Sunday, 3 February 2013

Game Eight: Sens vs. Habs

Max Pacioretty, who a week ago had a piece of his internal body ripped out by surgeons, and was placed on the injury list with an expected return of 4 weeks, could be in the lineup today.

Yeah, seriously, I know. From nearly having his head torn off his shoulders to this, the guy is an amazing gamer.

More in a bit with a little game preview.

GAME DAY UPDATE: Well, what is there to say, really? Ottawa trounced the Habs on Wednesday night, although that loss came at the end of back-to-back games (excuse) on Ottawa ice (another excuse) with some key players like Price and Pacioretty not on the ice (final excuse). And of course there's Craig Anderson, who hasn't - and this is true, allowed a single goal this season except for the first period.

So what does this tell us? Score early, and hold on for dear life.

If we lose again today, we won't have nearly as many excuses. Like Wednesday, we're playing two game in 24 hours, but unlike Wednesday, we'll be at home with Carey Price between the pipes, and quite possibly/probably, the iron man himself Max Pacioretty back in the lineup.

Who's hot for the Habs? Who isn't? Who's cold? Well Kaberle looked pretty clunky last night in what was otherwise a breeze victory for the Canadiens, so with Pacioretty returning, Therrien may shift back to 6 defensemen, which would likely make Kaberle the odd man out. The coach could opt to sit Raphael Diaz, who struggled with puck control on the Habs powerplay yesterday, and was the only guy with a negative +/- (hard thing to do when you've won 6-1).

That said, if Pacioretty does return, it'll probably be Kaberle.

Will Ryan White get a chance to redeem himself? That'll be an interesting story to keep an eye on. Also, will Therrien continue to reward Lars Eller with more icetime, with Eller coming off what was easily his best game of the season last night against Buffalo?

And will anyone freakin' score on Craig Anderson after the 20 minute mark? I mean, just once?

Let's watch.

First Period:

- Plekanec brushes Anderson, gets goalie interference call. I guess the refs have been getting some communication from the League head office. Silferberg cashes in on the man advantage, and the early year. Blah start.

- Habs really getting rewarded for their new attitude of driving the net. Desharnais ... he was slumping? Already forgotten. Nice deflection from the shot, Patches picks up the assist, which is mighty cool. Game tied.

- Anderson is being defined as a slow starter, but really no way he could have blocked the Desharnais deflection.

- Subban with an ill-advised attempt to deliver a huge body check creates a 2 on 1 break for Ottawa, but Boullion with a nice poke intercepts the pass saves the day. Plays like that are what's going to get Subban into the doghouse. He needs to be smarter about when to go for the big hits.

- Amazing patience and puck control by Habs powerplay, Cole with a great backhand to give Canadiens a 2-1 lead. Habs miles and miles ahead of last year's unit.

- Watching replay of Cole goal, Anderson was wayyy out of position, which bodes well, maybe?

- Diaz stock continuing to drop.

- The reborn Bourque. Fearless in the crease.

- Gallagher and Galchenyuk are a defenseman's nightmare. Handling one bearing down on your goaltender is tough enough, but handling both at the same time?

- Karlsson forechecking Habs defense? Creates 2 on 1 for Canadiens. Surely the Ottawa staff can't let that one slide, can they?

- Canadiens continue to drive the net, continue to create chances, continue to score, and who knows? May even continue to win.

Second Period:

- That boarding call on Gorges ... I'm speechless. Might be the worst penalty call I've ever seen. At the very least it's up there.

- I think officials realized they totally muffed up the Gorges call, and quickly call an even-up against Ottawa. Just guessing.

- Regin with an absolutely brutal board on Desharnais right in front of the official. No call. Inexcusable game management by the officials.

- Why do Habs forwards struggle so much hitting the net with their shot on breakaways?

- Anderson still hasn't allowed a goal this season past the first period. Habs will need to break that astonishing streak if they hope to collect two points.

- Carey Price don't need no stinkin' stick to play this game.

- While Habs have done great job driving the crease, Anderson still getting too many good looks at the shots. Going to need more distractions to push one through.

- Habs forwards perhaps being a little too precise in their attempts to score. Just get one, even if it's ugly.

- Eller gets two for giving a hug? Oy.

- Eller thinks he could beat Anderson with that shot?

- Embellishment? Just brutal officiating today. Just brutal.

- And Turris goes for phantom hook.

- Subban four sparkling chances in the span of 20 seconds. Comes up empty.

- Unreasonable to expect Price to carry this team to a one goal win. Habs will somehow have to solve Anderson at least once in the 3rd period.

Third Period:

- See, that's how you score. Ugly. Create a screen. Sens tie it.

- Woah. Silvferberg for goaltender interference? No way that should have been called. Habs gifted a goal. Wretched officiating continues.

- Ugly guys. Just go ugly. Pad this lead.

- Gary Galley, CBC colour commentator: "I don't know much about Francis Bouillon". This is Bouillon's 13th NHL season. I guess it's because Frankie hasn't played for the Leafs.

- Sens buzzing. No way this 2-1 lead holds.

- Subban is reputedly injured. Not sure how or why. In dressing room.

- Turris set up brilliantly in the slot, misses net. Should have converted. Nonetheless this is why the Sens will score - eventually. The chances they're creating in the period are just too good.

- Bourque did all the right things driving the net, but Anderson was there. Can somebody please just beat this guy once after the first period?

- Subban on the ice. Looks fine. Equipment problem?

- Apparently Subban had a broken skate, which isn't a quick fix. So that's a whew.

- Anderson finally beaten by a shot (Bourque), but not the goalpost. Ugh.

- Sens totally had too many men on the ice, refs didn't pick it up. Shocking.

- 6 minutes left. Will the lead hold? Hard to believe it was 1-1 two minutes into this game.

- Greg Kimmerly who had reffed 872 games, and Brian Pochmara who has reffed 329 NHL games are today's officials, in case you were curious.

- 3 minutes left, Sens will have to seriously gamble now.

- Prust line doing amazing clock killing work.

- Carey Price, just so solid. Habs defense on their heels, but Price doesn't buckle.

- Nail biting finish here.

- Alllllmost there ....

- Great win. Carey Price is the man. This team is so much unlike last year, it's ridiculous. The big bad Bruins next. Can't hardly wait.

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