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.

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