been picking up way too many unsportsmanlike penalties. Roster could do with some anger management sessions.

- Price may play yet. Ottawa now making this a blowout. Habs defense not sure which way to turn. 4-1.

- I think it's safe to say at this point P.K. will be in the lineup Saturday afternoon.

- Therrien really mixing the lines up, trying to get Eller going, trying to get something going.

- Habs started getting their act together last 3 minutes of the 2nd. Otherwise I think we can easily qualify that 20 minutes as a disaster. Can't win 'em all.

Third Period:

- Since this game is pretty much decided, we turn our thoughts to who sits on Saturday. Kaberle? Boullion? Or does Therrien go with seven D, and Eller sits in the pressbox?

- Anderson on Gallagher. Just not happening for the Habs tonight.

- At the very least, Cole has come out of his shell tonight. Playing like a madman right now.

- Prust two glorious chances this period, Anderson finding a way to keep it out.

- At some point, Anderson will return to earth. Tonight was not that night.

- Budaj doesn't quite have the same lateral movement as Price. Okay, it's not even close.

- A game to forget. Habs had their moments, but Anderson was pretty much perfect. Defense was way too soft in the crease, and Eller had yet another forgettable outing - he's struggling badly. Canadiens can provide their response, with Price in net and quite possibly Subban at the line, on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Game Five: Jets vs. Habs

P.K. Subban. There. Said it. Because that's all that Habs fans talk about these days anyway.

But I'll a bit more on P.K. later today. In the meantime, Mr. Galchenyuk won't be returning to the minors for ... the rest of his life. Habs confirmed a few minutes ago that he's staying with the club. Well, duh.

- Players making the team Update: Add Brendan Gallagher to the list. He's staying.

- P.K. Subban update/review: Okay, so in the space in time between when I said I'd post a comment, and about four hours, the Canadiens announced that they had signed P.K. for an astounding low sum of money, spread over two years.

So kudos to Mr. Bergevin for holding steady, and out-lasting his star young defenseman and agent in their eye-blinking contest.

Impressions? Short term its a fantastic deal for the Habs - to have a player of Subban's quality for such a relatively low sum of money will give the team plenty of salary space to work with - at least for the next two years.

Longer-term? I'm not particularly sold on the contract, at least insomuch as it waived the opportunity to get Subban, who clearly loves and wants to play in Montreal, for a long-term deal. The "bridge contract" deal merely delays, if even inflates the inevitable pricier long-term contract.

So instead of perhaps signing Subban to an 8 year deal worth $50-55m, in 2015 Bergevin might be having to dole out a six year deal worth $40-45M. More pressure on the cap, the club ends up losing.

ANYWAY. At least he's back with the club, and will probably start Saturday night.

SO TONIGHT it's the Habs and Jets. The Jets were supposed to be bad, but so far, they've been good! The 'Peg has been led by the red hot Evander Kane and Ondrej Pavalec. Meanwhile, the Habs, who were really supposed to be bad, have been good! Led by the magic-man Andrei Markov (three game winning goals), and four consecutive great starts by Carey Price, and the rookie sensation Galchenyuk, and the strong return of Gionta, and heck, we'll even throw Rene Bourque a bone with some praise for his work ethic, the Habs might be a whole lot more than what we gave 'em credit for.

That said, the schedule to start was pretty easy - and tonight, it starts getting harder. So let's see what this team is really made of, eh?

First Period:

- Lots of hoping that Cole, who's been a little sluggish to start, can light a fire under Eller's skates tonight. Lest we forget, the last time the Jets were in a Montreal, Eller scored four times.

- CW says Weber will be the odd man out once P.K. returns, although there's a pretty good argument that it should be Kaberle. So spots are being fought for tonight and tomorrow in Ottawa.

- Well how 'bout that? Bourque can shoot that puck. Markov piles on the points total. Habs lead 1-0.

- Nice to see Bourque rewarded for the bettered work ethic.

- I sense an improvement. Habs PP on pace for 78 goals this 48 game season. Last year they scored 43 in 82 games.

