Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Game Fifty: Habs vs. Pens

Third Period:


Second Period:

- Breire's passes from behind the net are consistently awful. They appear nearly as blind as they are rushed and as a result, are badly off target. Lots of potential scoring chances are being lost from this.

- Gallagher post. Fleury seemingly having trouble with the high shots tonight.

- 3-1. Jokinen. It all started because Subban makes a poor clearance from behind his net. Price probably also wants that shot back. Pens halfway to 6.

- Past the halfway mark, Leblanc has less than 2:30. Almost tragic, really. This kid isn't getting even a fair shot at proving his worth. 

- As usual Subban the target of marginal interference calls. His nemesis St. Laurent one of tonight's officials.

- Pens PP, Crosby left totally alone, makes it look easy. 4-1. Pens two away from 6.

- Malkin. Markov having one of his worst games, possibly ever. 5-1. The route is officially on.

- So Price mercifully pulled and the Habs are getting trounced. Not like we didn't see this coming but it's still been ugly to watch. Would give an eye tooth or two to know what's going through the mind of Marc Bergevin right now. His team is falling apart.

First Period:

- Hoo boy. Here we go. How ugly will this game be?

- Pens shockingly send out the Crosby line the instant Bouillon and Murray hit the ice.

- And Murray makes a terrible unforced turnover in his zone his first shift. Buckle your seats folks.

- One of the Pens' stratagies tonight is pretty clear: don't let Subban get a shot on net.

- Mouillon on. Pens generate another great scoring chance, of course. Inevitably they're going to finish.

- It begins. Malkin catches Markov flat footed and makes a pretty pass to Jokinen. Price no chance. 1-0.

- Habs are playing like, well, the Habs. Having a wretched time getting the puck out of their zone and the Pens, specifically the Malkin line, are eating them alive. Wouldn't be shocked if Pittsburgh scores 6 or 7 before the night is done.

- Even strength or on the PK, Habs really struggling to clear their zone. That's a formula for disaster against this Pens team.

- 2-0. Murray soft in the slot. Yup.

- Wow. Rene Bourque scores. Pinching myself.

- Decent pushback by Habs last 5 minutes of the period. This game might not be a complete debacle. We'll see.


Good grief. The wheel goes round and round, where it stops, nobody knows.

Many of us covering the team yesterday were sparked with mild excitement, happiness even, when it was witnessed at practice that the Habs were running Frankie Bouillon and Doug Murray as the 7th and 8th defensemen.


So with great anticipation, Habsland began to dream of those practice lines starting tonight in Pittsburgh. P.K. Subban with Andrei Markov. Nathan Beaulieu with Josh Gorges. Raphael Diaz with Alexei Emelin. These aren't perfect lines, but finally ... FINALLY ... common sense has settled in with the braintrust. Bouillon out. Murray out. REJOICE!

Alas, it was not to be.

Michel Therrien just annouced tonight's scratches. Diaz and Emelin.

Bouillon and Murray will start.

So we have arrived. Facing one of the League's most powerful offenses, the Habs will be starting not one, but two of the worst roster defensemen in the NHL. Together. At the same time.

It is totally, inexorably and inexcusably baffling.

Here we go. The Habs, who once enjoyed a huge lead in the standings, in the span of two short weeks facing very beatable opponents, suddenly find themselves in a dogfight for a wild card playoff spot. Oh, how fortunes can turn so dark so quickly.

Tonight, it's gonna be a nightmare.

The Pens, who took a trashing at the hands of the lowly Florida Panthers Monday night, are going to unleash their fury, at the Habs expense. It is not going to be pretty, aided by the inclusion of both Bouillon and Murray.

What is Therrien thinking? The Pens with the 4th rated offense, top rated powerplay, 10th rated 5v5 - we all know the arsenal they have on offense - and matched up against the porous Habs defense, Carey Price is almost certainly looking at a 40+ shot total tonight. Possibly 50+.

This game has the possibility of becoming a circus sideshow of ineptitude for the Canadiens. It has the potential of being a complete and utter washout. It has the potential of being such an extraordinary debacle that finally ... FINALLY ... the scribes following this team will start questioning Mr. Bergevin about his determination to keep Therrien behind the bench.

A devastating loss tonight might end up becoming a magnificent gain for this organization.

I will be cheering for the Penguins. This madness must end.

Puck drops at 7:10 est. The slaughter shall probably commence shortly thereafter.

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