Thursday, 27 February 2014

Game Sixty-One: Habs vs. Pens


- Therrien making some abysmal and reckless OT decisions and Desharnais goes and bails him out in the SO. Therrien is living a charmed life. That said, I'm not forgetting how petty the coach acted tonight. How could Bergevin possibly not do the same?


- Last night I was at peace with the OT loss, because it was so roundly deserved. Tonight though, I want 2.

- So Galchenyuk sits on the OT bench and Murray gets a shift. Got it.

- Therrien apparently is benching P.K. for overtime. This is insanity.

- Yup. Subban was benched. Galchenyuk also didn't get a shift. Therrien has no clue. Not a single clue. Habs deserve the loss now. 

Third Period:

- Murray committs a silly and unecessary interference, again giving the Pens PP another opportunity to take control of this game.

- Habs survive, but barely. Tinordi getting some tough minutes here as second unit PK. Doesn't seem comfortable with the task.

- Pens dominating first 5 minutes, Habs just holding on here, chipping/dumping like crazy.

- Oh P.K., now we know what Babcock was worried about. With the powerplay, no less. Horrorshow.

- And Emelin, of all people, bails P.K. out. Fleury is officially stinking out the joint. We are tied.

- Murray trades penalties with Crosby. Habs win that deal by a gazillioon dollars.

- So apparently the refs have decided that hitting is now illegal. The penalty on Emelin - I don't know what the heck is going on. Huge opportunity for Pens here.

- And they convert. Crosby, assist to Murray, of course. Officials now involved in the outcome. What a shame.

- Wow. Glass gets five for an elbow. 

- And Briere ties it up - Habs still with more than 3 minutes of PP left. Ridiculous.

- So does this suddenly make Briere an attractive trading commodity? 

- Fleury is a bad rebound machine tonight. He's been terri-bad, even by his standards.

- Less than 2 minutes and Murray is sent out. So so so unwise.

- Yeah. We'll take the point. Getting two out of four on back to back nights ain't bad.

Second Period:

- Habs had 56% Fenwick in the first, but poor goaltending did them in. It's only righteous I suppose, considering how many games this team has won because of goaltending carrying them through sub 45% nights.

- Pens on the powerplay, Budaj continuing to flail all over the place. I know Tokarski has limited experience, but Therrien is just begging for trouble keeping Budaj in there.

- Even though maddeningly a dump and chase team, Habs have done a decent job still so far winning puck possession. But because of the dump and chase mentality, quality scoring chances on Fleury has been limited.

- Just shoot it on net - Briere sprung free in the slot, and top corner ties this game. Puck possession matters ... so very, very much.

- Lars Eller requires an intervention. He's just totally lost. Nearly forgone. It's getting that bad.

- Seems crazy to put Murray out there against Pens top rated PP with their first line played. Budaj bails out Murray's chronic slot softness and puck indifference.

- Maatta from the line. Redeflect? Who knows. Bottom line - you can't take penalties against this Pittsburgh powerplay unit. 3-2.

- Pacioretty, sweet feed to Desharnais and then to Pacioretty, and we be ties. Fleury was pretty positionally slow. We have hope.

- Pens are really doing a poor job protecting their slot. Habs gaining some decent scoring chances as a result. Good see the red light a few more times each end before this one is done.

- Thought the Habs played a stronger first, but they end up out scoring the opponent. Lars Eller now appears to be officially in Therrien's doghouse - but then again, so was Desharnais two months ago. 

First Period:

- Poor rebound control by Fleury, and Gallagher cashes it in. This is the Habs faint hope tonight - Fleury stinks up the joint. It's possible he might. We'll see. 1-0.

- Neal. Budaj looking very much like a backup on that one. Tie game.

- Budaj completely misplays a routine 60 foot wrist shot by Neal, but it hits the post. Um ... who's on the bench?

- Engelland. Budaj somewhere else. He's been terrible, converting two routine shots into opposition gift goals. Should be 3-1 really. I smell a switch on the horizon. Calling Tokarski.

