Sunday, 10 March 2013

Game Twenty-Six: Habs vs. Panthers

Third Period

- So I've just arrived for the third, and it doesn't look like I've missed much, with the Habs handily ahead 4-0. Great to see Budaj gunning for another shutout. Actually, when was the last time he surrendered a goal? It's been awhile.

- Reading over the gamesheet, wow what a shutdown game by the Habs defense. Just 12 shots surrendered so far? Very nice.

- What's this? Ryder with a goal finally? Assist to boot. He's really been an excellent acquisition, certainly has played very well this road trip, which looks to be a huge success for the Canadiens.

- Panthers offense looks, at least from what I've seen on the 3rd, pretty disorganized. Passing also looks sloppy. Thinking Budaj's had it pretty routine.

- Goodbye shutout, as Bouillon shoots a loose puck at his own net and past Budaj. Tough way to loose the goose egg.

- White line with a pesky shift. I wasn't too crazy about the White scratches, so if there's any upside to the Prust injury (and this is pretty much it) it's that White can count on anger 8-10 starts.

- Panthers making it interesting, Matthais with a wrister that handcuffed Budaj, making him look entirely like the second string goaltender that he is. 4-2.

- Goofy holding call on Versteeg there. Emelin lost his balance trying to rotate backwards to forward. Versteeg's hand had little to so with Emelin's tumble.

- I wonder if a "make up" call against the Habs is on the way?

- Doesn't matter. Subban with a blast, Ryder the redeflect for his 2nd of the game. 5-2.

- Easy win today, Habs sweep the season set in Florida. A very, very successful five game trip, 8 out of 10 points. The Habs closing in on the point where a playoff spot is safely assumed, if we haven't reached that milestone already. Beyond that, the Habs can start preparing themselves for the postseason, where Bergevin can look to fill some needs for the playoff run. The Habs are a contender, so they must prepare as one.

About last night ...

Excellent win last night by the Canadiens, there's really no other way to describe it. The 3rd period was pure mastery, with the offense shifting to a higher gear, while the team defense essentially gave Carey Price 20 minutes of doing nothing other than standing around.

A costly victory, though. By now you've probably heard about the nasty collision Brandon Prust took into the boards after an icing chase. Stupid icing - the League needs to make that an automatic call before somebody gets killed. No word yet about the extent of the injury, but be fully prepared for the Habs to say "upper body injury, out indefinitely". It looked bad.

Tonight the Habs complete their five game road trip in Miami Sunrise. A win tonight will give the team a season sweep in their Florida swings. It'll also give them 8 out of 10 points on the trip, which would be an unqualified success.

Expect the same lineup as what we saw in Tampa, although with Prust out, it'll likely mean that Ryan White will be reinserted, and I'm thinking maybe Peter Budaj will get the start, even though the Habs face a relatively light schedule ahead with only 2 games in 8 days.

Puckdrop is early! 6:10 EST, which for yours truly, runs smack into a scheduling conflict. So likely no first period blogging, I'm hoping to join the action sometime into the second.

Other Stuff From Last Night ...

- Nobody is doing the Habs favors, the Bruins just keep on winning, a shutout over the Flyers yesterday afternoon.

- Islanders continue to be sneaky good. Another win over the "who-knows-if-they-suck?" Washington Capitals. The Isles with that hummin' powerplay, are my pick for a surprise playoff berth.

- Pens kinda blew a big lead over the Leafs, but prevailed in a shootout, 5-4. So Habs just keeping pace with the Pens, and gain only 1 point on Toronto. Stupid extra point OT rule.

- Kings are rollin, rollin, rollin. A pretty easy win last night against the slowly extinguishing Flames. Man, is there gonna be a front office bloodbath in Calgary after this season is done.

- Former powerhouse Detroit continues to chart a course towards not making the playoffs since the first term of the Clinton Administration, losing yesterday to ... holy cow ... Columbus?

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