Friday, 31 January 2014

Game Fifty-Five: Bolts vs. Habs


- Therrien starts the big guns, including Subban with man advantage.

- Not a single shot with the man advantage, Habs passing not taking a damn shot. SHOOT THE PUCK.

- Subban damned to end this game in overtime. He knows he hasn't had his best today. He's something else.

- Habs dominate the OT, but it's Gorges that goes the wrong way chasing the puck behind the net, and Thompson left unmarked, ends it. Habs undone by their defensive sloppiness. Again.

Third Period:

- Habs with 44% Fenwick (closed) through 40 minutes. In other words, right back to sucking.

- Dismal Habs PP, Tampa the only scoring chances (2 of them). Canadiens just going through the motions right now.

- Woah. Briere with an incredible top corner shot, after an absolutely beautiful cross zone pass by Gionta. Game, shockingly, is tied.

- Habs defense, in particular Murray, Emelin and Markov, really struggling to get the puck out of their zone.

- Tampa pinning Habs in their zone, generating some pretty good chances and putting lots of traffic in front of Price. 5:30 left.

-  Beaulieu, Handling the puck penalty, what a terrible call to take this late in a tied game.

- Tampa just barely didn't score with the man advantage, largely because of Price holding the fort.

- Rene Bourque did absolutely everything right in carrying the puck for a breakaway, dandy move on Bishop but couldn't finish. That's Rene Bourque for you.

- P.K. has really struggled on the powerplay unit tonight, he's overthinking. Or something.

Second Period:

- Woulda figured given how this game was proceeding that it would have been Murray, not Subban, to screw the pooch. Any consolation, the better team today scores first: 1-0 Bolts.

- It's mystifying how this team, which coming off a very solid victory over the first place Bruins where speed and forechecking was utilized to beat Boston, goes right back to their hapless mucking ways against Tampa today. Makes no sense.

- Habs are dreadful today. No way this ridiculously depleted Tampa lineup should be competing for a win today, but no way the Habs will score of they don't change their strategy. Quickly. Actually, it's probably too late. 

- With the possible exception of the Desharnais line, the Habs strategy today is this: dump, skate back.  Dump, skate back. I think I'm going crazy watching this.

- Bishop picks a fight with Prust, throws the first punch, and Habs end up shorthanded. Okay, then.

- Bell Centre ice conditions today are terrible, puck is bouncing all over the place. Costs Plekanec a great chance on a shorthanded break.

- Habs lay another egg. Bishop can basically cruise to a shutout if things continue as is. Habs haven't mustered a single dangerous shot on goal today. It's been that bad.

First Period:

- So, Bishop will start. Let's hope he's not trying to "play through" an injury. If he is, he's being as foolish as he is reckless to his own health, and his team's future fortunes.

- Excellent anticipation by Beaulieu to intercept Bolts d-zone pass and fire a quality shot on Bishop. Therrien won't like it, but that's the kind of play that could make this team fun to watch again.

- If Prust really wanted to hurt Cote he should have just coughed on him.

- An inspired Doug Murray thinks he's Subban and dashes up ice to join the play. It creates a Tampa breakaway and resultant penalty shot. Just. Terrible.

- Murray appears particularly slow and fumbly today. That could spell big trouble as the game progresses.

- Desharnais line's transition pretty fast today. It's something this team has struggled with this year, largely because of Therrien's ultra conservative approach to clearing the zone (chip/dump)/grind).

- Gudas hitting Prust's numbers, the officials need to call that dangerous nonsense.

- Pacioretty is a monster carrying the puck over the line. He's rarely recognized for this even though he's one of the League's best puck carriers.

- Beaulieu making Murray look better than he actually is today. Illustrates how good the former, how awful the later is.

- Tampa has controlled most of this period missing nearly a quarter of their starting lineup. Yeah ...

- Pretty lacklustre period for the Habs. 4 piddly shots on goal against a depleted Tampa team. Fortunately Price was on his game to keep the game scoreless, otherwise, the Habs output was pretty indefensible. 


- So Ben Bishop is "maybe" status as we type. According to Bishop, he's going to take warm ups, and if he feels okay, he'll start. You know goaltenders and how they think. I'll be shocked if he doesn't play.

- Not confirmed for sure for sure, but Christian Thomas is almost certainly going to get a start today because Michael Bournival is out with the flu. Bleech!

- We kinda sorta haveta run the table this weekend against both Ottawa and Winnipeg, as the schedule from here until the Olympic break does not look particularly appetizing, at least for winning games. So today's game is big! HUGE!


News 'n' notes as we move through the day:

- Yikes, Tampa is one banged-up bunch. It appears that in addition to Bishop (and of course Stamkos), that the Lightening will also be without Val Filppula AND their backup Anders Lindback. Tampa will have to dig deep into their system for netminders if both Bishop and Lindback are out.

- Ben Bishop indicated post-practice that he's feeling discomfort and that he doesn't know if he can start for tomorrow (which, when a player makes that kind of comment, especially a goaltender, it usually means they won't start).

So big game break for the Habs?

- Habs practice lines at Brossard this morning:

Line 1: Bournival/Plekanec/Gionta (Bournival top line! WOOT!)
Line 2: Pacioretty/Desharnais/Gallagher
Line 2: Bourque/Eller/Thomas
Line 4: Moen/Briere/Parros

Soooo ... Briere gets knocked down, as Thomas comes in to replace the ailing(?) Prust. Looks like the kids almost assured a start tomorrow afternoon.

- Ben Bishop, the assumed starter tomorrow for Tampa, was on and off the ice during practice, after sustaining an injury last night as a result from a collision (skate to the head) with teammate Nikita Kucherov. So ... who knows what will happen there?

- Steven Stamkos is with the team in Montreal. Speculation is buzzing that he might, just might, start tomorrow. Tres exciting!!

As mentioned, we'll continue to update through the day if we receive anything worth updating. 

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