Saturday, 8 November 2014

Game Fifteen: Wild vs. Habs


It's over. It's finally, mercifully, over.

Montreal 4, Minnesota 1: 

Third Period:

- Huge break for the Habs as Prust is hit into Kemper, who's knocked into the goal, allowing Sekac to push the puck home. Sekac has been excellent tonight and he's rewarding with a goal (to go along with an assist). 3-1.

- Wild defense in complete disarray. Off the rush, Pacioretty opens up a three goal lead with as easy a goal as you're going to get. Kemper looks fit to be tied - he's not been very good tonight.

- Sekac uses his speeds, carries the zone, has a couple of Wild players chase, feeds the point, generates quality shot. This stuff really isn't that complicated.

- Sekac almost gets his second of the period. No way Therrien can keep this man out of the lineup any more. No way even Therrien can miss Sekac's assets and value.

- Credit where credit is due - this has been a excellently officiated game. Such a joy to watch a game that's properly called. Unfortunately it's an exception in this League.

- Broken record, but another great shift by Sekac. He works so hard for the puck, and gives opposing defenders fits. He's everything Rene Bourque isn't. So refreshing to see this.

- Carey Price was the star of the first, making key saves to keep the Wild off the scoresheet and his team in the game. Then slowly the Habs started to take over by executing a strong forechecking game, eventually finding their legs and game the halfway mark of the second. From that point forward it was all Montreal. An impressive win tonight, the first one of that kind in a while for Montreal.

Second Period:

- Wild out shot attempted the Habs more than 3 to 1 in the first. If this continues, they're going to wreck Montreal in this period.

- Subban really struggling with fundamentals, resulting in poor turnovers.

- Sekac generating chances. Why? He's working hard every (few) shift he's given. Wish others would follow this example.

- Gallagher, who hasn't scored in forever, opens the scoring off a slapper that deflects over Kemper's shoulder. Even though outplayed much of this game, Habs have the less.

- Doing high off the goalpost. Kemper rattled? 

- Canadiens forwards definately finding some legs halfway through the second. They're actually generating quality testing shots on Kemper.

- Another fine shift by Sekac, coming within an eyelash of making it 2-0.

- That was an atrocious play by Markov with a careless pass through the middle to spring a Wild 3-on-1. Tie game. Sigh.

- Blistering pace both direction, yet another fine shift by Sekac, this time to gain possession, create a screen and Eller shoots one along the ice that Kemper fails to pick up. 2-1.

- Half way mark of the period, Habs basically found their game and took it to Minnesota. Very good rebound period by Montreal. The two goals were hard earned, even though as a whole, Minnesota have played the better game.

First Period:

- Sara Diamond. Nobody better. 

- OMG. Roger Ducept. The national athem. What a treat.

- Markov and Subban. 15 games it took to have those two finally paired. Better late than never I suppose.

- Wild get game's first big scoring chance off the rush, Pacioretty dogging it back to his zone providing Minnesota oodles of room in the slot.

- Fontaine denied by Price, again the Habs defense looking disorganized while the Wild carry the zone. Not a good start.

- Just don't get it. On the powerplay Desharnais successfully carries the zone, then feeds the point, and Subban dumps it into the corner. The unforced surrendering of possession is driving my crazy and is clearly a big reason why Habs have the League's third worst man advantage.

- Wild with darting attacks by its forwards streaming to the net, denied so far by Price, but exposing the Canadiens' slow footed weaknesses on defense. Eventually Minnesota will convert.

- Minnesota steamrolling towards the net, and it appears that Price's hand has been injured. Really half-hearted soft period by Montreal.

- So many giveaways by Habs in this period, so many of those being sloppy. This team looks just as much in a funk tonight as they did against Chicago. No legs, few productive rushes, virtually no scoring chances produced. Dismal.

- Sekac has barely played this period, because with him on, the Habs have struggled so badly, of course.

- Wild look good. Habs terrible. Should be at least 2-0 Minnesota. At least. But Price rises again to the occasion to make his teammates and deer on highway coach look better than they really are.


Pregame Notes:

- Moen in (good), Sekac in (very good), Price starting (very, very good), Bourque healthy scratch (excellent!).

- Some have the Wild picked as the western rep for the Stanley Cup final. I don't know if I'd go quite that far, but I do think Minnesota represents the Habs toughest test this season. Apart from Chicago, of course.

- Oh yeah. Guy Lapointe gets the sweater retired tonight. Part of the Habs 70s juggernaut that made me a die-in-the-wool Canadiens fan.

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