Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Game Sixteen: Jets vs. Habs

Third Period:

- Seems pretty clear this club's lack of offence has gotten into their heads. Too much focus on setting up the perfect play, not enough on getting pucks on the net. 

- That's a killer goal for Galchenyuk, the Jets defense way too soft in their slot. 2-0.

- Habs are gonna try to ice this game to death. Folly, I say. We'll see.

- It's not very pretty, but Habs doing pretty good job strangling the play. Not a lot of places for the Jets to muster a rush or find an open lane right now.

- Pacioretty and Desharnais are lousy odd man rush mates. Desharnais is judgement impaired, Pacioretty should just stick to shooting.

- Price getting good protection this period by his defense off the initial shot. The few rebounds Price gives up aren't much of a threat.

- Jets pulling a Roy with 3 minutes left.

- Enstrom with a dive in his zone, obvious dive. Refs blow the call. 6 on 4 with 92 seconds left.

- A post and two totally open nets missed by the Jets on this powerplay. Enstrom's dive had serious karma attached.

- Plekanec with the empty net as he returns to the scoresheet after a couple of weeks off. Habs win 3-0.

Second Period:

- We said they be hummin' in the first, and to no one's surprise, Sekac drives the net utilizing his speed, Pavelec surrenders a loose puck and Eller puts it home. More great Sekec. 1-0. 

- Habs PK has had one scoring chance tonight. Their PP? Zero.

- Pretty sloppy hockey resulting in poor penalties being committed by both sides. Game had flow in the first period. The second? A mess.

- Six minutes left, Jets are swarming the Habs, but Price is standing on his head. Habs forwards guilty of far too many zone turnovers.

- Kind of wondering why Subban isn't shooting. At all. Had the entire lane wide open and a red carpet to Pavelec, makes a meek and useless backhanded pass.

- Frantic end to the period on both ends, the Habs, outplayed, escape with a one goal lead. Carey Price, as he has so many times in the past, masking his team's glaring flaws - they being specialty units, forwards unable or unwilling to shoot, and sloppy puck possession. Another stolen victory tonight? Stay tuned. 

First Period:

- So Drayson Bowman gets his first NHL start of the season tonight on the fourth line, which means he'll likely get ... oh ... seven or eight shifts for the game. #TherrienEffect

- Gallagher beats Pavelec. Offside by four feet. Oh well.

- So Gilbert, who's been very good this year, is demoted to the third line, and Weaver, who's been so-so, gets promoted to the 2nd. Mmmkay.

- Eller/Sekac line be hummin' right where it left off Saturday night.

- Another terrible Markov turnover in the neutral zone, creating a Kane break. Price with an elegant blocker save.

- Price has been receipient of tough shots tonight, but looks very sharp, very cool. Could be tough customer for Jets offense tonight.

- Calling this Habs powerplay a tire fire would be an insult to burning rubber.

- New powerplay system seems to be emphatic that neither Markov or Subban are to shoot from the line. Mystifying.

- Habs get last minute man advantage, Therrien doesn't ice Markov or Subban. Results are pretty much hapless. 

- Reasonably even period, Price with key saves off tough chances, Habs specialty units are as much a mess as ever, and their neutral zone puck possession left much to be desired. Eller/Sekac look fine again, Markov and Subban ... not so much.

Habbies Acquire Gonchar

Well, hmm ... this is interesting. Habs have traded 32 year old Travis Moen to the Dallas Stars in return for 40 year old defenseman Sergei Gonchar. Moen, who's been around for five seasons believe it or not, hasn't had a particularly productive year, and has been shuffled in and out of the lineup. With Michael Bournival now established, there really wasn't a whole lot of room left.

Gonchar? Man, he's old. Used to be pretty good. But now? He's old. Experienced I guess, he'll be a UFA at season's end. Now the Habs have 8 bonefied starters on their roster. Markov, Subban, Gilbert, Weaver, Emelin, Beaulieu, Tinorodi and now Gonchar.

If Beaulieu and Tinordi are going to continue to evolve, I'm thinking somebody else is going to be moved soon. But who? Emelin? Dare we to dream?

Habs 'n' Jets Gameday Game Preview:

Welcome to the Bourqueless era of the Montreal Canadiens! Man, don't you ... I don't know ... almost feel cleaner now? Almost a little extra spring in your step almost knowing future Habs games won't be so frustrating to watch? Almost? Yeah. Almost!

I suppose we could add welcome to the Moen-less era in Montreal, but we liked Travis.

So tonight. What is with this Habs team? We suck. We don't suck. We score. We can't score. We defend. We can't defend. We're a playoff team. Good luck finishing above 80 points. We're a Stanley Cup contender. Are you on crack? On and on it goes.

Anyway, here's the Jets' lineup for tonight game:

Line 1: Ladd-Little/Frolik
Line 2: Kane-Scheifele-Wheeler
Line 3: Perreault-Lowry-Byfuglien
Line 4: Galiardi-Slater-Thorburn


There you have it. A meh roster for a meh hockey team. Still the Jets do have 8 wins in 15 games, most of them against pretty competitive teams, like the Hawks, Preds and Rangers. They could be considered, along with the Calgary Flames, to be one of this season's early surprises. Bryan Little, whose best season came last year (64 points in 82 games) is off to a solid start, 11 points to lead the team. Blake Wheeler is, as anticipated, producing (10 points). Disappointments? Dustin Byfuglein, just two goals and five points this year (.33 ppg), far below his usual output (career .56 ppg).

The BIG surprise in Winnipeg this year is goaltender Ondrej Pavelec. After consecutive years putting up numbers that would barely qualify him for a backup role in the League, Pavelec has a sparkling .928 SV% and 1.98 GAA. He's a big part of the reason why the Jets are off to a respectable start this season.

Over in Habsland, with Bourque and Moen gone, the lineup is beginning to settle. With Sekac finally (mercifully) now established, he'll be playing again along side the underrated Lars Eller. Meanwhile, it'll be the usual defensive lineup tonight, with Beaulieu slotting in, and Tinordi slotting out.

Carey Price, of course, will start.

Game time is 7:40 EST.

But, these are the Jets, and they are facing the Habs, who have beaten Winnipeg seven of the nine times these two have met since Atlanta moved north. 

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