- Relatively decent period by the Habs - certainly much better than last night's first against Detroit - all thrown away by a very poor period by Budaj. Now trailing, Habs have limited options the final 40 minutes, save Fluery returning the favor.


Hoo boy, cover your eyes, cover your eyes. This stuff is about to get real.

One of the worst one-goal losses I've seen in perhaps my life, the Habs fresh off their 35% Fenwick "performance" last night, roll into Pittsburgh tonight where they'll face a drawing and quartering, courtesy Sid Crosby and the rest of the Pens. At least it'll be quick. Painless? Well ... sorry, the Habs aren't getting off that easy.

So, let's roll out a few bullet points.

- Ryan White is sick with the flu. I think I had that last week, and the week before that, and the week before that. What I'm saying here is that I watched the whole damn Winter Olympics sprawled out on a couch, wishing I was dead. Anyway, White won't play tonight. Great.

- David Desharnais, who was mostly invisible last night when he wasn't gift wrapping pucks to the Wing's defense, got more than 23 minutes of playing time last night, because insanity. Meanwhile, Alex Galchenyuk, who looked pretty good, and was actually one of the few Habs forwards on the ice that was making any Detroit defenders break an actual sweat, sat on the bench during the two minute 3-on-3 OT session, because insanity.

- So Tinordi looked pretty good, huh? Beaulieu ... we already know he's NHL-ready. So when can we start digging Doug Murray's playin'-days grave? Like, can we do it now? Now?? HOW ABOUT NOW?!?!

- I thought Peter Budaj did another solid job last night, although the OT goal came courtesy a pretty juicy rebound. It didn't help that Gorges was all dazed and confused, choosing instead to check P.K. Subban instead of one of the guys wearing White and Red.

- Mike Babcock's contract is going to run out in the not-too-distant-future. He'd look great behind that Habs bench, no? McGill graduate, surely he knows a word or two of french? Right? Gah ... if we could only get him to change his last name to Babcockesque ... or Babcockdeau ... or Babcockpoutine.

More later. Well, no. More when the puck drops tonight, and the slaughter begins.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Game Sixty: Wings vs. Habs


- Who cares. I'm pleased as punch we got one point out of this train wreck game.

- PK draws a hook, but ridiculously gets called for a dive. Chris Lee. All you need to know.

- Good timeout call by Therrien - keeps Markov on the ice, and Subban will be returning soon.

- Com'on PK. Here's your time.

- Ahhh never mind. Budaj gives up the perfect rebound. We'll take a point.

Third Period:

- TSN during the 2nd intermission, mentioned that the Habs are looking for defenseman at the trading deadline - sad if true considering this team traded away a perfectly capable one for a fringe 4th liner last month.

- Galchenyuk rush throws this poor paying crowd a crumb to cheer about.

- My observant son just pointed out the Wings don't have a single right handed player. He's right. Am I the only one who hasn't noticed this?

-Alfredsson shoots right, duh. Nevermind.

- Wings doing dump routine here, hoping to just kill the clock. With 10 minutes it's mildly risky, but they are playing Montreal.

- Well, if there's one guy who's gonna will one in, it'll be Gallagher.

- It's two weeks since. Has the NHL always been this boring?

- Wings clogging up neutral zone, suffocating an already offensively gasping Habs club. No contest tonight. No contest.

- Habs forwards telegraphing their shots tonight. Detriot has been blocking just about every shot that was remotely dangerous.

- Breathing sigh of relief. That I wasn't a paying customer tonight. 

- Unbelievable. Gionta backhander beats Howard who struggled to cover the loose puck. Game tied.

- Least. Deserved. Regulation. Tie. Ever. Habs didn't register a single scoring chance on Howard for the entire game - at least until the final minute. To get a point is a ridiculous victory. A second point would be preposterous.

Second Period:

- Goodness, Habs look particularly dismal - zero shots and we're almost at the eight minute mark.

- All that Olympic hockey spoiled me, what with Team Canada defenseman effectively transitioning the puck forward. Habs are truly awful at this.