- The press gallery is musing Pavelec should have stopped Bourque's point shot. I thought it had plenty of mustard, but what do I know?

- Bourque came within two inches of scoring his 2nd.

- And Gallagher scores HIS 2nd courtesy some soft Jets D and a shot that Pavelec really should have stopped. 2-0 Habs.

- Moen biting off a bit more than he could chew with that tassel.

- Four minutes left in the first, Price hasn't remotely been tested so far. Might change as Jets head to the PP.

- First test, blast by Wheeler that Price probably should have blocked. First "iffy" goal surrendered by Carey this season.

- Last week Jets fell behind the Pens 2-0, but hung tough and fought back for a 4-2 win in Pittsburgh. Chronically slow starts don't seem to phase this team.

- What the heck was Price doing there. Gorges sprawls and saves an embarrassing goal.

- First largely controlled by Habs. Seems like they ought to be up by two. Very nearly came out of the period merely tied.

Second Period:

- Lazy hold by Eller. Coaches hate those.

- 2011-12 PK scoring specialist Plekanec rings one off the bar on a break. See if that near miss haunts us later.

- Question quickly answered. End of Eller's penalty Habs in total zone chaos and Jets tie the game. No lead is safe.

- Will Therrien punish Eller for that goal-costing sloppy penalty? Cole line on, Eller isn't.

- Not certain if the Jets' forechecking is that good, or Habs d-zone play is that bad right now. But Habs are definitely on their heels, and coughing up the puck left and right.

- Bourque again comes on-so-close. Really pushing hard for the net.

- Shift by Plekanec line has Habs energized again.

- Safe to say at this point Eller should find a comfortable place on the bench.

- What a beautiful cross-ice pass by Galchenyuk right on the tape of Prust's stick. How'd he miss that wide open net?

- Chinsey tripping call on Galchenyuk. Barely qualified as marginal.

- Jokinen somehow escaped a delay of game after kicking the net off its posts.

- And uh ... Wow. Jokinen scores, and another very iffy goal surrendered by Price. Plekanec's crossbar looming very large now.

- Some erm ... interesting calls being made by the officials. Habs chance to even the score.

- No score, but Markov/Diaz make a fierce combo on the line.

- Cole finally cracks the goal scoring list. There's one more back monkey taken care of.

- At what point is a search party organized for Desharnais? Been more-or-less MIA since game one.

- Near the end of the period, Eller on the ice first time since his penalty

- Third periods haven't been very interesting for Habs fans first four games. That changes tonight.

Third Period:

- Karmatic retribution? Jokinen positively robbed by Price on Jets PP.

- Gionta draws ANOTHER penalty. Uncanny how many that is so far this season.

- Markov, Diaz, Plekanec. Tape, tape, boom. Habs lead 4-3.

- Beaut save by Price off deflection from blue line shot.

- 10 minutes to go. Another tenuous one goal lead. Perhaps it's from all the trauma experienced from last season, but don't think that's quite enough to salt this one away.

- Storyline tonight should include a mention of just how deep Eller is planted in Therrien's doghouse.

- Verrrrry marginal goaltending interference call on Prust, who was attempting to redirect a pass and made contact outside the crease.

- Price really earning his paycheck in the 3rd.

- Prust out of the box gets boarded. In front of the ref. Somehow not called.

- And Prust is sent to the box. Oh wow. Therrien is furious.

- Prust called for a dive? Remarkable. Terrible, terrible officiating.

- If Jets score the crowd may riot.

- Riot adverted. Prust out of the box, joins rush, and is slashed going after loose puck. No call. Somebody's got his number.

- Bourque muffs the clear 2-1, jumps the line too early. Do'h.

- Prust, fittingly, draws crucial penalty with 3 minutes left. Jets in big hole now.

- 36 seconds left, faceoff left of Price. Hold on.

- 24 seconds left, same situation.

- Wow. Post hit from point shot, Habs survive. Last year's team would have found a way of losing a game like that. Funny how much difference a year makes.

