Monday, 22 April 2013

Game Forty-Six: Habs vs. Devils

First Period:

- Habs forwards getting red carpet access to Brudeur. Jersey dedenders have made a couple of nice desperation blocks.

- Habs and Price withstand first bought of Devis pressure. Canadiens' fourth line looking awfully disorganized and sluggish.

- I dunno what else to conclude, but Markov must be playing hurt. His speed is almost down to Hal Gill proportions.

- Marty Brodeur looking so far like he's gonna stick to the Habs yet one more time. Gah.

- Terrible interference call n Bourque, negligible contact on Brodeur outside the blue paint.

- And the Devils, of course, strike. Elias gets past the uber-slow Markov and poorly positioned Weber for a break. Great shot beats Price.

- Seriously, just keep Markov off the PK. It isn't doing him or the team any favours.

- After a decent start, Habs offence has now gone into hiding.

- Zubrus. Habs Gorges and Diaz, more or less standing around watching. Price out to dry. Horrorshow showing no signs of slowing down.

- Another night, another terrible first period. Why should Price even bother dressing? Nobody else seems to be showing up.

Second Period:

- What to say? Brutal interference call on Prust after he was clearly pushed into Bordeur, and Devils strike on the Habs now totally inept PK. Markov on the ice for that as well.

- Pacioretty, but it doesn't matter. This one is done. Devils will score more than 3 tonight.

- Habs are lambs out there. No physicality, no hitting, no fight. The team's collective mentality is totally dispirited.

- Deshairnas' utter lack of production lately has to be a significant long-term concern to the organization heading into the off-season. He got the contract extension and just fell off the Earth.

- Wow, Brodeur with once in a bloody blue moon bad puck turnover behind his net allows Galchenyuk to feed a wide open Eller, and the Habs suddenly find themselves back in the game. Huh, that.

- If the Habs pull this one out of the fire I'll be fit to be tied. They have 20 minutes to demonstrate some resilience, and secure hosting the first round of the playoffs.

Third Period:

- Prust, again goaltender interference. Insanity. Habs PK ... Oy ... Here we go.

- Devils take a silly holding stick penalty almost immediately into their PP. Whew.

- More Habs defensive breakdowns, more Markov slowness, Kovalchuck free pass to Price, Carey saves the day.

- Brodeur was DOWN. AND. OUT. Plekenec wide open net, stick lifted from behind last possible moment by Zajac. Plekanec looked up in shock. Never saw it coming.

- Listless five minutes by Habs, no real sense of urgency with now 9 minutes left on the clock.

- Not happening. Habs need to shift into another gear but it is not there. Less than 4 minutes left.

- Rene Bourque more than any other Hab, has been in 2012 form since his return.

- Nope. Close but not close enough. Another L, but it had zero to do with Price tonight. Habs just couldn't recover from the bad start, the offensive legs weren't there. Here's hoping we never see Brodeur again, 'cause I've had enough.

Pregame Game Preview:

What more is there to say, really? All the big news about tonight's game WE brought to you yesterday morning. That being Moen is out, Armstrong is in. Budaj is out, Price is in. Drewiske is out, Weber is (back) in. And Therrien is going with a whole new set of defensive combinations for tonight's game against the New Jersey Devils, the start of a three game road trip that will wrap up the Canadiens' 2013 regular season.

Yeah, we know the Habs wrapped up a playoff spot nearly two weeks ago in Buffalo, but the recent bought with SUCKING AT THIS GAME has brought the Canadiens crashing back to the planet's surface, and now, suddenly, the team finds itself feeling resigned not only to finishing 4th in the Conference, but perhaps finishing 5th behind the (ugh) Leafs IF this team doesn't get its act in gear. Like, RIGHT NOW.

Under normal circumstances, facing a team like the Devils, who've won only one of their past 12 games, might be viewed as a respite. But these are not normal circumstances. Not only are the Canadiens playing some pretty dreadful defensive hockey, but they're playing against a team whose starting goaltender has owned the Habs for the past ... oh ... 20 seasons or so. Hometown hero Martin Broduer, in what may very well be his final start against the Canadiens, will aim to complete his legacy of Habs owning ... ownership ... owninginess? ... whatever, one final time. Assuming this is his last season, of course.

So tonight. Price is back in, and I and just about every hockey reporter within 100 miles of the island of Montreal will be watching him verrrrrry closely. I for one didn't think his losing performance against the Caps was terrible - most of Washington's goals were either very tough, or impossible shots. The problem with the loss was the Canadiens defense continues to allow opposing forwards to shoot from high percentage areas on the ice, or, they're failing to clear traffic in front of their net, to allow Price at least a decent glimpse at shots coming from the point. Hopefully, just hopefully, with this new defensive set, we'll see improvements in both areas tonight.

Strap on the belt. Puck drops at 7:10 EST.


Tuesday Gameday Goo:

- As reported here yesterday (yay us!), Therrien officially confirms that Moen is a healthy scratch tonight, Colby Armstrong is in.

- Carey Price will start.

More later.

Monday News 'n' Notes:

Happy Monday! Did you know it was almost -20 this morning in the place that I live? Did you also know that I'm wanting to no longer now be in the place that I live? Sheezus.

- Morning practice this morning, Michel Therrien is (desperately?) trying to find some of his team's defensive mojo, and it looks like he's shaking up the parings. Practicing this morning were Markov/Webber, Subban/Bouillon, Gorges/Diaz.

Have no idea what the strategy is here. Putting the more experienced guys with the less experienced guys? Seems more a dilution approach, but whatever. Something's gotta change, something's gotta give.

- Travis Moen will be a healthy scratch tomorrow night, as Colby Armstrong is expected to return to the lineup. So that's that!

- Lots of speculation amongst the scribes that Therrien will go with Budaj against the Devils. No confirmation from the team yet.

More later.

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