Saturday, 22 March 2014

Game Seventy-Two: Habs vs. Leafs


Third Period:

- Bouillon continues to have most icetime of any Habs player, Subban is next nearly two minutes behind. #TherrienHockey

- Kadri ties it on the powerplay, Price losing track of the puck behind his net. Habs consecutive PK streak ends at 26.

- Weaver on that PK - that really doesn't look like his specialty. But Therrien must play him somehow to make up for the weak links on that blue line. Playing Weaver on the PK means Subban can be utilized for other purposes.

- This has not been one of Andrei Markov's better nights. Poor pinches, puck chasing in his zone.

- Leafs clearly outskating and outhustling Habs in the 3rd, and generating scoring chances from high percentage locations.

- Hard to believe one of the two refs didn't raise his arm from that Van Reimsdyk run on Price. As clear cut as penalties come.

- Tic. Tac. Toe. Subban. Markov. Plekanec. Very very pretty. Habs regain lead on a powerplay beaut.

- Six minutes left, Habs are in hard chuck, dump, chase mode right now. Price will invariably have to make one or two more big saves to keep the Leafs at bay.

- Desharnais with a foolish neutral ice pinch seeking an impossible interception, it generates odd-man Leafs chance. 

- Leafs their own worst enemy with too many men. CBC has a meltdown.

- Toronto just couldn't get their act in order, and Habs hold on for the win. Leafs controlled their own playoff destiny two weeks ago, and now they'll have to scramble to hold on to a wildcard. Meanwhile, Habs just about home free for securing their ticket to the playoffs.

Second Period:

- The manner in how Therrien has structured his defensive pairings tonight means the Habs will always have one very weak link on the ice at all times. Murray, Emelin and Bouillon. This means the Leafs are going to get plenty of scoring opportunities, and Price will need to be razor sharp to keep his team ahead.

- Far less chaotic 2nd period, but the Leafs have shown a far more organized transition and rush. Habs are very much on the defensive, I suppose hoping to ride out the opposition momentum. But they can't keep playing this way, Habs need to change the dimension of this game quickly or the Leafs will tie the score. Very soon.

- Excuse the language, but what's the deal with CBC's hardon for Bolland? He's in the lineup and suddenly Toronto are Stanley Cup contenders?

- Nine times out of ten Vanek tucks the puck in on the sharp angle. Puck drifted across the line.

- Who has the most icetime of any player in this game through 34 minutes? Frankie Bouillin. Insanity.

- Price owes his goalposts dinner. Two dingers in this period and counting.

- Tempo of game picks up rapidly - that's more advantageous for the Habs.

- Habs owned the first, Leafs made appropriate adjustments with playing more disciplined positional play in their zone, and owned the 2nd. The Habs have had chronic difficulty competing this season against teams who make mis-game adjustments, if only because the Canadiens are incapable of doing so themselves. Should be a very interesting 3rd.

First Period:

- Okay, I'm fully expecting a big night from Max Pacioretty. Seven games without a goal, you know he does these things in bursts. And right now, the dam must be close to breaking.

- I'm JUST sayin' ... for reminders, Leafs Fenwick still mired in 29th place overall, a lowly 41.9%. How they're even sitting in a wildcard spot as we type, somewhat defies explanation. Oh yeah ... their PDO? Just under 102, 4th in the League. LUCK, LUCK, LUCK.

- Kessel skating against Murray. Blows past him, not even a contest. Habs are going to be victimized by this, the Leafs know darned well how terrible Murray is and will ice their best forwards against him.

- Pacioretty. We totally called that on our Twitter feed that Max would break out tonight. 1-0.

- Bourque. Woah. Reimer totally muffed that wrister. And it's 2-0. The arena is stunned, and the Reimer controversy is now front and centre.

- Weaver/Murray combo are going to be an adventure tonight.

- Pacioretty with a far more difficult wrister glove side but Reimer makes the snag. Don't want him gaining confidence here - he's on the ropes.

- Do'h. Lupul with a rocket. Markov unable to make the easy clear and instead coughs it up deep. 2-1. That Reimer save looking even bigger now.

- Bouillon with an absolutely brutal turnover behind his net, and Bozak cashes in to tie the game. We lamented pregame what a huge folly it was to start both he and Murray the same game, and now it's hurt the Habs directly on the scoreboard.

- Well that didn't last long - Gionta from Bourque to give Habs 3-2 lead. Leafs have been terribly slow and sloppy reacting to the Habs rush this period, and with Reimer chocking the hold, it's really worked to Montreal's advantage.

- Entertaining but very sloppy period of hockey. These are not two well oiled teams going head to head. Habs had clear advantage in that period but silly mistakes by the usual culprits keeps the Leafs in this game. Too bad.


OOOOOOH YAAA. Saturday night. Habs and Leafs. A critical showdown with huge playoff spot implications. Rob Ford smoking crack. WE GOT EVERYTHING GOING 2NIGHT.

So let's run down some notes.

- Jared Tinordi gets scratched. Oh well.
- Doug Murray is in. UGH
- Rene Bourque is in. Wait, who's that?!? Ooooh yeahhhhh ... that guy.

Habs lineup:
Line 1: Pacioretty/Desharnais/Vanek
Line 2: Galchenyuk/Plekanec/Gallagher (um, okay ...)
Line 3: Bourque/Briere/Gionta
Line 4: Moen/Eller/Weise


Oh god. Bouillon AND Murray getting starts, thanks to le Coach.

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