Friday, 11 October 2013

Game Five: Habs vs. Canucks

Third Period:

- After 40 minutes, Canucks +16 Corsi, +10 Fenwick.

- Looking for that goal on YouTube. Nothing up - yet ... I think?

- Markov leads Habs icetime, 16:28 so far. I do not approve.

- Price's SP so far: .968. I approve.

- Correctly assessed penalty shot there. But Patches misses.

- See, if I'm given the choice, I'd have take the PP instead of the penalty shot. Even if no goal is scored, it kills 2 minutes, creates momentum.

- Gallagher coming agonizingly close to scoring tonight. Playing like a lion tonight.

- Fine shift by the White line, who haven't been given the playing time tonight they've deserved. 

- MUCH more evenly played period so far, dare I say Habs have had the edge? SOG 5-0 Canadiens. That's pretty solid evidence.

- There was definite interference by Hamhuis there, but Eller should have been given two as well for the flop.

- Subban, Madkov, Plekanec. Oh, that was pretty. PP makes it 3-1.

- Pushback by Canucks here. All thrown away as Daniel Sedin trips up Galchenyuk. Habs look for killing blow on the upcoming powerplay.

- 10 minutes left. 3rd period shots are Montreal 9, Vancouver 0.

- First shot registered on Price. 9 minutes left.

- Gorges and his terrible shot somehow beats Luongo from the line. Killer dagger.

- I guess this confirms earlier suspicions. The Canucks simply were unable to recover from the fluke Eller goal. At that point the game had been all Caucks. Since then, it's been all Habs.

- Weird game - strange win, but we'll take it. I'm confident that it Therrien had been offered four points in advance of this road trip, he would have taken it. So with that in mind, the final stop in Winnipeg is all gravy for the Habs.

Second Period

- It ain't working. Eller, Pacioretty and Briere each with a 22% Fenwick in the first. Therrien must reassemble the Eller-Gallagher-Galchenyuk line RIGHT NOW.

- Guess that's a no to my request. Therrien starts 2nd with Plekanec-Galllagher-Galchenyuk.

- Briere with his first registered shot on goal this season. Yup. This season.

- End to end stuff, which really does the Habs no favours. This team isn't built to win wide open hockey.

- DD just can't quite seem to bury his opportunities when it involves fights for loose pucks off rebounds. I can't see this getting better. Just not strong enough for the NHL.

- Price is just oozing with confidence. He's all over the place. Canucks frustration will be setting in if they don't score soon.

- Holy moly. Carey Price. Been a long time since I've seen this.

- Stas line is going to be ugly for Habs tonight. Vancouver owning everything but the scoreboard.

- Centered by the struggling Plekanec aside, Gallagher is really motering out there. He wants a goal bad. Real bad.

- Canucks now +12 Corsi, +10 Fenwick. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

- Fans are getting a big entertainment bang for their buck tonight. Analysts are cringing.

- Sloppiness finally bites. Diaz misplays zone clearance, can't recover as Daniel connects with Henrick for an easy tap in. Terrible. Terrible.

- Subban getting rattled. He needs to settle down and focus on the game at hand.

- White line gets a rare shift. Therrien basically going with 9 forwards tonight.

- Tinordi. He's young but still, you have to play smarter if you want to solidify a starting position on a big League team.

- Yeah, it's 1-1. But have the distinct feeling this game is about to spiral out of control for the Habs.

- Unbelievable. That might be the flukeyist goal I've ever seen. Eller the last to touch the puck, but that's just ... stunning.

- Canucks still had some buzz on what was left on that PP, but the air has just gone out of the Rogers Center. The game has been turned on its head.

- Bizzare period featuring an incredibly bizarre goal, and the Habs have a totally inexplicable one goal lead after 40 minutes. Well, it is explicable - Carey Price. Otherwise, this game should be 4 or 5-1 Vancouver.

First Period

- Tinordi will start, Beaulieu is a scratch.