- Wings aren't nearly as good as years past, but they're kicking the Habs' behinds in this 2nd period in puck possession department. Really should be up two or three. They probably will be soon enough.

- Detroit's defense and backchecking is nothing special, but the Habs just registered a very soft shot on Howard with 7:30 left. First of the period. Just abysmal.

- Puck battles are nearly 100% for Detriot. Canadiens simply not showing up to play so far.

- Not counting Gionta's shots, Habs have 4 in the game. Over 35 minutes of play. Four.

- Team Latvia would be destroying the Habs tonight. 

- Habs 5v5 Fenwick is under 27%. That's almost behind bad. Actually, it is beyond bad.

- That might have been the worst period of hockey I've ever seen this organization play without surrendering a goal. The awfulness is beyond describing. It's absurd even that the Habs only trail by one. 

First Period:

- Wasn't here, didn't watch. The stats line shows that the Habs pretty much picked up where they left off with their mediocre ways.


- Therrien's comments this morning (re: Price injury).


- Oh ... crap?!? Carey Price left a.m. practice early with what is reported to be an injury. Oh crap oh crap oh crap oh crap.

We'll post info/updates as we receive.

PRICE UPDATE #1: Price apparently sustained the injury during a 5-0 warmup, and after taking the first shot, he immediately favored his leg (not sure if it was left or right). He left the ice, didn't return.Won't return. Therrien to provide update in a little while.

PRICE UPDATE #2: DO'H. Price apparently reaggravated an existing injury during the Olympics, but "played through it". Michel Therrien announced that he's out with a lower body injury, and that he'll miss at least the next two starts.

Dustin Tokarski has been called up from Hamilton as an emergency backup.

Oh crap.


Seems like age infinitude since we last had one of these NHL games, doesn't it? Your truly enjoyed most of the action from Sochi, but really now, the time for over-glamorized tournaments that really don't mean a hill of beans beyond a few dozen players that get to now carry a medal around their necks, is over.

It's time to get serious again with meaningful hockey.

SO TONIGHT ... pretty compelling matchup - the Wings, who are currently clinging to the 2nd wild card playoff spot, square off against the Habs, who are currently clinging to 3rd spot in the Atlantic Division. A win for the Wings tonight would move them just 6 points back of the Habs - a win for Montreal would give the Habs another pad in their playoff spot lead.

We'll have a little preview in a bit.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Game Fifty-Nine: Habs vs. 'Canes

Second Period:

- Pretty dismal sloppy start to the second period by both teams. Lots of poor passing generating turnovers. 

- First goal, Ruutu creating the perfect screen on Price on point shot - Habs defense yet again indifferent about opposing forwards in the crease, and this time in burns them.

- Subban was at least near Ruutu, his partner was literally off in the corner, for some reason. Yes, it was Doug Murray.

- Habs had 54% Fenwick after 20 minutes. With shots on goal this period now 8-2 Carolina, that advantage is almost certainly gone. Miserable period for Montreal.

- Habs accumulative Fenwick now barely north of 40%, which means they're probably around 73% in the second. That's how bad the Habs have been.

- Eller quite simply has lost his game. It's just totally, totally lost - and I'm not sure what can possibly be done to salvage it.

- Carolina running away with this. Habs just chasing, chasing. Fruitlessly, chasing.

- Signing off now - but the way Habs are playing, I fully expect the final score to be at least a 2 or 3 goal margin for Carolina. No contest tonight.

First Period:

- So Bouillon gets a start tonight, 7 defense dressed, for reasons that are of compete mystery to yours truly. I guess to keep Frankie from completely rusting up.

- Sums up their seasons. Bourque with empty net wraparound on the backhand, but fails to deposit the puck in because Lars Eller is standing in the way. 

- More reasons why Ryan White's value is vastly undervalued. His work on that (and others) PK.

- Oy. Pacioretty hits the Canes net hard, looks to have sustained a serious injury. Has left the game.

