Thursday, 19 December 2013

Game Thirty-Seven: Habs vs. Blues


Is it vacation yet??!?

SPEAKING of vacation, seems as though more than a few guys wearing a C and an H last night were taking one. As noted, I wasn't able to live blog the game, or see (much), but I read over the game notes and stats and ... yup ... looks like the boys took an early one.


Line 1: Gionta/Plekanec/Galchenyuk
Line 2: Pacioretty/Desharnais/Gallagher
Line 3: Bourque/Eller/Brière
Line 4: Moen-Prust-Bournival

Meh. Does it really matter any more? I think Therrien should take the "clean" lineup approach, FOR FUNZ.

Line 1: Pacioretty/Plekanec/Prust ... The PPP line ... because, FUN!
Line 2: Bourque/Briere/Bournival ... taa daa! THE BBB line ... because TWICE AS MUCH FUNZ! Plus Briere can't bitch all night about not playing centere.
Line 3: Gionta/Galchenyuk/Gallagher ... THE GGG line ... because THREE TIMES THE FUNZ!! And Galchenyuk used to play centre, I mean IT MAKES SO MUCH SENSE.
Line 4: Whatever. Like they'd actually get played.

Do it Michel. Do it. You can just mail in the victories. DO IT.

Gameday Game Preview:

I hates doing previews like this. Just hates it. Tonight is gonna suck - big time.

7 loses. That's it. We're nearly half way through the regular season, and the St. Louis Blues have 7 regulation losses. Nobody has fewer in the NHL. That's what we're up against tonight. And as visitors to boot. The Blues have won 13 of the 17 games it's played at the Scott Trade Center. Whatever a scott trade is.

The Blues are good team. A very good team who just so happen to probably have the very best coaching mind behind their bench. They are a team whom I think is probably the strongest candidate to be the Western Conference representative for next spring's championship.

The Blues are also a team with few, if any glamorous superstars. The brightest spot for the Blues this year has to be Alexander Steen, who's having a career year - 22 goals in 33 games. That's already almost equivalent to his career season high for goals scored - he got 24 in 2009-10, but that was done over 68 games. 

After Steen, the names don't get anymore household. David Backes. 30 points. T.J. Oshie, 27 points. Kevin Shattenkirk. 23 points. Noting a trend? The Blues play by commission, they don't overpower you, they just outmaster you with a well-refined gameplan.

The Habs know this first hand, witness the game earlier in the year, when they were playing a pretty decent game against St. Louis, holding a 2-1 third period lead when St. Louis, who were waitin'-in-the-bushes, game out full throttle for the final frame, and the always cunning Ken Hitchcock, even though the Blues were the visitors, started line matching, and finally caught Michel Therrien asleep at the switch, getting the Steen line out against the Habs depleted 4th line. Seconds later, game tied. And then lost in overtime.

Playing the Blues requires much planning and strategy, which I don't think is exactly the Habs greatest coaching strength today. So for the Habs to even entertain thoughts of somehow coming out of this game with 2 points, they'll have to play a classic road game, which means rigorous forechecking, insufferably consciousness D-zone coverage, and a defense that's able to clear the zone and execute an effective transition - something the Habs have done very poorly the past 6 weeks (coinciding with the club's marked tumble down the fenwick standings).

Oh yeah. And somebody other than Max Pacioretty or Alex Galchenyuk has to score goals.

Just like in November, tonight it's Price vs. Halak.

Puck drops at 8:10 EST. I won't be live blogging tonight because of my son's Christmas concert. Priorities!!



 - Daniel Briere ... healthy scratch tonight, to make way for Ryan White.

For those of us Habs fans who still haven't pulled all the hairs from our scalp this season, that's great news!

Gameday preview in a bit. It's-a-gonna-be-ugly.

Lineup Goo:

Expected Blues offensive combos tonight:

Line 1: Schwartz/Steen/Oshie
Line 2: Tarasenko/Berglund/Paajarvi
Line 3: Porter/Roy/Stewart
Line 4: Morrow-/Lapierre/Cracknell

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