- Gall - in - chick. You would have figured that by now the guys at the CBC would be able to pronounce his name. But nope.

- Sweet Jesus that's actually true. Briere has yet to register a shot this season.

- Canucks are kinda all over the Habs right now like greasy paint. 

- Did I hear that right on the CBC play by play? Was Galchenyuk referred to as a Russian?

- Pacioretty crashes and pushes it through Luongo. Very nice. Canucks give up their first powerplay goal of the year. 1-0 Habs.

- Two sensational PK saves by Price. Vancouver isn't his hometown, but it isn't far. Let's see if he's motivated to put on a show tonight.

- I dunno. Galchenyuk and Gallagher just don't seem to gel the same way with Plekanec between than they do with Eller. Chances, yes. But just not as dangerous. At least from what I've seen tonight and a little bit on Thursday night.

- Sloppy giveaway by Tinordi in front of Price, who bails him out. Price has been excellent but fought to find the puck after original save.

- Gall-in-chick with a ridculous setup to Plekanec who can't finish.

- Wow. Carey Price. The show really is on.

- Habs defense continues to play shabby, sloppy puck and body control in its zone. It's only a matter of time before Vancouver strikes.

- Too many blown chances to clear their zone by the Canadiens. Not impressed.

- Stellar play by Price to gift his team with the first period lead. Canucks were the much better team, and figure to eventually start putting up numbers on the scoreboard unless the Habs smarten up in their own zone. Habs fans shouldn't be pleased by what they saw.

- Yup. Advanced stats bear out just how one-sided that period was. 23-14 Corsi, 20-12 Feneick, both in Vancouver's favour. Really shouldn't be 1-0.

Gameday Game Preview:

The Canadiens start the third leg of their four game western Canada road trip tonight, as they take on the Canucks in Vancouver. The Habs are coming off a comfortable win over the Oilers on Thursday night, propelled by another solid night by their young stars.

The Habs enter tonight's game absent their captain, Brian Gianta, who left the team on Friday to return to Montreal to see his son Adam, who has taken ill. Our thoughts are with Brian during what is a very difficult personal time.

With Gionta not in the lineup, the Habs are likely to start Lars Eller along side Daniel Briere and Max Pacioretty, while Thomas Plekance will center Alex Galchenyuk and Brenden Gallagher. Speaking of Gallagher, who looked awfully good on Thursday, the game tonight will mark Gallagher's first NHL game in the city he was raised. So expect a pretty strong contingent from the Gallagher family in the stands tonight, and a particularly energetic performance from the young Habs winger.

Over on the other side, the Canucks had a few changes during the off-season, none bigger than the one man mouth parade that is John Tortorella as their new head coach. Totorella commands a team that while still very competitive and particularly tough to beat at home, are nonetheless a team in decline, especially measured against the 2001 club which many favorited to win a Stanley Cup (of course, the Canucks lost in the finals to the Boston Bruins).

Still, Vancouver, while not nearly as strong as they have been in recent years, are still no pushover, and are led by the twin Sedin sensations, Henrick and Daniel, both of whom currently lead the team in scoring. The Sedin's and the rest of the Canucks roster might be extra-motivated tonight, as Vancouver was soundly beaten by the San Jose Sharks on Thursday when, where Canucks d-man Alex Eller was suspended by the League for three games after delivering a head shot to the Sharks scoring sensation Thomas Hertl.

Puck drops at 10:10 EST. Carey Price starts for the Habs, Roberto Luongo for Vancouver.

Friday News 'n' Notes

Pretty quiet today, the team landed in Vancouver a couple of hours ago. One major announcement - Brian Gionta has returned to Montreal for family-related reasons. I'd been critical of his poor performance since the start of the season - in particular last night against the Oilers, and it never dawned on me that part of the reason for his struggles might be personal.

So in light of what's happened today, I'm taking back those critical observations. Hoping Brian and his family are doing alright.

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