- Ergo the folly starting 7 defense. If a forward goes down, especially a leading one, is hurt, then you've lost an entire line.

- Weise it appears, will take Pacioretty's spot on the DD line. Habs don't have any room to maneuver.

- meek period all around. Canadiens though, are more concerned with Pacioretty's injury status. Without him, this offensively starved hockey team will be doubly affected. 


Game Day Yay:

Last game before the Olympic Break. I'll be covering this game. The first half, give or take. Then like the rest of the NHL, I'M OUT.

Habs look to pad their playoff lead tonight. They really ought win this game, but you know ... the Habs ...

Puck drops at 6:10 EST. LAST GAME FOR LIKE ALMOST EVER. So watch it.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Game Fifty-Eight: Canucks vs. Habs

Third Period:

- Canucks 53% Corsi 60% Fenwick 5v5 (close) through 40. Don't see that corresponding with what I've witnessed tonight (more even), but still those are troubling figures. Forbidding 3rd period lays ahead.

- Corsi differential: Briere -8, Gorges -9, Subban -9. Ouch.

- Bournival hasn't returned. I'm hoping his injury isn't concussion related. His absence would be a significant loss.

- Ryan White looks like an entirely different player since his return, for all the right reasons.

- Pacioretty don't need no stinkin' penalty shots. Desharnais outstanding puck control to carry to the slot and make a pretty dish for the easy goal. Critical insurance goal for the Habs.

- So Habs generate mounds of momentum taking firm control of the game and then send out too many men. Hoo boy.

- Canucks forced to open up, generating odd man rushes, and Plecks banks one off Edlers skate past Luongo. Stranglehold 4-1 lead.

- Vancouver's biggest issue by far tonight is how casual and sloppy their defense has performed, especially with zone coverage. There are no quick or easy fixes for that kind of poor play. If this is indicative of what's been hampering the Canucks the past month, they'll be in tough for a playoff spot.

- According to ESPN, Pacioretty is the first player in NHL history to have been awarded two penalty shots in the same period. Grats Max! We'll try to forget how those attempts went.

- Edler scores on the powerplay. Doug Murray once again just standing around watching. 4-2.

- Here's Murray with that stellar brick wall PK play.:

- What's really frustrating is that you just know Therrien has bought into the Murray myth of effective crease defense. The reality is, Murray is as slow as he is completely indifferent about using muscle to protect his goaltender. It's inexcusable.

- Habs opening up the gates and letting Price do the hard work. 40+ shots for Vancouver, and counting.

- Canucks not giving up. Can't argue, the shot volume has been pretty one-sided. Empty net now.

- Vancouver blitzing Price. Habs in front ridiculously passive.

- Parches ends it with a hat trick. Imagine if he had converted on the penalty shots. By far the Habs best forward right now. By far.

- Well, it's more of the same old story. Habs outplayed by their opponent, but are carried to victory on the shoulders of the few. Tonight it was Pacioretty and Price who dominated and pushed Montreal to a win. The fundamental challenges this team faces are the same. The metrics are unchanged. This team has surrendered possession, and leans almost totally on its netminding to win games.

Second Period:

- Emelin called for phantom trip on Hansen about 8 feet in front of the official. Canucks with 4 straight minutes of PP going.

- Luongo game saving save on Prust. Going down 3-0 with the man advantage would have been lights out.

- How big was that save? Higgins redeflects a point shot off his leg and it's 2-1. Murray was just looking on, allowing Higgins to do as he pleased.

- Habs first goal has been credited to Pacioretty, FYI.

- Not a good night so far for Gorges. -8 Corsi differential at this point. Subban -7. Meanwhile, Canucks have totally taken control first five minutes, pelting Price from all directions.

- Habs wounded starting to pile up. Emelin, then Murray and now Bournival. Very physical game.

- Richardson dives, officials bite. Again. Torts approves, of course.

- Canucks defense just so slow, and Patches gets a penalty shot.

- Miised by seven feet. Close.

- Oh wow. Another penalty shot for Pacioretty. Incredible. That's gotta be a record.

