Monday, 29 December 2014

Game Thirty-Six: Habs vs. Canes


- Subban gets nailed, correctly, for a very stupid and unecessary trip to start the period.

- Funny how the stupid and foolish penalties kill you. Eric Stall out the Canes on the board.

- Carolina swarming now. Atrocious 3rd for the Habs so far. Shots are 9-0 Canes the first five minutes. That's insane.

- The Canes have roundly dominated this game since halfway through the 2nd period, outshooting Montreal by a margin of 3 to 1. An inexcusably poor performance by a team with overwhelming advantages over their opponent. Except for one, possibly: coaching. 

- Habs powerplay zone entry is atrocious. We even wonder why the unit is in the 20th percentile?

- Little less than five minutes left, it appears Habs are resigned to holding on to a one goal lead for dear life - to the Carolina Hurricanes.

- Carolina apparently not wanting to take the silver platter that the Habs seem determined to hand them. Two minutes left.

- Pacioretty into the empty net. The Habs survive the night, but only just. Extremely unimpressive road win tonight. Bodes poorly for the Habs chances the rest of this five game road trip. 


- Gallgher's first shift, he crashes Cam Ward. Can't take it out of him.

- Terrible traffic management by Emelin nearly costs the Habs a goal. Slow and soft. What else is there to offer?

- Terrible tripping call on Sekac, with Gleason clearly losing amps edge along the boards. No way a qualified NHL official should get that one wrong.

- Haah. How sweet is that. Sekac out of the penalty box heads straight into the Canes zone and weaves magic through the slot to beat Ward with a backhander. Didn't we just mention he'd score?? HUH? HUH?! 1-0 Habs.

- Habs running around and getting pinned in their own zone. Price with two superb saves to keep his team ahead. No way Habs should be getting outplayed like this. 

- Habs have defiantly lost a step, which is allowing the Canes to get their transition game in order. Momentum firmly on Carolina's side, only Price seemingly standing in their way.

- Gonchar with a nice pinch to keep the puck in the Canes zone, but it still doesn't excuse Ward from getting beaten by Eller from a very sharp angle. Terrible goal makes it 2-0.

- Weird period, Carolina the better team, but Habs score 2 on only 5 shots. The impact of excellent vs. ordinary goaltending on full display so far tonight. It's put the Habs firmly into the driver's seat with one period left.


- So this Reily Nash has come out to play. 80% of his team's shots in the first 7 game minutes. Carey Price, he who should not have been played, making a couple of point blank saves to keep Nash and the Canes off the board.

- Carolina's transition game is ... really ... bad.

- Sekac hasn't scored a whole lot lately, but he's doing all the right things. Getting plunked with Desharnais for more than a week didn't help much, but with Eller, something will give.

- There's no way you'll convince me this Canes team took a step forward after firing Kirk Muller. They can't string together a proper rush. That's a fundamental coaching problem.

- Emelin has/will have the least amount of playing time among Habs defensemen this period. Feels so good to see that.

- Gilbert scores, but because Gallagher, for at least the third time this season, makes contact with the netminder in his crease, the goal is disallowed. Gallagher isn't learning the simple things easily.

- Well, if not for the boneheaded play by Gallagher, Habs would be up by one. Otherwise it was a relatively even period, which from the Canes' standpoint, is just fine, thank you.


Hey, was Santa nice for you? Did he bring you lots of gifts (vacuums, power blenders) and treats (candy canes, chocolates)? I'll tell you what Santa brought me for the 31st consecutive year: NOTHING. Now I'm really, really pissed. This year I set out the milk (extra cold and creamy) and an extra big gingerbread cookie. Next morning, half the milk and cookie are gone, anything in the stocking hung with care? NOPE.

Enough of this. Next year I'm adding rat poison to the gingerbread cookie dough. I warned you more than once, you fat bastard. You've stiffed me far too many times. Next year, it ends.

Heyyyyyyy ... kids! How's it going? WE HAVE MEANINGFUL HOCKEY AGAIN. Tonight it's the Habs and the Caroline Hurricanes, within the dreaded confines of the Royal Bank of Canada Centre in Raleigh.  Just the thought of facing 3,700 rabid fans in a 20,000 seat arena already has me shaking in my Santa Rosa Biltrite booties, just like the ones Santa wears! That horrible fat fu ... hey hey now ... kids!

So who's in tonight for les Habitants? Well, it sure looks like it won't be Bryan Allen (yay!!), Mike Weaver (okay), and Michael Bournival (booo). In other words, same lineup tonight as last Tuesday night's game against New York.

Also in tonight, Carey Price? Man, that's a puzzler. You're sending out your number one guy against the second worst team in the League, on a back-to-back schedule? It would be pretty much totally obvious to start Dustin Tokarski, and save Price for the significantly more challenging Panthers tomorrow. I mean, that's TOO obvious, right? Michel? Oh ... never mind.

Anyway, there's no way the Habs should lose tonight. More than twice as many points in the standings, total dominance from virtually every meaningful perspective - offense, defense, netminding. Even better, Nathan Beaulieu got a LONG overdue promotion!! He'll be playing on the Habs 2nd d-line, beside Sergei Gonchar. YES, FINALLY.

It's a totally lopsided contest, no matter how you measure the influencing factors. Even with Jordan Staal making his season debut tonight.

So that said, we should all fully expect the Habs to find a way of frittering away this game!

Puck drops at 7:10. Watch the Habs, and for goodness sake, just give the World Juniors a pass. It only matters because TSN has nothing else to blather on about.

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