- Nice. Three stars announced, and some very lucky fan got Galchenyuk's stick.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Game Four: Devils vs. Habs

Soooooo Martin Brodeur. We meet again one more time. All of those times we've faced off - all of the times we've sent you home in miserable defeat. Like that one time in 2008. And I think one other in 1997. Uh. That's all I got.

Oh well. Game on! The Devils, who are supposed to be terrible this season, haven't lost! Huh? The Habs, who are doing their best to totally ruin their relationship with their star young defenceman, have won two straight!

Something's gotta give.

First Period:

- Ryan White opens the scoring. A productive muscle line is such an enormous offensive boost for this team - I'd go so far to say as the White line goes, so too does this team.

- Price really has been outstanding so far - not a single weak shot has escaped him. At what point does he enter Vezina consideration? It's gonna happen one of these short years.

- Oh wow. Gallagher with his very first NHL off a beautiful cross-ice feed from Galchenyuk. The future is bright. Damn bright.

- Habs pp is currently ranked League 5th, which is about 25 spots better than this point last season. Most are (fairly) giving credit to #79, but I think Gionta also deserves a good portion of praise for the Habs resurgent specialty unit. Seems to have an extra step in his stride, and he's been fearless hovering around the crease.

- And with that extra step, Gionta draws yet another penalty. Habs go back to PP which has looked very sharp so far tonight.

- Diaz, who so far has been an excellent partner with Markov at the line, commits a clumsy turnover on the PP and gets a hook. Can't be perfect, I guess.

- Excellent first period. Could easily be 4-0 if it wasn't for Brodeur. Habs fine play, sparked by aggressive forechecking and pinpoint passing continues.

Second Period:

- Nifty deflection by Elias. Whatareyagonnado? 2-1.

- Devils with the jump so far in this period, and Habs, flat-footed, are getting penalties.

- Probably wayyyy to early to bring this up, but while Gionta turns a few heads, at what point do we start to query Eric Cole? Been harmless so far, shot not nearly as dangerous.

- Given that the kid has scored on the same kind of play, and he was facing Brodeur, Boullion probably should have passed off to Gallagher on that 2-on-1.

- Wretched Habs line change springs Kovalchuk into the open for easy breakaway. Price bails his mates out yet again.

- Gionta is a penalty-drawing machine. It's that extra step, I tells ya.

- Habs first PP looked fantastic. It has since rapidly returned to earth.

- Habs too cautious in that period, Devils had the initiative and were justly rewarded. One goal lead ain't gonna hold for 60 minutes. Habs must find some insurance in the 3rd.

Third Period:

- Oh Prust. You're already a fan favourite, and now a beaut mid air redirection past Brodeur, Galchenyuk *another* point. There's that insurance goal. Now let's play smart.

- Pacioretty's medical misfortune opens the door of redemption for Lars Eller, who seemingly tonight hasn't been able to locate the knob.

- Two errant high sticks second apart puts Devils on 5-3 for two whole minutes. Yikes.

- Gorges ain't no Hal Gill when it comes to shielding those cross crease passes. There goes the insurance goal. 3-2.

- Armstrong looking every bit a Maple Leaf on the PK. Easy zone clearance goes nowhere.

- Every time Galchenyuk carries the puck you sense that something special could happen. Just like the guy who used to wear his number.

- If Habs do hold on to win this, credit their neutral zone dominance tonight for playing a big role.

- Brodeur hasn't been very busy since the first period, but he is making quality saves giving his team a shot of pulling this one out of the fire.

- There it is. Shades of last year rear its ugly head again. Gorges is slow retrieving the puck behind his net, then fails to cover the crease, and Zubrus ties it up. Not a stellar night for the guy who is supposed to be the Habs most dependable defenceman.

- Rene Bourque. On a silver platter. Zero shot on net. Sigh.

- One point in the bag. Really shoulda been two.


