Thursday, 9 October 2014

Game Two: Habs vs. Caps


- OT picks? I'll go with Galchenyuk and Ovechkin. 

- Tokarski and Plekanec with game saving plays. Brilliant.

- Does Desharnais get paid for not shooting the puck?

- Dustin's first NHL shootout? Here we go.

- Oh my god. Galchenyuk in the SO.

- Desharnais. See? Shooting means you score.

- Doh. So close. So very close, Dustin.

- Ovie. Nopes.

- Round 6. Gally eeks it through, and Habs get the extra point. Hellova game.

Third Period: 

- Pretty slow and sloppy start for the Habs this period. Hard to figure this team out tonight.

- Orpik just won't stop with the questionable hits - and why should he? He's not being punished for it by the officials.

- Hoo boy. Bourque bumps Holtby, and it costs the Habs a tying goal, which came after some fantastic work by Lars Eller working to win the puck deep in the Caps zone. Oh well.

- Plecks. The man is unstoppable. Great roofer from the high slot and the game is officially tied. As mentioned before, I thought the Caps might have come out too hard in the first and now lo and behold, they're struggling to keep pace on the ice.

- Bourque with a blast that hits the crossbar. Chris Lee calls it a goal (eventually overturned). How Lee stays employed ...

- Anyway, Habs have owned the third much the way the Caps owned the first. Washington basically trying to hold on to a tie.

- Subban misses his check but Emelin saves the day with seconds left. Won't say that very often.

- Very, very good period for the Habs, coming within a fraction of an inch from winning this game. Now to overtime, which this team was definably mediocre last season.

Second Period:

- Looking for Therrien to maybe focus on running only 9 forwards, at least until the Habs start showing signs of offensive life.

- One significant criticism of the Caps tonight - their shot attempts are mainly coming from 40+ feet away from Tokarski, who's made a few very good saves, but has mainly had to handle routine shots.

- Wretched slashing call on Parenteau. The officiating, sadly but not surprisingly, has been very poor.

- Habs currently on pace for two ... count 'em ... two 5v5 shots. For the entire game. Yeah, really.

- Holy cow, Galchenyuk. Incredible moves with the puck, a glimpse of future greatness, we hope.

- Halfway mark, Caps seem to be regressing a bit here, Habs are finding some legs. Perhaps Washington came out of the gate a little too hard?

- Remember how Eller rocketed out of the starting line last year? Yeah ... those were the days ...

- Orpik has delivered at least three dirty hits tonight, and the Habs are taking matters into their own hands, since the refs don't appear capable of doing it.

- Prust gets penalized for dealing with Orpik, or at least trying to. Caps get an undeserved powerplay.

First Period:

- Couple of good Saskatchewan boys between both sets of pipes tonight. Awesomeness.

- Emelin with Sunbban. How long can this possibly last?

- Eller takes a bad penalty for hook/trip. And .... drink.

- Habs PK looks strong again this season, sans Gorges. Speedy checkers are helping.

- Terrible, terrible turnover by Subban makes it 1-0. When he's great, he's great. But when he muffs it up ...

- Canadiens are uh ... disorganized in their own zone. As in, really, really disorganized.

- Nice pass and shot blocking by Weaver, Habs kill another penalty.

- 5 minutes left in the period, Habs still haven't registered a shot on goal. To say they've been bad would be very generous. To say they're lucky to be only down a goal would be a vast understatement.

- Subban called for a hook after an absurd dive by Ovie. Terrible officiating by guess who - Chris Lee. How is this guy still employed?

- About as bad a period as you'll ever see this Habs team play. Totally outskated through much of the frame, the first shot coming with barely more than 2 minutes left in the period, 15-2 total. Dustin Tokarski the only real bright spot in the period, at least giving his team the opportunity of somehow salvaging what is current a disaster. Would love to be a fly in the Habs dressing room during the first intermission.


- Moen in, Bournival out.
- Prust in, Weise out.

As you were.



Yah baby, what a way to kick off game one of the 2014-15 season - breaking the tiny little hearts of Leafs fans right in their own backyard, with a delicate twist of a heartbreaking knife - the winning goal scored at the 19:17 mark by the Maurice Richard Trophy leader Thomas Turtlepleks Plekanec. So sweet. So very, very sweet.

Ah, but the time to savor such victory is short. The Habs are right back at it tonight in Washington D.C. as they take on the Ovie and Caps. Dustin Tokarski, who wrestled the backup job away from Peter Budja this fall, will get the start for the Canadiens.

As we mentioned in the season's first post, the Habs underwent some significant roster changes this summer. For the Caps, the changes went beyond the starting lineup, starting in April when they fired long-time general manager George McPhee, and replaced him with the relatively unknown Brian MacLellan, whose executive experience entering the office was pretty much ziltch.

MacLellan didn't waste much time shaking up the Caps roster, with a particular focus on shoring up the Caps shaky defense. First, MacLellan signed journeyman backup Justin Peters to backup the consistently inconsistent Braden Holtby.  Then as summer set in, Maclellan latched up Matt Niskanen for a big ol' pile of cash (7 years, $5.75m AVV), and his coup de grace, signing free agent Brooks Orpik for an astounding $27.5m, five year contract. That last mentioned signing was astoundingly perplexing, as Orpik has long held one of the worst possession numbers for a defenseman in the League. To commit so much money for such a long time to a 34 year old player with a terrible stats line won't help the Caps very much in solving their blue line issues this season, or the next, or the one after that, or the one after that, or the one after that.

So tonight! The Habs will send out Tokarski, and our eyes will be focused on whether we'll see another fine repeat performance by the like Plekanec, Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais, Max Pacioretty, P.A. Parenteau, and yes, Alexi Emelin. All played very well last night in Toronto.

Puck drops at 7:10 EST. It's already game two!!

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