Friday, 5 December 2014

Game Twenty-Eight: Habs vs. Hawks


- Two period possession numbers pretty much split, Fenwick at 50%.

- If the Hawks score on this powerplay, it'll be yet again an indirect result of the Habs immobile defenders.

- Patrick Kane having trouble hitting open nets tonight. Game should be tied.

- Hawks need to make sure in the future to disway their starting goaltender from getting slammed at concerts. It's been an important difference tonight.

- Absurd hooking call on P.K., an the Hawks take advantage. The targeting of Subban by bad referees must stop.

- Questionable blind hits and boards not being controlled or called by the officials. This game could get nasty as it finishes.

- Hawks have the legs in this period, the loss of Eller and the aged defensive legs, you'd have to figure the Hawks are favoured to win this out before the regulation clock runs out.

- How'd he miss that? Galchenyuk is going to have nightmares for days if the Habs lose this game. 


- Fundamental rule of officiating. If you aren't sure, don't call it. Subban given a four minute penalty for high sticking. Reply shows his stick never came close to making any contact.

- Habs survive the 5-on-3, justly I suppose. Canadiens did a very good job forcing Hawks to the perimeter.

- Hawks buzzing, Habs defense as usual is slow footed and unable to react to the rush, Price making two superlative saves to keep his team alive. For now.

- Excellent work by Gallagher carrying (!!!) the zone, drawing three Hawks out of position, dishes to Gonchar, who scores one of his two goals he'll get this season. Tie game. It's getting interesting.

- Habs, dare I say, actually outskating the Hawks at the halfway mark of the 2nd.

- Powerplay as usual, pretty tame. Now Prust with a pretty clear embellishment off a harmless Kane stickcheck. Habs sucker another man advantage.

- P.K. with an unstoppable rocket from the line. It wasn't even fair. Habs lead 3-2. Outworking and outskating the Hawks this period has paid off big time.

- Habs announce that Eller will not return tonight because of an upper body injury. Also, Sekac's status is in doubt. Makes for a difficult 3rd period.

- Emelin, once more, is beaten badly on the outside, this time by Hossa, and gets a tripping call to end the period. A defenseman with average speed and skill doesn't draw that trip.

- Early saves by Price keeping his team in this game, and the Habs chip away by mostly outskating and outworking their opponent, putting the Canadiens in an unlikely two period lead. However, these are the Hawks, and the Habs have suffered some key injuries tonight which will but intense pressure on their bench for the third period. It'll be tough, very tough, for Montreal to maintain this lead.


- Annnnnnnnnd ... we're off. Rozsival finishes off a nice three way passing play, Habs 4th line caught badly up ice. Man, what about putting someone like ... oh I don't know ... DALE WEISE out there? 2:13 in and it's 1-0.

- Weise is trying, I'll lend him that. But his skills lend zero to a guy like Pacioretty, who's already got a plateful of problems having to deal with an incompetent centre. Just .... arghhh.

- Chicago plays such a nice clean, efficient transition game, I often wonder just how superb this Habs team could be if they were ever able to replicate this kind of well organized (coached) hockey.

- All in all, Habs doing their best to keep some pace with the Hawks, so the net final result might not be a total wipeout again. Still, hard to fathom the Canadiens being able to compete much longer.

- Gonchar looking everyone of his 40 years tonight, and a bunch more.

- Emelin is a pylon at centre ice, and Kruger is allowed to skate around him with ease and enter the zone. Rebound is deposited in by Smith, and it's 2-0. Habs just can't afford to serve a team like the Hawks these gift goals.

- Well, there's hope. Gallagher puts the Habs on the board. 

- Not a horrible first period, but once again, for the 25th time out of 28 games this season, Habs were the worse first period team. For the most part the Canadiens did a decent job possession wise, some of the zone exits and entries were reasonably decent. But the Hawks are just a better organized and playing team, they feast of teams like the Habs. Don't see much hope tonight.


Oh Patrick Kane. Don't you ever change. Don't you ever stop going out in public and making a celebratory drunken ass of yourself. You must set the example for others to follow! Such as, say, your teammate Corey Crawford, who earlier this week accidentally injured his foot when he "stepped wrongly" on some stairs at a Rise Against (seriously?) concert. Assuming when you say "stepped wrongly" as in "so drunk he could barely step forward". BINGO. Out nearly a month with a fractured foot. YOUR CHICAGO BLACK HAWKS EVERYONE.

Speaking of never changing ... the Habs. Here we are at the 1/3rd mark of the season, and our esteemed coach continues to do the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result. The results being, in this case, putting the should-be scoring megastar Max Pacioretty next to the frustratingly meek David Desharnais, the later of which is 327th in the whole damn NHL in shots taken - a pathetic 30 shots in 27 games. FOR THE SUPPOSED NUMBER ONE CENTRE.

So Pacioretty, saddled with the guy who never does anything other than dipsy doodle around with the puck, spends most of his shifts trying to figure out what the hell his centre is doing, while the rest of the faithful scream out to coach Therrien to put him next to someone at least half-competent, like Lars Eller.

Oh but it gets better. Not satisfied with pairing up his best forward with one of the most underachieving centres in the game, Therrien has been regularly promoting forth liner Dale Weise to play on the top line, because ... we have no idea. A good chunk of the rest of us have been readily suggesting that Therrien try, I mean ... AT LEAST TRY, to put the ridiculously fast, exciting and hard-nosed playing Jiri Sekac alongside with Pacioretty and Eller. I mean ... THAT'S A LINE.

But nope. Just the same old thing. Over and over again. And in the meantime, the Habs continue to lose, what with Doug Murray Part Deux getting more than 11 minutes of ice time a night, while guys who can actually play, you know, defense, are stuck either up in the pressbox, or sit stapled to the bench in meek hopes that they'll crack the 8 minute mark.

The Habs are not, and we must underscore this, not playing very well right now. Which is to be kind. The game in Minnesota was a total deception on the scoreboard - the Canadiens, until the Wild decided to take a cruise victory vacation for a good chunk of the 3rd period, were completed overwhelmed by a pretty ordinary Minnesota team, getting outshot exactly 3 to 1 through the first 40 minutes of the game.

And tonight? Against a true powerhouse like the Chicago Black Hawks? Not even Carey Price can wallpaper over the holes in this team's walls like he did Wednesday night.

It's probably going to be a very long, ugly night in Chicago. Maybe it's best if we all just turn in early.

Puck drops at 8:40 EST.

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