Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Game Forty-Seven: Habs vs. Jets

First Period:

- A little switcheroo action after warmups, Halpern in, Dumont out.

- Diaz/Bouillon could be the cardiac arresting duo tonight.

- Ryder can score, right? It's been awhile.

- So hitting guys along the board who have the puck is now interference?

- Wow, Price has made four class-A stops so far, the Jets have engines firing full throttle out of the gate.

- Jets fans' attempts to boo Subban is disingenuously adorable.

- Price can't hold 'em off forever, Bouillon flops behind the net and coughs up the puck. Just awful. Weber must be looking on and thinking "why me?" Why him, indeed. 1-0.

- We've seen this pattern before. How soon before it's 2-0?

- Habs first powerplay, puck control and passing was pretty awful. Specialty units are in a total funk.

- 4th line doing their best to create Jets anxiety, Prust gets punished by the overeager officials.

- Jets started very strongly and eventually opened the scoring, but Habs looked reasonably good last half of the period, registering the bulk of scoring chances, limiting Winnipeg to just 4 shots. Call me cautiously optimistic, I guess?

Second Period:

- Okay, spidey senses are telling me big Habs period here. #regrettablepredictions

- The Desharnais line has got to produce eventually. It's just got to.

- Tinordi doing a nice job covering for Bouillon's poor judgement.

- Crowd is quiet, mainly because it's been a Habs-dominated period so far. Need to score though, before the momentum pendulum starts swinging away.

- Bourque gets the monkey off his back, as Habs have taken full control of this game. They must continue to keep pushing, the Jets have shown nothing as a response.

- Shots are 5-1 Habs, the play has been even more one-sided. Canadiens looking a lot like their former selves in this period.

- Oh my god. BAD turnover by Subban to Wheeler, and Price makes an incredible save on the breakaway. Might be his best of the year.

- Bad offside call prevents a good Jets scoring chance. Winnipeg start to gain some traction here.

- Plekanec with his own style of bad decision making, inexplicably dumps the puck in the Jets zone before the red line and generates an icing. Therrien forced to burn his time out.

- Ain't that the way? Jets win the faceoff, control the puck, Habs exhausted, Jets score. All on Plekanec, that one. Terrible unforced mental error costs his team big-time.

Third Period:

- Sometimes funny things happen when you shoot pucks on net - this time it's Gallagher with a 60 footer that completely handcuffs Pavelec, and ties the game. Habs need only to hold the score to claim home ice in the first round.

- Huge opportunity here for the Habs, two man advantage.

- Finally the snakebite of the snakebitten Desharnais finally scores, quite possibly the biggest goal of tHe Habs' year. Habs no longer thinking tie, a win is in sight.

- Now it's all breaking through now, Pacioretty the shot, Pavelec again is handcuffed, and Desharnais cashes it in. 4-2.

- Jets reeling, Habs pouring everything on now, Winnipeg looks dispirited, as realty now setting in that their season is about to end.

- Well, that's a relief. Habs looking like normal again, and have now earned the great luxury of resting everybody for Saturday's now meaningless game against the Leafs. All is calm in Habsland.

Gameday Game Preview:

UPDATE: Weber will sit for Tinordi.

Is this a big game? If you're the Winnipeg Jets, it's more or less the biggest game of the year, in light of the Jets' heartbreaking loss to the Capitals on Tuesday night, which allowed Washington to clinch the South-Least Division. With their final regular season game tonight against the Habs, the Jets are one point back of the New York Rangers, who still have two games remaining.

So you know ... you just know, in front of that rabid Winnipeg arena crowd, that the Jets are going to bring it tonight. While earning a playoff spot is unlikely, Winnipeg is at least facing the mightily struggling Montreal Canadiens, who've won but just one of their past six games, and are desperately trying to recapture their early-season glory, when it appeared they might be the odds-on favorite team to represent the Eastern Conference in this season's playoffs.

Well, those aspirations are pretty much gone now, but the Habs still have plenty to play for. While it's likely we'll finish 4th in the Conference, setting up a dream series against the Leafs, there's still an outside chance that Toronto might catch the Habs for 4th place, and gain home ice advantage. An extra playoff game in Toronto? Who'd want that??

So, tonight!! The Habs, in their latest attempt to rejig their failing defense, will dress and play Jared Tinoridi, who we hope will bolster some of the physicality that's been missing for the past couple of weeks, while taking some of the playing pressure off the shoulders of the vets, including Markov and Gorges. We still don't know at this moment who'll sit out, with Tinordi playing. Weber? Or maybe Therrien will really attempt to shake things up (and create some rest) by scratching Gorges or Markov. But it'll probably be Weber that sits.

In net tonight it'll be the battle of the two P's, Price vs. Pavelec, the former looking much more improved in his previous start against the Devils. Let's hope that improvement is on a bell curve, because for much of this month, the slope has been going downward on the y axis.

Puck drops at 8:10 EST.

Gameday Goo

- Moen out (healthy scratch), Dumont in. Halpren out (healthy scratch). Armstrong in. Price starting. A win clinches 4th place. Hell, even with all the sucktitude, we could still finish first in the Division. Or 5th.

- Watched Tampa/Leafs game last night. Yikes. Why can't THAT Toronto team show up when we play against them? But yeah, looking at the possible matchups, I think I'd like the Leafs for the first round. Or the Rangers.

More later.

Chalkboard Scratching Habs Stat-of-the-Day (Part Deux):

Pre Emelin injury, Habs penalty killing unit was running at 81.1% efficiency. 15th best.

Since Emelin injury ... hooo boy .... 69.2% efficiency. Just about worst in the League.

So what to do?

Apart from triple wrapping Alexei's leg using a tent pole for a splint and sending him back out there, there's nothing else we can do except to hide. Just hide. Come back in September.

Mind-Boggling Habs Horrorshow Stat-of-the-Day:

So last night, I observed out loud (well, actually wrote) during my live blog of the Jersey game that Andrei Markov was hurting this team more than it was helping. And now we have this: Of the even strength goals surrendered by the Habs this season, Markov was on the ice for 47% of them.

No, seriously. Forty - Seven - Per - Cent.

That's ... really ... really ... bad.


The Toronto Maple Leafs, Division winners?

Astoundingly, it's looking like that might happen.

More later, including the callup of Jared Tinordi, assuming I'm able to remove myself from the fetal position.

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