- Andrei Markov. What else to say? He's magic. Also very early Norris trophy candidate. Habs win third straight.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Game Three: Habs vs. Caps

Ugh. Sorry hockey fans, I won't have access to the blog until the second period, at least! Apart from that, all we know is Eller is out (again), PK is unsigned (still), and the Caps continue to underwhelm the experts, coming off a thumping at the hands of the Jets (really??) at home. So you just know the Caps will be looking for blood. Oy.

First Period:

- While they didn't score, Habs man advantage looks far more organized and potent than it did at the same point last season.

- Habs really driving the net tonight - another thing they did miserably last year.

- Gionta really looking good - as good as I've ever seen him play in a long time. A healthy, productive captain will make a huge difference in whether this team competes for a playoff spot.

Second Period:

- Wasn't able to watch much, but did catch the Gionta goal - the Caps defense apparently decided to take a mid-period vacation. Once again, the experts may have been giving Washing a bit more credit than deserved - especially if this what their defense is capable (or incapable) of performing.

Third Period:

- A nice cozy four-goal lead heading into the final period. I have nattering on with comparisons to last season, but that's the second game in a row where this team is cruising to the finish line. I think there were all of maybe *two* games all of last year (82 game schedule to boot). Really impressive effort - this team has clearly turfed the Jacques Martin "philosophy" of puck possession in favor of a much more uptempo game that focuses more on forechecking, creating scoring chances via turnover. So far, so good.

- Colby Armstrong, forechecking Hamrlik, creates a turnover and breakaway, just misses with a wrister, but his play is more of the same.

- And that is why we signed Prust.

- Habs PK very sound, relaxed, confident that anything that gets past their blocks will be easily picked up by Price.

- Do'H. Price really deserved that shutout. The team did. It was dominance tonight, as cruising a victory against a quality opponent as we've seen for quite some time. Another one of these, and we might start to think that the Habs are icing a pretty decent team this season.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Game Two: Panthers vs. Habs

So have we forgotten about Saturday night yet? I have. What's Saturday? Okay. So things were a bit erm ... sluggish? Yeah. I like that. So it doesn't count, right?

Lineup changes! Eller, who I guess was playing against the Leafs (?) ... musta blinked and missed his effort, will sit 7 storeys above the Bell Centre ice, whilst Brenden Gallagher gets his first NHL start.

And Alex is here! No "artist" goals tonight, okay? Actually no goals, period, would be even better. THANKS.

First Period:

- Richard Garneau gets a nice little tribute. Oh the many nights of my childhood during all of those glory yearsnwatching him on SRC. RIP.

- Jose Theodore doesn't get the start tonight. Might have something to do with the shelling he took last night in Ottawa.

- Eek. Prust is hurt after giving out a reasonably routine open ice hit. Might have been the hit he took along the boards seconds earlier. Shoulder?

- Meek boos for Kovalev.

- Speaking of Alex, guess who got caught up-ice on a Habs break, springing Plekanec open and a 1-0 Habs lead?

- Pleks on fire his first three shifts, nearly scores again off a tip. Gallagher jumps on the ice for his first NHL. Looks like Mike Keane, no? Anyone remember Keane?

- Habs offence plenty more jump tonight, if the first 10 minutes are any indication. Passing certainly seems to be a bit more organized.

- Bourque pushing hard for the net, draws a holding penalty. This is the kind of play that will help get Bourque redeemed in the eyes of many Habs fans.

- Nice early PP pressure, and Habs draw another. Got some 5-3 action now.

- Desharnais golden setup, can''t bury.


- P.K. totally missing out playing next to and learning how to QB a powerplay. That's Andrei Markov.

- Not sure if it's just the quality of the Floridian opposition, or lack thereof, but Habs forwards so much faster and skilled right now, it's no contest.

- Safe to say Prust injury isn't minor. He hasn't returned. Sigh.

- Panthers might go the entire period without testing Price. It's been that one-sided.

- Really don't know what was wrong with that hit by Gorges. Certainly wasn't interference as the puck was by the hit. Oh well.

