Friday, 15 February 2013

Game Fourteen: Flyers vs. Habs


HAPPY FRIDAY!! It's a great day to be a Habs fan, ain't it? Going two-fer in Florida, a swing that has for years plagued the Habs losses and broken dreams of playoff hopes. Well no more, 'cause thanks to Carey Prince and Alex freakin' Galchenyuk, who simply willed that puck on Jose Theodore, the Candiens are off to their best season start in a longggggggg time.

So here we sit, some 27% through the season, a single point out of first place, nobody injured (knock on wood), four well balanced lines, a more-or-less balanced defense (we're still waiting for the Subban/Gorges reunion - coach Therrien are you listening?), and Carey Price playing out of his mind.

So life is good in HabsLand. AND IT'S FRIDAY. 

Meh. Let's ruin the day. Here's a clown from Western Siberia Winnipeg who's taken a five length lead for Father of the Year award, assuming the greatest fathers are drooling knuckle-headed psychopaths.

The talk is they're gonna keep this moron away from the hockey rink for the rest of the year. That's a joke. How about the rest of his life?

Oh well, at least this guy wasn't talking about how raping someone just ain't as easy now as it used to be. What to go Philadelphia. You keep up that class act, mkay?

Habs and Flyers game preview tomorrow. Ya'll behave tonight, mkay?


Am I the only one who no longer dreads Philadelphia? Am I alone about this? Because tonight, I'm really looking forward the Habs taking on the Flyers with first place on the line. Yup, that's right. Hard to believe. Whowouldathunk that the this far into the season, Les Boys would be competing for top spot? But then again, there's lots of crazy stuff happening - the New Jersey Devils? Weren't they supposed to finish somewhere near last place? What is up with that? Yeah, yeah .. Brodeur.

Speaking of New Jersey, the road-weary Flyers are coming off a smarting defeat last night, blowing an early lead, and then flip flopping their way to yet another road loss. That's the thing about Philadelphia this year. They can't win on the road. Just two times in nine games. Not good.

I suppose in the Flyers own defense, they have been hit hard by injuries. Scott Hartnell is out indefinitely. Andrej Meszaros is out indefinitely. And now it appears that Kimmo Timonon might not be able to play tonight. That's a lot of important hurt on the Philadelphia blue line, while even healthy wasn't all that great to start with.

So there we have it. The injury-riddled, probably exhausted Philadelphia Flyers. My boots? Not shaking.

But fear not Flyers fans, THERE IS HOPE. Carey Price has been downed with the flu bug, and so Peter Budaj, whose play this season is making a few Habs faithful a little uncomfortable that we might not have capable backup, will get his chance for redemption after a pretty iffy start last week against the Sabres.

That said, the Flyers goaltending situation by contrast would accurately be described as a mess. Ilya Bryzgalov, he who posted a sparkling .666 SP last night against the Devils, has reportedly been benched. Problem is, the Flyers backup Michael Leighton is hurt. So Philadelphia is reaching way down deep in their system and have pulled up Brian Boucher, who hasn't played in a year. Assuming you get the start, good luck, Brian. You'll need it.

Something else to keep an eye out for tonight - Max Pacioretty, whose lack of goal production has now reached "concerning" status, will be grouped tonight with David Desharnais and Brendan Gallagher. It's a shame to break up the steadily producing kid line, but Therrien seems to believe that Gallagher will do the messy work gaining and feeding the puck in hopes that Pacioretty will finally bury something to remove said monkey from back.

Puck drops at 7:15 or so EST. One more time - FOR FIRST PLACE. Enjoy!

First Period:

- Budaj looked like a nervous wreck during the anthem.

- The embellishment call on Prust was absurd. Officials simply keep miscalling these penalties.

- Habs are playing against a goaltender who's barely played the past three seasons. Just pelt the net guys, nothing fancy required.

- Well it's the plan in reverse, but Pacioretty with a nice feed to Gallagher who snaps a stoppable shot past Boucher. 1-zip.

- Bourque's work ethic continues to go beyond the pale, determined chase and check draws a hooking penalty. Habs head to PP.

- Boucher surrendering some juicy rebounds here.

- Subban/Markov on for the entire 2:00 PP. Unusual strategy, not entirely advisable.

- Budaj with a nice glove snag. It's been pretty quiet on his side of the ice so far.

- Cole wastes a stunningly beautiful feed by Galchenyuk.

- This Desharnais/Gallagher/Pacioretty line is giving the Flyers fits.

- Habs PP lacking any coherence.

- Domination. Flyers looked very tired. 2 shots for the whole period. If that trend were to continue, Budaj could sleepwalk to a shutout.

Second Period:

- Safe to say now Therrien is pleased with the line adjustments.

- In the span of about 14 seconds, Flyers doubled their shot total.

- Holy moly, the Desharnais line is an unstoppable force. Gallagher denied his 2nd goal of the night by Boucher's best save of the night.

- Game really settling in right now. Big offensive chances are an exception.

- That was quite an adventurous shift for Subban.

- Habs D goes soft on Philly rush, and Budaj totally overplayed that slot shot by Briere. Flyers suddenly back in the game. 2-1.

- Two delay of game penalties via clumsy clearances have Habs in trouble.

- Not to be outdone, Flyers send 6 on the ice, and are promptly called for it.

- Flyers got their act in gear the last 8 minutes of the 2nd, but it's still a Habs-controlled game right now. Flyers mostly a step behind, aided however, by a relatively sound start by Boucher. Montreal's game to lose.

Third Period:

- Habs successful year coming even though the team has struggled in the faceoff circle. 25-16 through 2 periods tonight, though.

- What a difference a year makes. 12 months ago I'd be a nervous wreck watching this team carry a one goal lead in the third. Right now I'm feeling calmly confident.

- Plekanec with a goal scorers goal there, aided by a flopping Boucher and a slag-footed Flyers defense. 7th for Pleks.

- Hard to believe the Habs are 13 minutes away from going to 9-4-1 while being ranked 30th in the League for 3rd period offense, but here we are. Guess that underscores the importance of a fast start to each winning game.

- Habs completely outworking Flyers right now. Winning virtually every chase.

- Gallagher got his bell rung early in the 3rd. Habs now reporting he won't be coming back tonight.

- And just for fun Pacioretty has gone to the room for treatment. That ain't good.

- Now seemingly used for defensive purposes, Eller now getting extra shifts.

- Oh wow. Great reach back save by Budaj. One of the best this year. Looking like a first stringer past couple of minutes.

- That desperation save pretty much drained what remaining life was left in the Flyers engine.

- Horrible spear/slash by Giroux on Emelin goes uncalled. Emelin getting treatment. Rough game for some key Habs starters.

- Ouch. Now Armstrong takes a puck to the face via Diaz' clearance attempt. Habs need to get out of here quick.

- Rare goal call with the puck not going in the net. Can't remember last time I saw that. Another one for Bourque.

- Routine win for the Habs. They leapfrog ahead of Boston into first place. Two tough tests coming up against the 'Canes and Rangers.

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