Saturday, 7 December 2013

Game Thirty-One: Sabers vs. Habs

Third Period:

- Don Cherry and P.J. Stock's defense of Thornton and blame of Orpik tonight - words cannot express the insanity of their viewpoints. Anyway, on to the third period.

- This might be Ryan White's best game of the season.

- What. Was. That? Subban fumbles the puck at the blue line, and simply opens the gate wide for Girgensons. Just, awful. 3-2.

- I mean, credit to Girgensons for an outstanding effort, but no way that goal should happen.

- Habs have had solid possession edge in the 3rd, but Buffalo the only team who's scored. There you have it.

- Sabres bench right looks confident, energized. Habs bench looks downtrodden, disinterested? Just sayin'.

- Daniel Briere getting George Parros-like icetime tonight. Barely five minutes so far. Just 1 shift in the 3rd period.

- And Subban for holding the stick. Is Therrien fuming yet?

- Ryan White rewarded with PK time. That kind of time is an indication that Therrien is appreciating his effort.

- Markov hurting. Didn't see the play.

- Gionta simply had to get it on net to score off that 3-on-1. Missed by seven feet.

- Fenwick (closed) and Corsi are both now exactly at 50

- Saw Markov's tumble to the ice, with his left leg bent backward as he fell on it. Not good. But he's back on for another shift.

- You know, these "hold on for dear life the last five minutes of the 3rd" strategy is going to eventually burn the Habs, right?

- Markov having a lot of difficulty out there. Methinks Therrien will just sit him for the night.

- Sarbes buzzing. They want this one. Habs clinging.

- Full credit to Enroth for keeping his team in this game, made some key, tough saves in the 3rd.

- Markov out there for final 30 seconds.

- Habs barely beat the worst team in the League. Not exactly impressed, but like the two victories over New Jersey, we'll take it.

Second Period:

- Just saw some of the footage from Boston's game tonight against Pittsburgh. What a freakin' disgrace. Shawn Thornton is looking at some big-time unpaid vacation.

- Anyway, back to the game - Habs best playing line, their 4th, strike as White with a nice feed to Prust, Sabres D seemingly forgot to leave the dressing room. 1-0.

- Here's the disgraceful Thornton totally losing his mind. Orpik knocked cold before Thornton got down on he knees and started pummeling his face. Just awful.

- Back to the game - Habs taking it to Buffalo early in the period, I'm thinking the troops were read a little bit of the riot act during the first intermission.

- Sabres with 55% Fenwick (closed) through the first 20. That's gonna change a fair amount if this 2nd period continues as is.

- Habs outshooting Sabres 6-2 so far in the period. But Sabres are pushing back a bit here.

- Superb toe save by Price on a wicked backhand by Weber. But Habs can't clear the zone, and Ennis buries a loose puck. Yet another weak defensive shift by Subban/Markov.

- Therrien looks to reclaim some momentum, and sends the White line back out. Go with your best playing trio tonight - who could argue?

- Pacioretty had higher percentage chance with a shot on a 2-on-1 break, chose instead to feed it to the struggling Gallagher.

- Habs powerplay of late has shown signs of having a power shortage. Tonight's first not exactly encouraging.

- Gotta figure, what with Price in net and the Sabres being the opposition, that 3 goals wins this game for the Habs.

- Sabres have actually extended their possession edge in the 2nd.

- No question, the White line as been the most dangerous for the Habs tonight. They gain the zone, and Plekanec, off the bench, fires one off the post. Assists Prust and Moen.

- Sabres have apparently given up the goat. Galchenyuk. Extra, extra pretty assist by Markov. 3-1.

- 2nd period possession almost exactly the same as the 1st (55% closed for Buffalo), but the Sabres with too many of zone breakdowns you seen from awful teams, and the Habs simply buried the puck. One more goal and the Habs can safely entertain a cruise to the finish line.

First Period:

- We'll hand it to Buffalo, they've come out with some decent forechecking, applied zone pressure, Habs more or less in a sleepwalk first 6 minutes.

- Murry having trouble handling Sabres forecheck, results in juicy turnover in front of Price. So not impressed by Canadiens' early effort.

- Halfway through the first, we have 4 total shots on goal. It's a barnburner.

- For being so young, Bournival sure displays an awfully high hockey IQ.

- I was almost jolted awake as the Habs finally muster something resembling pressure in the Sabres' zone.

- This isn't a particularly close checking game, it's just that both teams' offense has been totally inept.

- We need a penalty, powerplay, something ... to get this game moving in some kind of direction.

- Words cannot describe how boring that period was. So I won't bother. 9 shots on goal total, 5 for Buffalo.


Gameday Game Preview:


It's hard to believe. Exactly one week ago today, the Habs stood in the standings with 31 points, 4th place in their Division, 7 points behind the first place Boston Bruins.

Seven. Short. Days. Ago.

What a difference a week makes. Tonight, the Habs will be looking to move to 41 points in the standings, and perhaps, just possibly - 3 points ahead of the Bruins for first place - Boston has their hands full tonight as they're taking on the Penguins.

Look, there's no reason why the Habs should lose tonight. Montreal is the hottest team in the Eastern Conference, loser of just one game in their past 11, going up against what might be the worst team in modern NHL history, the Buffalo Sabres. The poor ol' Sabres, with just 6 wins in 29 games, are on pace for a 40 point season, which ranks up with some of the worst records in League history.

The Sabres are either near or next to last place in every major offensive category. So that's all you need to know. They're terrible. Terrible, terribad, terrible.

So the Habs should have next to no trouble tonight - the only possible way I could envision them somehow blowing these incredibly easy two points is if they take their opposition too lightly, and attempt cash in their chips by taking a stroll through the park.

Doug Murray gets the start tonight, Frankie Bouillon sits. Carey Price for Montreal, and for whatever reason, Buffalo backup Jhonas Enroth gets the call.

Oh yeah. and John Scott can bite my ass.

Puck drops at 7:15 EST.

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