- Couple of close call on the PK, but no damage done. Excellent bounce-back period for the Habs.

Second Period:

- Diaz with a lazy hold, and the Panthers go to the PP. Hate these lazy penalties.

- Habs PK also looking much sharper tonight. Again, not sure if it's because Florida's legs are slow from the road trip or ... naw, it's because the Panthers are tired.

- Habs doing their best to let the Panthers off the hook here. Desharnais with another garden variety lazy trip after coughing up the puck. Oy.

- You just saw that one coming. Game totally in hand and then - poof. It's gone.

- Habs register first shot of 2nd just past the 6:00 mark, and it's a harmless one that nearly sneaks in. Critical that the Canadiens re-establish the two goal margin quickly.

- Oh my god. Markov. Where have you been all this time with that laser shot? 3-1 Habs.

- Panthers are falling just a little too easily, if you know what I mean. But the refs are biting. Moen to the box on what was a pretty clear dive.

- Plekanec completely muffs up a clearance on the PK, but Price saves his bacon. One drink owed.

- Have a strange feeling that a few forwards will be doing their best in the 3rd to give Andrei a few chances for the hat.

- Good to see Prust out there! Bad to see him handing out a pretty flagrant slash. Panthers now 5-3 advantage, call for time.

- Big faceoff win there, kills the Moen penalty.

- Habs going to PP. All eyes on Markov.

- Fans screaming for a shot every time puck is on Markov's tape.

- Habs passing tonight has been superb. If they brought this against the Leafs, final score would have been entirely different.

- YES. Galchenyuk gets his very first. What a great moment for a kid who's got one big bright future ahead.

- Bell Centre absolutely thundering from scoring announcement. Can't even begin to imagine the thrill he's feeling this very moment.

- Safe to say Galchenyuk ain't going anywhere after his "5 game tryout."

- Did I forget to mention that Gallagher collected an assist on that goal, his first NHL point? Did anyone notice?

Third Period:

- Okay, I'm going to need some kind of an explanation why the Habs find themselves down for 5 minutes after Gorges took the brutal hit from behind into the boards. Some of the calls tonight have been somewhat off the reality mark.

- Kovalev total non-factor tonight. In its own strange way, that's a bit of a disappointment.

- This Florida PP is just atrocious. And what's this? Another *very* weak interference call, this time on Markov. Getting somewhat silly now.

- Kovalev time now?

- Remember how I just said that the Florida PP is atrocious? It's worse than that.

- Price showing a little flair on the PK, maybe a bit ticked over that Markov call. Habs escape.

- Pacioretty with tons of chances tonight, just can't quite bury it.

- Habs one more PP. Once again, all eyes on Markov for the hat. Will he? LET'S WATCH.

- Oh man, did Andrei ever wind up on the wing. Just missed far side.

- After a strong 1st and 2nd period, Bourque has returned to Earth for the 3rd.

- March to the box continues. Hasn't helped the flow much for this game, although in retrospect, it hasn't exactly been a classic tonight.

- In previous times, Therrien would have been up in arms over a few of the calls made, but tonight he's been very calm and collected. Definitely approve of this Therrien 2.0 - at least the composure part.

- When the Habs D isn't shot blocking everything coming from the point, Price has been there to save the day.

- Very impressive win tonight, although the Panthers really weren't much of an opponent. Good test coming up Thursday night in Washington, who took a really good thumping tonight at the hands of the ... Jets? You just know they're going to take it out on the Habs in less than 48 hours.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Game Number 1: Leafs vs. Habs

Holy crap. Is it October already?? What oh yeah that's right. I forgot. HERE WE GO.

First Period: Who's the guy in net for Toronto? I get the feeling that might be said more than a few times this year.

- Aggressive start White line, gets penalized for the bump, and a goal is waved off. More, please.

- Lazy hook by Cole. Another Leafs PP. Fortunately their man advantage has looked pretty rusty out of the gate.

- Markov looks really sharp. This is good.

