Saturday, 18 October 2014

Game Six: Avs vs. Habs

Third Period:

- Decent start by Avs to the period, Habs generally doing a good job preventing high percentage shots. 

- Avs intensifying their push. I'd be tempted to take a timeout if I was Therrien.

- Period now steadying itself as Habs start to grind out possession. Game slowing down significantly, which is just fine from Montreal's perspective.

- Malhatra contines to demonstrate he was an excellent cheap pickup during the summer. Giving the 4th line a nice little offensive boost.

- Really impressive Habs powerplay - again with the intense passing, but shots are also being taken, Pickard doing a nice job keeping his team alive - however barely.

- Price with a ridiculous left pad save on the empty side of the net. He's been quietly excellent tonight, but that save was loud enough to get the Bell Centre buzzing. Outstanding.

Second Period:

- The Avs might have the speed advantage but their talent is too raw to maintain discipline, especially on the transition. Habs ought to catch and pull away tonight.

- So how about that - a powerplay goal. Subban from the line, Pickard handcuffed. 1-1.

- Gilbert is getting alive by the Avs speed, probably his weakest game so far as a Canadien.

- Speaking of, Therrien really should reconsider using him on the PK - at least tonight.

- Horrid neutral zone turnover by the Avs spings Galchenyuk out of the penalty box, who welcomes Pickard to the NHL. 2-1.

- Tinordi pretty much manhandling McLeod in fisticuffs. This is the kind of play that will go a long way towards establishing himself as a regular.

- MacKinnon is pretty much the only player in the NHL that I'd trade P.K. Subban for. MacKinnon's speed and smarts are dazzling.

- Sometimes P.K. Subban does things that leave you at a total loss for words. He's done just that putting the Habs up 3-1. I've never seen a goal like that. Might never again. Just wow.

- Apart from taking some silly penalties, dominative period for the Habs, who've been head above shoulder the much better team since the halfway mark of the first. Avs simply don't have the horses.

First Period:

- So Beaulieu and Weise are the healthy scratches tonight. Calvin Pickard gets his very first NHL start in net for Colorado. Talk about the deep end.

- Tanguay opens it early, after Subban gets caught on a pinch. P.K. oughtta know he can take those risks if Emelin is his partner.

-Terrible zone coverage by Habs so far, yet another terrible start to a game. It's a perplexing pattern. 

- Price keeping it 1-0, but only just. Avs have a frewt chance of extending the lead against such a slat-footed opponent.

- It's astounding to think this MacKinnon kid is only going to get better. The League's next big superstar you'd have to believe.

- This Pickard kid is making a good early impression, including a sparkling breakaway save off Pacioretty.

- O'Reilly with an obvious dive, Desharnais penalized. How the officials can't spot something so obvious is mystifying.

- When he's not almost scoring, Rene Bourque spends an awful lot of time making terrible passes.

- Avs now playing some pretty disorganized hockey, mainly chasing the puck. Shoe's on the other foot- Habs should be scoring right now.

- Habs powerplay would really benefit by winning a faceoff once or twice a year.

- A poor start again by the Habs, but at about the 8 minute mark, they started to overtake their opponent. Just need to solve Pickard, and they should be fine.



Gameday Game Preview:

A lot can happen in the span of a year.

It was just over a year, actually, that Patrick Roy took over the head coaching reigns for the Colorado Avalanche. And man, did they have one heckova start. Through the month of November, Denver put up a League-leading 10 wins in 11 games. Even though their torrid opening season paced cooled down as the season progressed, the Avs still managed to finish 2nd in the tough Western Conference with 113 points.

This season? Well ... things haven't exactly gone to plan so far. Five games in, Colorado has only mustered up a single win. Perhaps even more worrisome for the Avs, they've only scored a piddly 7 goals, which is quite a comedown for a team who had the 4th rated offense in the League last year.

What's gone wrong in the mile high city? The issue probably lay with the moves Colorado made over the summer, which have significantly thinned their roster, especially on offense. The Avs made a splash early in the summer in picking up free agent Jarome Iginla, who is unquestionably one of the finest wingers to every play the game. However, at age 37, it is unrealistic to expect him to continue to score at a 30+ goals per season pace, although playing alongside the incredible Nathan MacKinnon will give his numbers a boost. We'll see.

The Avs next move was their trading of P-A Parenteau to the Canadiens, in exchange for the underproducing, and rarely played Daniel Briere. The move was a bit of a puzzler, since Parenteau was producing the same offensive numbers as Briere, and is 6 years younger to boot. If the early season numbers are any indicator, the Habs won this deal hands down, and that's still not considering the fact the Avs also tossed in a 5th round draft pick to obtain Briere.

The Avs also picked up a free agent centre in Jesse Winchester, who's a cheap and versatile guy, but isn't nearly talented enough to have a good fit with the Avs high octane offense.

So tonight, the Avs head into the Bell Centre hunger, perhaps even a little desperate for a victory against the 4-2 Canadiens, who are coming off their biggest win of the young season, a 6-4 triumph of the Boston Bruins on Thursday night. It's not all roses in Montreal, mind you - the Habs much like last year, are struggling to generate a positive possession game, while their specialty units, in particular their powerplay, has looked for the most part, kinda pretty really bad.

It's always interesting when Patrick Roy comes to town, so it's reasonable to expect a pretty entertaining game tonight. Puck drops at 7:10 EST.

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