Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Game Fifty-Eight: Canucks vs. Habs

Third Period:

- Canucks 53% Corsi 60% Fenwick 5v5 (close) through 40. Don't see that corresponding with what I've witnessed tonight (more even), but still those are troubling figures. Forbidding 3rd period lays ahead.

- Corsi differential: Briere -8, Gorges -9, Subban -9. Ouch.

- Bournival hasn't returned. I'm hoping his injury isn't concussion related. His absence would be a significant loss.

- Ryan White looks like an entirely different player since his return, for all the right reasons.

- Pacioretty don't need no stinkin' penalty shots. Desharnais outstanding puck control to carry to the slot and make a pretty dish for the easy goal. Critical insurance goal for the Habs.

- So Habs generate mounds of momentum taking firm control of the game and then send out too many men. Hoo boy.

- Canucks forced to open up, generating odd man rushes, and Plecks banks one off Edlers skate past Luongo. Stranglehold 4-1 lead.

- Vancouver's biggest issue by far tonight is how casual and sloppy their defense has performed, especially with zone coverage. There are no quick or easy fixes for that kind of poor play. If this is indicative of what's been hampering the Canucks the past month, they'll be in tough for a playoff spot.

- According to ESPN, Pacioretty is the first player in NHL history to have been awarded two penalty shots in the same period. Grats Max! We'll try to forget how those attempts went.

- Edler scores on the powerplay. Doug Murray once again just standing around watching. 4-2.

- Here's Murray with that stellar brick wall PK play.:

- What's really frustrating is that you just know Therrien has bought into the Murray myth of effective crease defense. The reality is, Murray is as slow as he is completely indifferent about using muscle to protect his goaltender. It's inexcusable.

- Habs opening up the gates and letting Price do the hard work. 40+ shots for Vancouver, and counting.

- Canucks not giving up. Can't argue, the shot volume has been pretty one-sided. Empty net now.

- Vancouver blitzing Price. Habs in front ridiculously passive.

- Parches ends it with a hat trick. Imagine if he had converted on the penalty shots. By far the Habs best forward right now. By far.

- Well, it's more of the same old story. Habs outplayed by their opponent, but are carried to victory on the shoulders of the few. Tonight it was Pacioretty and Price who dominated and pushed Montreal to a win. The fundamental challenges this team faces are the same. The metrics are unchanged. This team has surrendered possession, and leans almost totally on its netminding to win games.

Second Period:

- Emelin called for phantom trip on Hansen about 8 feet in front of the official. Canucks with 4 straight minutes of PP going.

- Luongo game saving save on Prust. Going down 3-0 with the man advantage would have been lights out.

- How big was that save? Higgins redeflects a point shot off his leg and it's 2-1. Murray was just looking on, allowing Higgins to do as he pleased.

- Habs first goal has been credited to Pacioretty, FYI.

- Not a good night so far for Gorges. -8 Corsi differential at this point. Subban -7. Meanwhile, Canucks have totally taken control first five minutes, pelting Price from all directions.

- Habs wounded starting to pile up. Emelin, then Murray and now Bournival. Very physical game.

- Richardson dives, officials bite. Again. Torts approves, of course.

- Canucks defense just so slow, and Patches gets a penalty shot.

- Miised by seven feet. Close.

- Oh wow. Another penalty shot for Pacioretty. Incredible. That's gotta be a record.

- Even more disasterous attempt. Oh man, if Habs lose this game, Max won't get any sleep.

- Erik Cole had two penalty shots in a game while in Carolina - back in 2007. However, two shots for the same player in the same period? That might have been the first time that's ever occurred.

-  Pacioretty the first Habs player in history to record two penalty shots in one game. It only took 104 years. Pacioretty almost certainly the first player in NHL history to get two in the same period.

- Well that was an interesting period within an interesting game. Pacioretty's freaky record overshadowing a period that was largely controlled by the Canucks. Price as usual holding the fort, but Habs will need to come out much strong and more aggressively in the 3rd, or Vancouver is likely to even the score.

First Period:

- Picking up from Tuesday night, another very strong 4th line shift. Bournival with a pretty feed to Weise, Luongo makes a tough save off a 7 foot backhander. Just keep playing them, Michel.

- Higgins gives Emelin an elbow to the face near the blue line, draws blood. Nasty hit. 

- David Booth cheap shot artist. Somebody needs to grab him by the neck and set him straight.

- Kessler hauls down Plekanec who was in fine position to receive a pass and slid it past Luongo. Torts mocks the official for not calling a dive.

- Habs quickly take advantage, Gallagher an excellent screen off Subban point shot. We think it's Subban who's scored, 1-0. Puck movement on that PP was excellent.

- 4th line strikes!!! Luongo fumbles the puck, seemingly claiming interference, but White at the right place at the right time to make an easy deposite into the net. 2-0.

- Habs dominating possession in the period. I shall stop my complaints if this patterns remains.

- Most excellent opening 20 minutes - Habs controlling the puck and tempo, transition significantly better, and the net result is a reflective 2 goal lead. Very pleased with what I saw. 

P.M. Update: TRADE!!!! WITH THE KINGS. HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS. The Habs just landed .... [drum roll] ... Robert Czarnik in ... return ... for ... Steve Quailer.

So ... yeah. That happened.

Okay, when people who are actually paid to cover the Canadiens write nonsense like this, you know there's a problem.

The problem being of course, there are far too many in Montreal who write about hockey that haven't the slightest clue how the game is played - either well, or in this instance, poorly.

- No team practice this morning - just an optional skate.

- Non-related Habs news, Martin St. Louis was named to the Olympic team as a replacement for Steven Stamkos. Also, much speculation this morning that the Oilers are going to send Sam Gagne to Los Angeles. Edmonton is basically ripe for the picking, but their needs right now are primarily defensive. We've already given away a piece of that.


Habs practice lines this morning from Brossard:

Line 1: Brière/Plekanec/Gionta
Line 2: Parros/Desharnais/Gallagher (Parros I'm assuming, is filling in for Pacioretty?)
Line 3: Prust/Eller/Bourque
Line 3: Bournival/White/Weise



And just to cheer you up, here's a nice little piece on how the Habs probably got fleeced by shipping Raphael Diaz over to the Canucks.

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