Saturday, 20 December 2014

Game Thirty-Four: Sens vs. Habs


- Math is pretty simple for a tired team like Ottawa. They'll need to score reasonably early in the period, otherwise, the hill will only get steeper as play drags on.

- Habs being very conservative, defensively. Basically folding up their tent and hoping the storm never arrives.

- Sens have a pretty atrocious transition game, basically firing darts in the dark, feeding the line and hoping a point shot makes its way through.

- Habs huge defensive breakdown, Chaisson misses a completely empty net. Game should be tied.

- Habs doing their best to not salt this game away. I guess they're wanting to keep their fans on the edge of their seats?

- Nothing more satisfying than seeing someone named Gryba going to a penalty box.

- This team would probably be sitting at 24 -25 wins with a properly functioning powerplay. That I have little doubt.

- Man, the Sens are just a disorganized mess tonight. Too many men with four minutes left, trailing by one lousy goal to an underachieving opponent. Long year ahead in Ottawa. Long, long year.

- Subban and Markov have not been on the same coordinates at the line tonight. It's hurt this team's scoring chances.

- Plekanec with a simple wrap shot, Lehner ... who knows? Insurance goal, Habs should be able to cruise to the finish now.

- Sens just throwing in the towel. Galchenyuk finishes a nice little three way passing play, Ottawa defense not even bothering to skate back to cover their zone. 4-1.

- As we speculated earlier, tired Sens team only had one shot in the third - to score early, or forget about it. Habs had the legs with the extra rest, and Ottawa could do nothing to compete. A relatively easy win, although given the circumstances, it should have been a whole lot more comfortable of a victory for the Canadiens. 


- Habs Corsi rating halfway through the first was 83%. End of period, it fell to 50%. Yuuuuuup.

- Emelin is just so sloppy, has such a low hockey IQ. The day Bergevin is able to unload his services on someone else will be a major step forward for this franchise's championship hopes.

- Second period mirroring the first, Habs dominated up until the 8 minute mark before switching into sleep mode. We're approaching same time mark of second period right now.

- Oh baby, what a beautiful goal, Patches, Galchenyuk and Gallagher finishes very pretty goal, assisted by clunky Sens line change. 2-1.

- Safe to say the Habs are extending their strong play beyond what we saw in the first frame. Actually, 5-on-5, Habs have looked very strong tonight (yeah yeah Sens are tired, but still, Montreal playing a much more coherent goal than we're used to seeing).

- Sekac with Plekanec does nothing for me. Wonder how long Therrien is going to stick with this combo. Then again, we thought he wouldn't play Weise on the top 6 for more than a week, and here we are, more than a month later.

- Deaharnais having big troubles figuring out how to play the wing. He's just not working out anywhere. So like Emelin, Bergevin really needs to think hard about this team's long-term competitive prospects if he isn't wiling or able to move him somewhere else.

- Sens have no business even having a sniff at a win, but if not for Price, this game really ought be tied.

- Habs mailed in last seven minutes of the period, which is really disheartening and unimpressive. Third period coming up and this game is still up for grabs. Sigh.


- As we didn't remotely expect but aren't entirely surprised, Pacioretty will play tonight. The guy is incredible.

- Welp, Bornival is a scratch. Sigh. And Sekac won't play alongside Eller, because why would you want to keep doing something that works?

- Habs storm out of the gate against an already visibly tired Sens team. Karlsson with a tired hold goes to the box.

- Um, okay. Andrighetto falls with Habs well set up in the powerplay, a routine 65 foot flip shot by Condra on Price who completely muffs it up and Sens take a 1-0 lead. Quite possibly the weakest goal ever surrendered in Price's NHL career.

- Energy kind of just totally left the building after that goal. Game turns on a dime.

- Lehner trying to make Price feel better about his first goal. Prust from almost behind the red line. Tie game.

- Habs are kind of overwhelming right now - constantly on the attack, Sens in survival mode right now. Eller looking extra fast tonight.

- Sens righting the ship, pressing the zone and now drawing a powerplay. Momentum, she's a fickle lady.

- So Habs dominated first half of the first, Ottawa the later. One thing, though. Habs have no excuse not to be dominating most of this game.

- This game should have been tagged and bagged for the Habs. Getting the sinking feeling this team is going to have to scrap for all their might to get points tonight. 

Oh Ottawa. Why do we not like you so? We've little reason to feel this way. It's not as though you're a perennially winning franchise. It's not as though you've repeatedly dashed our championship dreams on an almost annual basis. It's not as though we even give two figs about your mediocre city that has virtually nothing to brag about.

And yet, we just don't like you. Maybe it's because of all of your dirty players and dirty hits over the years, like this:

Or maybe it's because of your inability to lose with class:

The lack of class certainly seems to be systemic. On this rare occasion, we'll let Michel Therrien take the microphone:

Better yet, let's let Brandon Prust sum it up:

Ah, who cares. You know what? The Senators aren't a very good hockey team. 11th overall in the Conference, 17th rated offense, 16th rated defense, 12th rated powerplay and penalty kill, their top scoring players is a defenseman, yadda yadda.

So tonight, the Sens will finish a back-to-back set in Montreal, coming off a pretty resounding win last night against the Ducks, whom themselves were playing their 2nd game in two days. I think the League is going to need to take a serious look at scheduling teams two games two days in a row. Teams playing the 2nd game have put up a dreadful winning record this season. Which means, of course, that the Sens ought to be ripe for the picking tonight.

Habs have a couple of things going their way tonight. First, Lars Eller will make his return to the lineup, hopefully reuniting him next to Jiri Sekac. Also, probably to nobody's surprise, Max Pacioretty, who took a brutal (and sadly unpunished) hit on Thursday night at the hand of career thug Clayton Stoner, may actually start tonight. Max Pacioretty, is without a doubt, OUR HONEY BADGER.

Carey Price will start tonight, with Joey McDonald as backup! Welcome back to the NHL Joey! Enjoy the extended view from the players bench!

Robin Lehner will start for Ottawa because ... the Sens are too scared to start Craig Anderson? I'll bet you that's why.

Puck drops 7:15 EST.

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