Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Game Eighty: Habs vs. Hawks


- Whatever the result, Habs have demonstrated tonight they are capable of competing against elite teams.

- Ugh. What a way to lose a game in overtime. Budaj batting the puck into his own net. Sigh.


- Gallgher just doesn't look 100%. Total speculation but I strongly believe he's playing injured.

- Hawks nearly convert off a poor giveaway by Bouillon (or course). Betcha if there's a mistake that leads to the first goal, Bouillon will be involved.

- White is back. That's good news. 

- Game is a defensive standstill now. Habs still haven't had a powerplay in the game.

- Man, Beaulieu reminds me so much of a young Matthew Schneider.

- Bournival, who's had a fantastic game battling for pucks, creates the puck turnover to Bourque who does a fine job carrying the zone. Weise cashing in a funky bounce off a Gorges wrister. 1-0.

- Bournival, Bourque and Gionta the Habs best forwards tonight. Also Plekanec. All battling hard.

- Rene Bourque has the major mojo going tonight. If he can bring this game into the first round, it will make this Habs team far more difficult to handle.

- Tinordi at times looks like the most confused player in the rink. Needs to work on his awareness.

- Hawks tie it. Gionta fails to clear the zone, Moron takes advantage with a labeled and unstoppable shot booker side. And here I was heaping all that praise on the captain. He's got to clear that puck.

- Sweet give and go between Vanek and Bouillon, who blasts one through Crawford from 50 feet1. Great shot by Bouillon but Vanek with sweet hands and awareness. Brilliant.

- Habs having trouble playing with the lead. Hawks really turning the screws, Budaj doing all he can to protect the lead. Barely.

- Crawford just robbed Patches from his 40th. Oy.

- Beaulieu has to be far less flippant playing the puck up the boards from his corner. It's creating significant turnovers and scoring chances for the Hawks.

- Habs looking for the dagger but they'd be careful not to open this game up.

- Oy, Bouillon with a hold, more out of exhaustion I suspect. It's a bad penalty to take with just 4 minutes left in the 3rd.

- Budaj get ready cause the wave is coming and it's gonna be heavy

- Bournival and White with a fantastic PK shift. 

- Hossa ties it. Weaver caught out if position. Oy.

- Crawford does it to Pacioretty again. Wide open net with just seconds left. Brilliant feed by Vanek. Oh well.

- Disappointing OT result. That was an excellent road game for the Habs, all undone by last minute Hawks goal. Still, to get at least a point out of Chicago is a good night.


 - Oy boy. Habs Hab lost both Galchenyuk and White to injury in that first period. Therrien must essentially run three lines against this deep Hawks team. Can you say screwed?

- First period shot block totals for the Habs - 14. That's crazy high.

- Very, very tight checking both sides first five minutes. Just two shots (both by Hawks).

- Pacioretty with clear cut break and hooked by Seabrook just as he was about to hook. That ought to have been a penalty or penalty shot.

- Briere has been given some pretty golden setups by his linemates tonight, but has muffed every opportunity.

- Budaj very calm, very good positionally. Making easy saves on tough chances.

- Gallagher really struggling with the command of the puck tonight. Really struggling.

- Game has been relatively mistake free - probably will require one to break this tie.

- Desharnais line has generated two breaks so far - this Hawks defense does have a tendency of sometimes being caught napping.

- Gorges quietly having a very solid return game tonight. Thats good news heading into the first round.

- Nathan Beaulieu jumping up to get a good scoring chance on Crawford. You just know that Therrien will have nothing of that kind of play. Here's hoping the coach won't squeeze the spirit out of Beaulieu's play. 

- Subban does so much to cover for his partner's incompetence - in this instance it's Bouillon (as usual).

- Still scoreless but much better period for the Habs - had far better presence in the neutral zone, and much better possession. This game, if trend continues, might end up a toss up. Good road game against a tough opponent.


- Quite a pace to start this game, seven minutes straight without a whitsle, Crawford tested a couple of times, Budaj also with a couple of nice saves.

- Beaulieu is partnered with a Bouillon, looks like he hasn't missed a beat. Very solid positional play in his own zone.

- Briere with a Bourquesque "almost" off a three-on-one. I'm wondering if it's contagious.

- Habs are collectively wayyyyy to soft off the Hawks transition, not playing aggressive in the neutral zone, and it's creating grade A scoring chances on Budaj, who's doing his best to hold them back. It can't be for much longer, though. 

- Habs are being taken to the shed, Hawks totally outskating and out possessing Montreal on a totally lobsided scale. Canadiens doing a great Leafs inpersonation this period.

- Crazy that the Habs have registered two more shots. It's been so crazy one sided.

- Galchenyuk hit awkwardly along the boards by Hossa, he's left the bench and hasn't returned.

- That said, a pretty decent period for both Bourque and Gionta.

- Scoreless is a major victory for the Habs - they were saved by some fine shit blocking, but still, this team looks way too passive against an undermatched opponent. Canadiens must intensify their neutral zone play in the second or else Chicago will start scoring with great regularity.


- HOO BOY. Ben Bishop. In case you missed it, Bishop went down to injury in the first period against the Leafs last night, with an apparent arm (shoulder? wrist?) injury. He was assisted off the ice, and missed the rest of the game (Leafs lost, they're done for the season, ha ha ha har har ... okay enough about Toronto).

Here's the play:

Word out this afternoon is Bishop will not play for the remainder of the regular season (three games), but has not been ruled out for playing in the first round of the playoffs, which will start in 7 or 8 days from now.

Tampa will be in tough ... really, really tough, against the Habs if Bishop is unable to play either all, or even a part of the first round.


- So the Habs are prepping for the first round by shelving three regulars for tomorrow night's game against Chicago. Carey Price, Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov will not play (and will actually stay in Montreal).

Habs haven't yet announced who'll be called up to sit for Price. Probably Tokarski. 


HEY no messin' around. Guess who was up at the crack of dawn this weekend lining up online for post-season tickets? YEAH ME. Guess who got Section 105 seating for the Tampa series?? YEAH, ME BABY!!

'Course, this puts a small crimp in the plans to bring ya'll live blogging coverage for a good chunk of the first round, since I'll be in the stands having a grand ol' time.

Anyway, enough rubbing it in your faces. Let's talk some Habs. Practice this morning, and maybe ... just maybe ... some good news??


Line 1: Pacioretty/Desharnais/Vanek
Line 2: Galchenyuk/Plekanec/Gallagher
Line 3: Bourque/Eller/Gionta
Line 4: Bournival/Bourque/White


- Markov/Emelin
- Gorges/Subban
- Tinordi/Weaver (YAY).

Guess who's on the 4th line D? Bouillon! Anyway, that front 6 set is just exactly what I'd run with in the post-season (although I'd be fine with flipping Beaulieu and Tinordi).

Anyway ... progress!!!

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