- Nice setup by Kessel. Kadri a nicer fake on Price, and the Leafs strike first. Blah.

- Galchenyuk very nearly scores on his very first NHL shot.

- Habs sloppy in their own zone, Leafs are outhustling them so far.

- Prust handles Brown EASILY. Another good sign. More, please.

- Grobovski, meet Gorges. HA.

- Leafs are ALL over the Habs so far. The Habs first line ain't exactly tearing it up.

- Another lackluster shift by the Desharnais line. No offensive spark coming from anywhere - yet.

- Habs taking too many sloppy penalties (another indication of a team that's being outworked). Price keeping his team in this game.

- Prust is gonna be a big fan favorite if he keeps dishing out the body like this.

- Pacioretty goes awkwardly into the boards, was slow skating back to the bench.

- Desharnais with their first decent shift of the night. Habs with first legit pressure in the Leafs' zone.

- Leafs finally get called for a hook. Habs go to their first PP of the season.

- Markov sweet carry and dish to Cole who can't pull the trigger. Markov will automatically make this team much more dangerous with the man advantage. A healthy Markov, that is.

- Habs looked an awful lot like last year's team in that first period. But it's just one period, and to be fair, the Leafs had much more energy. Habs need a response period in the 2nd.

Second Period:

- Prust wins faceoff and slides a perfect pass to Armstrong who backhands one wide. Best Habs chance so far.

- For Eller's sake let's hope he's not saddled with Bourque for the rest of the season.

- Sweet gawd, Markov's passes are a pleasure to watch. Right on the tape.

- Habs very sloppy and sleepy in front of their net, Leafs nearly make it 2-0.

- Armstrong couldn't have won that race even with a three second head start.

- Wow. They call Pleks for a snowshower? Wow.

- Leafs capitalize on a call that should never have been made. 2-0.

- A rare sighting. Bourque goes to the net! Almost scored, too.

- Diaz' transitional passes from his zone are just terrible. The anti-Markov, if you would.

- Kadri with a brutal dirty blindside check on Markov. Ought to be 4 minutes, but he'll only get 2.

- Kaberle ain't no 78. Oy.

- P.K.'s agent rubbing hands with delight as the Habs' PP craters. This is bad, bad, bad.

- Another poor call, this time Desharnais is the victim. I guess the officials also have some lockout rust.

- Dead quiet in Bell Centre. Go figure.

- Eller with a 2-1 break, pass to Prust three feet behind Prust's stride.

- Love that little rush and quick snap shot by Galchenyuk. Gonna be loads of fun to watch this kid play, no matter how bad this team is.

- Second period pretty much a mirror of the first - Leafs outhitting and outskating the Habs. Canadiens' offense looks hopeless, with the Desharnais and Eller line stumbling out of the gate. Habs need to come out storming in 15 minutes.

Third Period:

- Franky Boullion is 35. A few times tonight he's looked more like 45 skating back to cover his zone.

- Kaberle one-man wrecking crew tonight. Just take him off the PP, already.

- Habs PP comes to life 2 seconds after the Leafs' penalty ends.

- Finally Habs offense seems to be trying, pushing the net, getting some chances. Surely a goal is approaching.

- Scouting report on Scrivens is to shoot high glove side? Lost count the number of times Habs wingers have tried that side tonight.

- Mostly Habs first half of the 3rd, but just don't seem to have the horses to finish the play. Must maintain this pressure to break the zero. Then it's anyone's game.

- There we go!! Gionta off the rebound. And we have a game.

- Eller with a seemingly harmless wrister that jussssst about got through Scrivens. Hang on, folks.

- Habs D line has been pinching hard since about the 5 minute mark of this period. That won't be changing until a second goal is scored.

- Habs needed this third period in the second period.

- 8 seconds left, faceoff deep in Leafs zone. Welp, this is it.

- We all know that a hockey game is won in 60 minutes, not 20. Habs will have to bring a lot more energy on Tuesday night to record their first win.

- Mr. Meehan? Urgent call for you on line one. It's Marc Bergevin.