Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Game Seventy-Four: Sabres vs. Habs


- Just a dismal effort to start the 3rd. The Sabres are just doing their thing, Habs going through the motions.

- Bad clearance, delay of game, Habs get their 5th powerplay chance. Only four lousy shots to show for it.

- Habs far too tentative on the man advantage. It's now in their heads.

- Hackett seeing everything. Habs not getting in front, creating anything resembling a screen.

- Myers crashes into Price and then goalpost. In considerable pain. Not good.

- Looks like he took it right in the ribs. Hopefully he's okay.

- Hackett 30 saves, but maybe 2 shots have been difficult. He's seen them all. Every single one.

- Doug Murray. Hook. It had to be him, of course.

- Last 20 shots of this game, 17 have been by the Habs. Still, Hackett has been able to cruise.

- Conacher allllll alone in front of Price, but shot it just wide. Bullet barely dodged.

- And back the other end, Pacioretty taps it past Hackett, and the goosegg is broken. Finally. That's Max' 100th career goal, by the way.

- Now Habs will go into huddle mode. Clinging to this lead. Against the Sabres.

- Habs have outshot Buffalo 24-7 since start of the 2nd period.

- What the heck ... Hodgson sprung on a shorthanded break, and Price has to bail out his defenseman.

- Briere, salts this one away. Finally. Beauty shot, top shelf.

- Well, mission accomplished. Habs take out the Sabres, now sitting with 89 points, 8 games left to play. Two more wins should get them across the line, three more wins will for certain. Not an overly impressive performance tonight against the woefully overmatched Sabers, which means the Canadiens will have to put forth a significantly better effort Thursday night in Detroit.


- Four words you've heard a thousand times before: "Rene Bourque just misses". Wait ... make it a thousand and one.

- Tinordi aggressive push in from the line, nearly scores. Wish Habs would do this more often, especially against weaker opponents.

- Quality of Habs scoring chances (at least) improving in the 2nd, but they still haven't scored. Hackett pretty solid, this Sabres team playing with nothing to lose.

- Vanek's speed and skill draws a hook. Nice.

- Two more tacked on for unsportsman. Habs get 4 minute advantage. Now ... now they must take advantage.

- Therrien elects to put out Markov/Emelin first shift on the man advantage. Because ... ?

- Habs shooting a ton into Sabers legs. Right into the shooting lanes. Powerplay going nowhere.

- Bourque ain't helping much either. Therrien putting out some odd line combos, Weaver on the line? Who knows. Habs come out totally empty.

- The playoffs are three weeks away. Montreal needs to get this specialty unit back on track, and quickly. No way this team has a hope if they're hovering around/below 10% efficiency.

- Price's side of the ice still pretty clean. Habs have owned the period, possession-wise, but haven't really peppered Hackett with a particularly dangerous shot.

- Vanek is a ridiculously potent sniper. Playmaker? Not so much.

- Mostly Habs 2nd period, but sans the late Desharnais shift, Montreal didn't test Hackett with grade-A shots. Habs can pretty much waltz across the playoff finish line with a win tonight, we'll have to see how badly they want that luxury in the 3rd.


- Well, that ain't good. Sabers with most of the play the first 10 minutes, few bright Habs spots so far ... Galchenyuk looking extra fast so far. Otherwise, not much else.

- Carey Price just makes it look so easy, these tough saves are a result of he playing angles so efficiently.

- Vanek is not the type to blast shots for goals. He's a sniper. Ergo, he's useless going wide along the wing.

- Solid shift by the make-do 4th line, Bournival nearly tucking a rebound under Hackett. All season long, this team's fortunes have long been determined by the effectiveness of its 4th line.

- TSN Lucic "just gave him [Emelin] a little extra". So spearing is okay, as long as it's a little extra? Got it.

- Amazing how the  can look so utterly intense one night, 24 hours later, largely indifferent.

- One might say both teams are playing a close checking first period. No. The Sabres are overmatched by inexperience can't finish, the Habs, at least a good portion of the roster, are cruising. This ought to be two very easy points in the bag. Canadiens are making this far more difficult than necessary.

- Ho hum first. Price solid, few brights spots for the Habs: Galchenyuk, Weaver, Plekanec. Everyone else just going through the motions against an opposition that would probably have trouble beating an upper-tier AHL club.


- Welllll ... lookie here. We were all concerned that the injuries to Travis Moen and Dale Weise would mean the return of George Parros, but ... NO!  Habs will insert Ryan White and Lars Eller for 4th line duties tonight, while Jared Tinordi will take Frankie Bouillon's spot. So ... progress?


Alexei Emelin, you keep doing that, and we nay-sayers will just forget about that contract extension. Deal?


- Josh Gorges skated this morning - not much of a revelation, since it's his hand that's mending. Still .. progress.

- No word yet on the prognosis for Travis Moen and Dale Weise. Expecting something later this morning or early afternoon. UPDATE: First word out on Weise, and it's a tendon injury. MRI is being performed today to determine if it's torn. Needless to say, he won't be playing tonight (meaning George Parros will probably have to dig his skates out his basement).

- "I never speared the guy". Uh-huh. If you need any reminder of who's the most classless organization employing the most classless players in the National Hockey League, we give you this:

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