Monday, 4 March 2013

Game Twenty-Three: Habs vs. Islanders

First Period

- Plenty of pre-game fears that there would be a letdown after the big win in Boston, and so far Islanders are skating harder.

- Never mind. Ryder (wasn't he supposed to play the sniper role?) does all the hard work creating the turnover behind the Islanders' goal, feeding the puck to Plekanec for the early lead. Ryder continuing to pay dividends.

- Habs playing a much more cautious style in their own zone. They haven't forgotten how the Islanders utilized their speed advantage to win in their previous contest.

- Have to say, Kaberle continues to impress. He's been excellent positionally - it's almost as though he's been reborn as more of a defensive defenseman.

- Love those two second powerplays. Methinks there was a little embellishment. But who am I to judge, that's Claude Juliun's forte, right?

- Routine period, not especially memorable. Habs clearly the better team, but again, the same was said two weeks ago after they grabbed a 2-0 lead on the Islanders. Avoid the letdowns, and all ought to be fine.

Second Period

- Islanders with their first legit powerplay of the game. This was their key to victory last time. Habs simply had no PK response.

- And here we go. Again. And guess what? It's Moulson. Game tied.

- Islanders propelled by that goal. Price making couple of key saves.

- Habs pushback. Ryder nearly potting his first as a Hab (again).

- Gorges' play of late is a mystery. He's slow, and not blocking nearly the same amount of shots. Purely speculative whether he's playing through something, but something ain't right.

- Habs simply must strive to stay out of the box. So far, they aren't complying.

- Hoo boy. Eller goes for a trip, and Islanders two man advantage.

- And the burn is applied, as Prust loses his man, and Martin is left all alone in front of Price. 2-1.

- Did I mention enough times how important it is the Habs avoid taking penalties?

- Grabner left unchecked in front (Ryder's assignment) and its 3-1. Too many Habs forwards not covering their assignments. New York eating them alive.

- How many players have a harder shot than Subban? When he's close enough and has the full windup, stopping is impossible. 3-2.

- Habs one goal away from 20,000 all time for the franchise. Lots of motivation on that bench, I'd say. Who wouldn't want the bragging rights?

- Neilsen off the bar on the 2-on-1, Price did not look confident.

- Period was a mess for the Habs. Bad penalties, sloppy zone coverage, especially by Habs' forwards. But still, the deficit is only one. Not insurmountable by any stretch.

Third Period

- Gallagher soooo close to being the 20,000 man. Had Nabokov dead to rights, puck slipped off the blade of his stick.

- Newsy Lalonde #1. Larry Robinson #10,000. Brian Gionta #20,000. How's that for the trophy case?

- Anticipating Pacioretty to have his moment here. He's been buzzing in the 3rd.

- First poor rebound control, then a 60 footer by Martinek handcuffs Price. He's fighting the puck. Has been for a week. The Habs find themselves down once more.

- Habs more aggressive puck pursuit here, opening the game up. Just 7 minutes left.

- Shots 30-19 Habs. Not for taking penalties, sloppy letdowns, and not-quite stellar play by Price, Habs should certainly be leading this thing.

- Okay, this is interesting. Play stopped suddenly. Are they looking at a possible goal scored, but unnoticed?

- Nope. Habs called for too many men. Seems only fitting that such a sloppy mistake made late in the third.

- If the Islanders were to somehow qualify for the playoffs, their powerplay alone would make them a dangerous series opponent.

- Dagger applied. Habs simply too many basic errors in their zone tonight.

- Deserved loss tonight, points streak stopped at 11 games. This team has these mysterious letdowns against inferior opponents. This must be corrected ASAP.


Nothing to say much for now, except WATCH THIS AWESOME VIDEO. Yeah, it sums everything up nicely.

About Last Night ...

- Hawks win again, ho-hum. Their point streak now extended to a mind-boggling 28 straight regular season games. Actually, they should have lost yesterday if it wasn't for some clunky puck clearances by the Wings' defense, giving the Hawks all the powerplay time they needed to tie it late in the 3rd, and win in a shootout. Here's hoping these two meet again in springtime.

- Rangers ever-so-slowly seem to turning their sinking ship around, beating the Sabres in a shootout. The game marred by a pathetic check from behind on Brad Richards by Buffalo goon Patrick Kaleta, who'll probably serve 3 or 4 games for the offense. Ought to be more.

- Flames beat the Canucks. Is Vancouver an elite team? I thought they were. Maybe not? The Canucks are like west coast weather, wait 20 minutes, and they'll change. So maybe by this time next week, it'll be clear sailing?

- Sens seem to be taking that inevitable tumble downwards, losing to the Islanders. Sorry guys, you can't defy gravity forever.

- Oilers lose AGAIN. This time to the uninspiring Wild. The big problem for Edmonton? They can't score. Something's going to hit the fan if this team finishes out of the playoffs.

- Speaking of Edmonton, The Leafs traded goonhead Mike Brown to the Oilers just so they could get rid of Mike Brown, I guess.

- Injuries of a significant nature are starting to creep up. Jose Theodore's out for 6 weeks. Carolina just lost Cam Ward for 6-8, and they say they're gonna ride the rest of the season out using their 2nd string and a call-up.  Let's see if they stick with that strategy once they start plummeting down the standings ... oh nevermind, who are we kidding? They play in the Southeast, the NHL's most pathetic Division. They'll probably finish 3rd in the Conference with 38 points.


Oh yeah. Claude Julien? Shut up already.

I have a three word response to your nonsense: FIRST PLACE BABY. And if you want to talk about embellishment, you might want to explain that word to your own players:

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