Saturday, 5 October 2013

Game Two: Flyers vs. Habs


Sheesh. Finally. Preview later. Until then, enjoy this GOAL OF THE YEAR:

Okay. That was about as awesome as you'll ever see. Now, for something a little bit different:


A few notes:

- After staying in Montreal to deal with what was called a "personal situation", Brian Gionta has arrived in Calgary, and will play tomorrow night.
- No word out yet on Max Pacioretty's status, he is with team and did practice this morning at the Saddledome (see picture above).
-Non-Habs related news, Tim Thomas! He starts tonight for the Panthers as they take on the Flyers. Good luck Tim! Looking forward this season to hearing more of those crazy, crazy thoughts that bounce around your head.

AND ... in the meantime in case you missed it, Johnathan Quick:

News 'n' Notes:

- Lars Eller has been named the League's 2nd star of the week (behind Alex Ovechkin). Not really a shocker, as Eller's first two games this season were pretty much spectacular. Two goals, three assists, a 90% shooting percentage,  a +10, 66.7% fenwick, +15, 61.5% corsi. He's skyrocketed himself right to the very top of the Habs red line depth chart, supplanting Thomas Plekanec as the team's #1 center. Way to go Lars!

Monday Notes:  

Happy Monday?? Yeah. It's the lamest day of the year. The first Monday after the start of the regular season, making getting out of bed is extra un-fun.

Oh well. It could be worse. You could be Pete Laviolette, coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, who was unceremoniously ashcanned by Philly this morning because Paul Holgrem doesn't know what the heck he's doing. Holgrem blows the Flyers budget this summer luring a high profile centre that they really didn't need - certainly not as much as they needed a qualified defensemen. Or perhaps a goaltender. Oh yeah. They had one of those in Sergei Bobrovsky, whom as you'll recall, Holgrem shipped out of town for three lower draft picks. The Jackets said thank-you-very-much, and Bobrovsky went on to claim the Venzina Trophy.

So take heart Pete, you were on a ship that was headed to the bottom of the swamp better known as the Philadelphia Flyers.

Speaking of bad Monday mornings, I wonder how Zach Borosian is feeling right about now after doing this last night:

About Last Night ... 

So, just how resounding was the Habs win last night? Check this out:

- Corsi (overall): Canadiens 75, Flyers 48
- Fenwick (overall): Canadiens 51, Flyers 36

- Corsi (5v5): Canadiens 45,  Flyers 25
- Fenwick (5v5): Canadiens 31, Flyers 16 (!!)

Pretty much total dominance. Yeah, it was the Flyers are a lousy shooting team who aren't going anywhere except near the bottom of the Conference, but if the Habs continue to dominate puck control and shot quality the way they have the first two games, they're going to be a very difficult team to beat over an 82 game schedule.

Habs Line:

Gallagher +13
Moen +12
Eller +12
Galchenyuk +9>
Briere -3 (sigh)
Desharnais -3 (sigh)

Gallagher +11
Eller +10
Moen +9
Galchenyuk +7
Briere -1
Deharnais -1

The usual suspects, both good and bad. Plekanec line put up some decent numbers, but the big glaring deficiency were both Briere and Desharnais. Their first two games have been AWFUL.

>As always, this doesn't presuppose injuries, or that we're just 120 minutes into the regular season. Still, the first two games have been pretty impressive.

And oh yeah. Lars Eller for the Hart. 


Third Period:

- Should we be shocked that it's Eller who finally puts the Habs up 2-0?

- Danny Briere. Another silly penalty as a result of his inability to keep pace with the play.

- And it's (guess who?) Eller to the PK rescue, working like a devil in the Flyers zone, eventually drawing a Flyers penalty for holding. Brilliant.

- Flyers nabbed for rare faceoff violation penalty, and Habs go to 5-on-3.

- Did Subban fire that puck through the mesh? Wow. He did. 21,000 including yours truly thought that went in.

- There's number three for sure. It all started by a massive drive from Subban that Emery couldn't control, Gallagher finishing it off. Habs in full control.

- At what point do we finally refer to the Habs' number 3 line as its number 1?

- No idea how Price could have seen those high hard shots from the line, much less stop them.

- Bouillon out of position for Flyers rebound, Lecavilier (it figures) and it's 3-1.

- Same linesman (Derek Nansen)who tossed Pkekanec out of the circle for no reason blows an offside call. Not cool.

- Bournival with a sloppy turnover at centre leads to good Flyers chance. The kid won't endear himself to the coaches' heart with more plays like that.

- Bourque hits the goal scoring sheet as icing is applied to tonight's victorious cake.

- Excellent effort by the Habs tonight, they really turned the defensive boat in the right direction after sinking badly Tuesday night. Price was very solid. Eller and his line were again the best on the ice. Briere didn't have much, Desharnais yet again was invisible. Worrying sign for the Habs is just how much they're relaying on the EGG line, who have scored 11 of the Habs 16 offensive points so far. This is supposedly a team with three scoring lines, but right now only one is producing, another is treading water (Plekanec) and the third is pretty much a zero (Desharnais).

Habs now hit the road for a very though western road swing which has been very unkind to this franchise for many, many years. It'll be a stiff, early test to this team's season.

Second Period:

- First period 5-on-5,11-6 Fenwick, 12-9 Corsi both in Habs advantage. That's pretty decent.

