Sunday, 15 December 2013

Game Thirty-Five: Panthers vs. Habs

Florida 2, Montreal 1:


So ... let's add it up. That's 3 ... add 'em ... 3 goals scored over the past 13 periods of hockey, 2 goals if you're only counting regulation time. To say this team is failing to produce would be a inny winnie understatement.

So is it time to push the panic button? Well, truth be told, that time arrived lonnnnnnnnnng ago. This team's fenwick numbers, once the envy of the League (back in early November), has since that time, tumbled down to the bottom third of the NHL. Meanwhile, the offensive PDO, which was carrying the team through lousy possession, has sunk below the 100 mark the past couple of weeks, meaning the luck ain't happenin', meaning when the team isn't skating around chasing pucks (which is now firmly more than 50% of the time), it's failing to convert on its scoring opportunities, which are few and far between because .... we don't have puck possession.

So it's a double whammy. The solution? Be dammed if I know. The team is healthy - everyone who Marc Bergevin wanted in place is there. We bought this, we own this.

Well, actually, there are things that can be done. Over the past couple of days, with the aid of a trusty notebook, and sharpened pencil, I jotted down a list that might just do the trick. So here are the options ... really the only options readily available that might help the team turn the ship in another direction. This list, please note, are remedies with no particular order of importance. Please keep them in mind as you read them off.

So here we go:

1) Fire Michel Therrien.

More later.

Sunday Update

NO LIVE BLOGGING TONIGHT. I'm just that busy. These Sunday early starts just won't work for my schedule, so all I can offer up tonight is a little pregame preview. Have at it.

SO tonight. The Habs riding an enormous one game winning streak after conquering the Islanders last night by a blistering 1-0 margin, will seek to feast some more on the Eastern Conference's bottom feeders. Tonight, it's the Panthers from Florida.

Some lineup goo before we get into the gritty. Peter Budaj, predictably, starts in net for the Habs are playing back to back, and that's their routine. Ryan White will get another start, not because he's rightfully earned them, but because George Parros is out with a concussion, suffered last night during a first shift fight. Okay George, take a rest. You've earned it. See you next summer.

Also sitting tonight is Frankie Bouillon - again. It would appear that in the battle of the defensive back end, Doug Murray has prevailed competing for the Habs 6th D slot.

Okay, back to the opposition at hand. The Panthers. Rebuilding, seemingly they're always rebuilding. This year it's no different - a hapless team going nowhere, subjugated to desperate player acquisitions such as Tim Thomas. That's all you gotta know about how far Florida has fallen.

Like the Islanders last night, the Panthers have just 11 wins in 33 games, and like the Islanders last night, come into the game near the bottom for all the important categories. 29th rated offense, 27th rated defense, the Panthers ought to be, under normal circumstances, easy pickin's for the Habs.

But these are the can't-score Habs - two goals over the last 10 periods of hockey, plus the two minutes of overtime against New York when Max Pacioretty lifted the Canadiens to another offensively-starved victory.

The Habs funk list is long - Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Eller, Plekanec, Bournival, Markov, Subban - are all in the middle of an extended scoring drought, with no apparent end in sight.

With the Canadiens powerplay also struggling to find a scoring touch, there's little to believe that tonight's game won't be a lot like last night's against New York. That is, little punch, and few goals.

Puck drops 6:10 EST. Have fun watching. Thank goodness for myself, I won't be.

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