Saturday, 2 March 2013

Game Twenty-One: Pens vs. Habs

First Period:

- Pens are so offensively deep, the only way the Habs can come away with a victory is by limiting mistakes to zero - which includes staying out of the penalty box. Otherwise we're toast,

- Nice physical start by Ryder, two solid hits so far.

- Pens Vokoun with the error on a soft shot by Kaberle, Prust buries the juicy rebound, and Habs score critical first goal.

- Eller makes a soft giveaway near the crease, Pens really should have tied it. Price seems to be struggling picking up the puck around the net,

- Refs are really letting a lot of easy calls slide so far. This game could turn ugly quickly.

- Habs playing determined two way game, even more so than usual. Pens buzzing around Price but no real stellar chances are being surrendered so far.

- Prust exceptional so far. Involved all over the ice.

- Therrien has to be very please with what he's seen so far. Habs skating very well, playing smart efficient hockey, giving Price clear views, and pushing back against the Pens' powerful forwards.

- Vokoun fighting the puck. Another routine shot results in a rebound. Fortunately for Vokoun, no Habs were around the crease.

- Plekanec the checking assignment on Crosby, lets his guard down for a split second, and is forced to hold him on a semi-break. No margin for error when Crosby is your assignment.

- Fluky bounce off Emelin's skate, Sutter ties the game. One of those goals. Can't do anything but reload.

- Subban needs to choose his shooting lanes a bit more wisely. When you shoot into a scrum of bodies, it isn't going through.

- Habs the edge in the period, a bit more uptempo, really should have the lead, but for that fluke Pens goal. So far, however, so good.

Second Period:

- Subban is doing nothing for this powerplay unit. Trying to force the puck in places it simply won't go.

- Price has been perfect tonight, really. Totally in his zone right now.

- Crosby line all over Habs right now. Scoring for this line seems inevitable.

- Pacioretty puts in the juicy rebound but that goal was all Gallagher. Assist to soft Pens defense. Habs regain the lead.

- Two teams with excellent transition games leads to these bursts of frantic end-to-end action. Fun to watch.

- And there it is. Crosby with magic puck control behind the net, beautiful feed to Kunitz for the game tying goal. Got a feeling that won't be the last tonight for that line.

- Ugh. Matt Cooke of all guys, with a screen shot. A bit fluky in how it eluded Price, and just like that, Pens take the lead.

- All eyes seem to be on Crosby, but it's Kunitz who's the real danger right now.

- I suppose Bergevin didn't sign Armstong for goal scoring ... but Oy ... you gotta cash these golden opportunities in.

- It's all come undone, as Cooke scores his second of the night. The Gorges/Bouillon duo a mini-disaster tonight.

- Bah. Pacioretty somehow didn't cash that into an open net. Credit to Vokoun for staying with it.

- Ryder great positioning, he's going to score eventually.

- Nice deflection by Gionta from point shot, Habs narrow the Pens lead to one. Canadiens powerplay looked quite dangerous most of the two minutes, maybe a corner has been turned for that unit.

- Holy. If that goal counts, that is unreal.

- It's gonna count. Wow. The, goal resulted from a faceoff deep in the Pens zone off a huge unforced error by Brooks Orpik who iced the puck even though he was under no pressure.

- Subban with an unbelievable and brilliant play to come in off the point to tie the game, Galchenyuk with a fast sweep and smart feed right to Subban for a bang-bang goal. The Pens totally dominated the period right up to the point they took a 4-2 lead. But then, incredibly, the Habs totally took control on a dime. Astonishing turn of events. The 3rd is gonna be a humdinger.

Third Period:

- Smokin' pace to start the 3rd. No surprise. Tonight's game was one of the toughest tickets for the entire season. Everyone being richly rewarded.

- Brilliant goal saving reaction by Markov. Price had no idea where that puck was.

- Can they play 4-on the rest of the night? Not sure if I could handle the pace.

- Habs the better team in this period, without question.

- And just like that, Desharnais off yet another Vokoun rebound, and Habs take the lead. Remarkable.

- Vokoun is a rebound machine tonight.

- Pace is still blistering. One of the most entertaining games I've seen in awhile. Easily the best this season.

- Eller line, Emelin all over the place. Crosby line strikes again, and guess who - it's Kunitz.

- Pens all over reeling Habs. Therrien would be served to call for time.

- Emelin now paired with Bouillon.

- Price shell shocked. It's Crosby off the bench. Saw that coming a mile away. Timeout wasn't taken. So ... there ya go.

- Oh wow. Seconds later, Gionta line slapper past a surprised Vokoun. It's a gift and the game tied at 6.

- This game is totally out of control. Goaltenders are shooting range targets.

- Defense has been tossed out the window by both sides. Right now it's just two teams flailing punches, last to score wins.

- Crazy pressure by Desharnais line with Markov and Subban at the line. Couldn't get a shot through on Vokoun. This game needs overtime. It's been too wild not to have some bonus play.

- Overtime it is. I greatly approve.


- Win or lose at the very least, Habs will extend their points streak to 11. That's pretty impressive.

- Oy. Gorges and Subban both break to the passer freeing up Sutter, who all alone beats Price, who hasn't had his best night, on the glove side. Heckuva game, though.

Pregame Preview:

Are we in first place, still? Man, the Bruins just won't lose. Another win today over the cratering Tampa Bay Lightening (is Guy Boucher next on the coaching chopping block?) 3-2, the Bolts blowing a 2-0 lead.

Oh well. Can't fret over stuff that you can't control. Tonight Le Boys have a bona fied challenge on their hands as they take on the Pens, who are going to make one visit to the Bell Centre this year - tonight. That's it.

Habs side - Rene Bourque is on the IR - that concussion looking more and more long term with every passing day. Not good.

Pens side - these guys score - a lot. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz, James Neal ... etc., etc., Carey Price and the most excellent Habs defense will have their hands full. That defense will have to be extra excellent tonight.

Tomas Vokoun, yes, that Tomas Vokoun, will start for the Pens, probably because he's played the Habs at a ridiculous .925 SP over the years. So if it ain't broke, don't go with Marc Andre Fleury, right?

Puck drops 7:15 EST. ENJOY THE GAME.

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