- Diaz gets another penalty, "forcing" Therrien to use Subban on the PK, which he executes pretty much perfectly. Why isn't Therrien adjusting beyond what's absolutely necessary?

- That Subban PP cannon shot can only generate three results. A miss, a massive rebound or a goal. Nearly impossible to save and secure.

- If the Flyers come back in this one, Habs may look back at this point of the game as opportunity lost.

- So not getting the way goaltending interference is caled anymore. If you're pushed into the crease and into the netminder, that's a violation? 

- Sans the muffed hold on a routine shot in the first that arguably ought to have been a Flyers goal, Price has quietly registered a very solid game. Rebounds have been kept to a bare minimum.

- 3 shifts in the first, 1 lousy 27 second shift in the second period so far for Bournival. Why bother even calling him up?

- Briere had clear passing lane leading a rush to Desharnais, threw the puck at his feet. These two are oil and water while playing together.

- Love the way the Habs stalwarts on defense aren't afraid to crash the zone to keep the puck and possession alive. Habs have one of the most mobile defenses in the League and they aren't afraid to leverage their advantages.

- So many quality chances for Monteal offense this period, so many near misses. You just know this is gonna bite this on the team's butt. Waiting for that shoe to drop.

- Habs defense has made considerable strides since Tuesday night, but it's the offense that's failed to deliver tonight. The PP continues to struggle.

- Late period PP just a mess. No flow, no possession, one shot on Emery, but little else.

- Bouillon on the man advantage, this must stop. Nearly surrenders a break (again) because of poor judgement and positioning.

- Habs had plenty of chances in that second, Emery giving up a few juicy rebounds, but nothing buried. One of these games the Habs can easily lose even though they've controlled most of the pace, especially in the defensive zone. Habs fans be nervous.

First Period:
- Ray Emery gets the start for Phily.

- The injury bugs has left Therrien with  little option but to shift Prust from the 4th to the 1st line. Wonder if this also means he'll get some PP time.

- Flyers PK unit all went puck chasing to one side of the rink leaving Markov completely unmarked and a clear path in on Emery. Hits the post. 

- Eller line keeps making things happen. Draws a penalty, Habs brief 5-on-3.

- Markov's buzzing. Don't for a second believe he doesn't know he stunk up the joint on Tuesday night. Some pride on the line here.

- Habs really crashing Emery, who's not giving up much, rebound-wise.

- Therrien, just say no to Bouillion on the PP, please??

- Winning faceoffs and driving the net are strategies that invariably pay off. Bourque feeds the puck in front, Gionta drives it home. Flyers thin defense having loads of issues protecting its crease.

- Lecavalier gets the predictable boos on the Philly man advantage. Price with two excellent stops.

- Subban got PK time. That actually happened.

- Briere with a lazy hook, made even worse since he does it whle on Habs PP. And so it goes ...

- Would love to know if Plekanec is the most tossed centre in the NHL. The Flyers then win the faceoff and seemingly score after Price fails to secure a wrist shot. Luckily waved off by the official.

- Not sure if Moen is the solution to the Desharnais/Briere early season drought-in-the making, but he seems to be the guy Therrien is hoping will spark some offense.

- Pretty solid period, Eller looks excellent as usual, good to see Gionta get a goal this early in the year. Deshairnas and Briere mildly less invisible, which isn't saying much. Prust didn't get 3 minutes in the frame, and was getting subbed out by Moen last 5 minutes, which is ... odd? Wonder if something has happened.

Oh yeah, Bournival got a couple of shifts, looked alright. No gaffes, which means mission accomplished. Hoping Therrien will give him more opportunity in the 2nd.

Afternoon Updates:

- Not exactly hot off the wires at this point, but Max Pacioretty is out for tonight with that wrist injury. Which means that it's very likely Ryan White and Michael Bournival will get starts, the later his first ever regular season NHL game.

So with Patches out, I'm guessing Therrien will move Prust up to play alongside Desharnais and Briere, who were both ineffective Tuesday night against the Leafs.

Gameday Game Preview:

Mark Streit, who was pulled out of Swiss League obscurity by a defense-starved Habs team wayyyy back in 2005, returns to his NHL birthplace tonight as the once-good but now kinda crappy Philadelphia Flyers take on the WINLESS Canadiens.

'Course, nobody is going to give two figs about Streit, as all eyes will be focused on Vincient Lecavalier, who spurned Mark Bergevin's advances this summer and signed a grotesque contract with Philly. Given that Vinney had already made about twenty sixteen gazillion dollars while playing in Tampa, the conventional wisdom this summer was that Vinney was focused on picking a team that was championship contending. Heck, some of us thought that Vinney was pining to finally play in front of the home town folk. How silly we were!! Instead, Lecavalier went for the cash, and now he finds himself on a team that has relatively little hope of competing for anything in the foreseeable future.

So boo on Lecavalier. He'll certainly get plenty of those tonight courtesy the Bell Centre attendees.

SO ... tonight, Carey Price in the pipes, For the Flyers it's ... who knows? Mason? Emery? The dressing room attendant? When was the last time this organization had its netminding figured out? I think it was the Reagan Administration. Anyway, the Flyers are in rebuilding mode, and ought to be ripe for the picking. Anything less than a resounding Habs win tonight will be extremely disappointing.

PUCK DROPS at 7:15 or something like that. No fan-lead national anthem tonight as Charles Prévost-Linton returns behind the mic. Oh, well.

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