Saturday, 27 April 2013

Game Forty-Eight: Habs vs. Leafs

First Period:

- Sit-ins sit-outs announced: OUT: Halpern, Weber, Armstrong, Dumont, Drewiske. IN: White, Moen, Prust, Tinordi.

- Looks like Therrien is still looking for that W, by keeping Markov and Prust in (and others). Oh well.

- Methinks Ryan White is playing for his career tonight, at least his career in Montreal.

- Good start for the Leafs even better response by the Habs. Looks like this could be a good one.

- Lupul doesn't like taking clean hits? Boo hoo.

- Habs PK continues to show improved signs of life, but it's still nowhere close to where it was, or where it needs to be for the playoffs.

- Habs have had decent puck control, but it took 11 minutes to register a shot. Both teams feeling each other out in the ring, exchanging jabs, but no real hard blows. Have the feeling that both are being cautious, trying to keep bumps and bruises to a minimum.

- Eller's decision-making not super sharp tonight, pass to your lead Lars, not trailer on a 3-on-1.

- Smaller sized Leafs winning more of the battles for the puck along the boards.

- Unlike Markov to lose his composure and get nailed for a retaliation. Leafs back to the powerplay, Habs playing with fire.

- There you go. Gorges a sloppy attempt to clear the zone, Leafs set, and Kessel fires home. Habs need to stop the stupid and stay out of the box.

- Don't know if Eller meant to do that, but a beauty touch deke beats Reimer off a sweet pass from Gallagher, all started by a turnover by Grabowski following a huge hit by Tinordi. So much great on that goal.

- If Jared Tinordi keeps those hits up, he'll never see Hamilton again. At least in a uniform.

- Pretty even period, liked the Habs puck control, resulting in higher quality chances. If Habs can stay out of the box and keep Kessel in check, I'd reckon their chances are pretty good.

- And that's 11 years and counting since Habs have won in Calgary. Habs dug their own hole way too deep, and 15 minutes of dominating hockey isn't going to cut it. Edmonton now, a tougher test than tonight's. These western swings are hockey hell.

Second Period:

- Habs 4th line very physical tonight, which is great to see. White has been very solid, the few shifts he's been given a chance.

- Still looking for signs of Ryder getting out of his productive funk. Still haven't seen anything - for awhile.

- This Lars Eller, he be on fire tonight - nice draw win, and Markov with a shot that somehow made its way through a tangle of arms and legs to give the Habs the lead. Leafs will need to clamp down on the Eller line or they'll strike again.

- Impressive PK for Habs. More signs the ship is righting itself.

- Habs with lots of mo, Gallagher does his usual freight train impersonation, and the Habs lead by two. Habs on verge of putting this game away. Lots of dominance here.

- Another excellent Habs PK. That's two in a row.

- The Eller line has shone tonight, but it's the White line that's done the hardest work. Therrien will be faced with a tough decision of whether to reinsert Halpren on Tuesday night. Hate to break up something that's working well.

- Bourque with a stupid, stupid slash, and the Leafs get another shot at getting back into this game.

- Not sure if its so much the Leafs powerplay dropping off the cliff, or Habs aggressive and positionally sound PK unit that's to explain this game. Probably a little of each.

- Totally dominative 2nd period for the Canadiens - impressive in just about every category, Leafs look listless and lost ... men vs. boys at this point.

- By my math, Habs can now only face two opponents - either winning the Division and facing the Sens, or finishing 4th and facing Toronto. Have to be honest - would much rather face the Leafs in the first rather than Anderson and Karlsson. So uhhhh ... go Bruins tomorrow night?!?

Third Period:

- Plekanec makes it 4-0, Reimer gets the hook. Since the 11 minute mark of the first period, Habs have outshot the Leafs 23-3.

- Budaj hasn't had much work tonight, but a few of his shots have been reasonably difficult saves. Solid start again for Peter.

- 3rd period was a cruise, this game was a cruise, and unless the Bruins win tomorrow night, the Habs will win the North East Division, a remarkable turnaround year for this organization. Habs end the year on a very high note, and now prepare to host the first round.

Gameday Goo:

Yay. We've reached the end, every game blogged and still in one slightly medicated piece!

I'll bet you Habs fans are wondering who is or isn't going to play in tonight's meaningless (or meaningful?) game against the Leafs. Well wonder no more! I've got the scoop:

Nobody knows until 7 pm eastern. Michel Therrien is all hush hush today.

Here's what we know. Budaj will start, and Tinordi. That's it.

Other reasonable bets for a start are Ryan White - who might get some timeust to fill Brandon Prust's role so he can get some well deserved rest and much needed healing time.

Frankly I'd love to see the following Habs get the night off in rank of necessity:

- Markov
- Prust
- Gorges
- Plekanec
- Gionta
- Price (confirmed)
- Pacioretty

Let some of the Bulldogs take the load for the night. First in the Division is nice, but a better rested roster for Tuesday night is much, much nicer.

More later.

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