Monday, 13 October 2014

Game Four: Habs vs. Bolts

Second Period:

- Habs First period Fenwick was 43%, which is firmly mired in Leafs land. If the Habs weren't so obsessed about chipping the puck up the boards, when they're aren't busy dumping it in, this team's possession numbers wouldn't be terrible.

- Another horrible Habs powerplay full of aimless passing. Starting to wonder if this is a net effect from losing George Gallant.

- Habs last 35 regular season powerplays (going back to last year), they have scored exactly zero goals. Coaching is the issue. No other way of explaining that.

- Stamkos. Again. P.K. and Markov picked a bad time to take an on-ice nap. 3-1.

- Comedy timeout!! I mean, Habs powerplay!

- Predictably, another zero. Anyway, same issues are starting to creep into the discussion, namely this team's inability to make game play adjustments. It's a reflection on poor strategy, decision making, coaching. Making the big step towards championship legitimacy doesn't  seem realistically until these fundamental issues are addressed.

- Stamkos. Powerplay. Hat trick. Tampa officially drubbing Montreal. Also not one of Carey Price's better nights but that's almost beside the point.

First Period:

- How many people/experts have mentioned how awesome Gilbert has been this season?

- What the heck is Carey Price doing? Gifting Tampa Bay an early goal, apparently.

- Ah another night, another poor start to the first period.

- Habs continue bad patterns of behaviour, banking the puck up the boards at every opportunity. It's destroying this team's zone entries.

- Stamkos, as Tampa makes it simple, driving the net and putting in garbage. Why we can't do this, or even try doing this, is beyond me.

- Well cue the comeback, although it's earlier this time. Tinordi a point shot reflected by Gallager and it's 2-1. A good illustration of why winning draws deep in the opposing song can pay off.

- The few times the Habs carry the puck into the Tampa zone, they generate good scoring opportunities. I mean, com'on guys, do more of this?

- Habs get their first Powerplay. Should be fun watching them find a way of screwing it up.

- Habs spend most of their powerplay passing the puck, doing little else. Different night, same stuff.

- Another terrible start to the first period. Another deficit to overcome. Same old story for this team early in the season. Habs found some legs halfway through the period but for the most part, played another sloppy and indifferent frame. Eventually the luck will run out and this team won't come back. I've got a strong sense tonight is that night.


Pregame Preview:

Well, what a first week it's been.

The Habs, the little team that many experts still couldn't quite come to endorse as a good team (TSN picked them third in their division), will try to start their season 4-0 for the first time since 2001. 

The Habs, which have looked good, but not great in their first three games, are coming off a rather remarkable 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night - Philly confoundingly blowing a 3-0 lead with a mere 12 minutes left in the 3rd period.

The Habs success couinsides with a pretty lacklustre opening week for their fierce rivals in Boston, the Bruins picked (I think wrongly) by most to win their Division this season. Boston lost another game today, and have just one win on their first four games, with only four total goals offense.

While I think Boston is now set for a tumble, I don't think the same can be said about the Tampa Bay Lightening, which has been building itself towards competitiveness by focusing on bundling a strong core of youth. The Lightening, like the Habs, are starting to blossom with promise, and like the Habs, figure to be near or at the top of the divisional for some years to come.

So while it's only the fourth game in an eight two game season, it's important. The Habs and Bolts will be jousting for placement throughout the year, so every head-to-head contest takes on added significance. 

No big roster changes expected for Montreal - Alexei Emelin will sit out another night with an undetermined (unstated) injury, while Carey Price will get the start.

Puck Drops at 7:10 EST.

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