- Even more disasterous attempt. Oh man, if Habs lose this game, Max won't get any sleep.

- Erik Cole had two penalty shots in a game while in Carolina - back in 2007. However, two shots for the same player in the same period? That might have been the first time that's ever occurred.

-  Pacioretty the first Habs player in history to record two penalty shots in one game. It only took 104 years. Pacioretty almost certainly the first player in NHL history to get two in the same period.

- Well that was an interesting period within an interesting game. Pacioretty's freaky record overshadowing a period that was largely controlled by the Canucks. Price as usual holding the fort, but Habs will need to come out much strong and more aggressively in the 3rd, or Vancouver is likely to even the score.

First Period:

- Picking up from Tuesday night, another very strong 4th line shift. Bournival with a pretty feed to Weise, Luongo makes a tough save off a 7 foot backhander. Just keep playing them, Michel.

- Higgins gives Emelin an elbow to the face near the blue line, draws blood. Nasty hit. 

- David Booth cheap shot artist. Somebody needs to grab him by the neck and set him straight.

- Kessler hauls down Plekanec who was in fine position to receive a pass and slid it past Luongo. Torts mocks the official for not calling a dive.

- Habs quickly take advantage, Gallagher an excellent screen off Subban point shot. We think it's Subban who's scored, 1-0. Puck movement on that PP was excellent.

- 4th line strikes!!! Luongo fumbles the puck, seemingly claiming interference, but White at the right place at the right time to make an easy deposite into the net. 2-0.

- Habs dominating possession in the period. I shall stop my complaints if this patterns remains.

- Most excellent opening 20 minutes - Habs controlling the puck and tempo, transition significantly better, and the net result is a reflective 2 goal lead. Very pleased with what I saw. 

P.M. Update: TRADE!!!! WITH THE KINGS. HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS. The Habs just landed .... [drum roll] ... Robert Czarnik in ... return ... for ... Steve Quailer.

So ... yeah. That happened.

Okay, when people who are actually paid to cover the Canadiens write nonsense like this, you know there's a problem.

The problem being of course, there are far too many in Montreal who write about hockey that haven't the slightest clue how the game is played - either well, or in this instance, poorly.

- No team practice this morning - just an optional skate.

- Non-related Habs news, Martin St. Louis was named to the Olympic team as a replacement for Steven Stamkos. Also, much speculation this morning that the Oilers are going to send Sam Gagne to Los Angeles. Edmonton is basically ripe for the picking, but their needs right now are primarily defensive. We've already given away a piece of that.


Habs practice lines this morning from Brossard:

Line 1: Brière/Plekanec/Gionta
Line 2: Parros/Desharnais/Gallagher (Parros I'm assuming, is filling in for Pacioretty?)
Line 3: Prust/Eller/Bourque
Line 3: Bournival/White/Weise



And just to cheer you up, here's a nice little piece on how the Habs probably got fleeced by shipping Raphael Diaz over to the Canucks.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Game Fifty-Seven: Flames vs. Habs

Third Period:

- Broken record, Carey Price carrying to load with almost no goal support. Habs holding on so far.

- Over the last 20 periods and 8 minutes, The Habs' offense has scored 7 goals in front of Price. Seven.

- Emelin is simply incapable of consistently moving the puck out of his zone. That's probably his biggest, among numerous, failings this season.

- Flames pressing, Habs very much on the defensive hanging on for dear life. Don't know if Price can hold this for the 5 remaining minutes.

- Flames aren't going away. Doing everything possible to keep the puck and pressure on in the Habs zone. You'd have to figure Price needs to make one more big save to out this away.

- Habs have won two clean draws, electing to ice the puck each time. Dumb, dumb.

- Cammalleri gets nailed for a borderline hook with 30 seconds left. Wow.

- Deshaenais. Goodnight. Another shutout for Price. Same story - Habs muster out a win but their fundamental problems remain. 

Second Period:

- Puck under Price, I think it came within 2 inches of crossing. Flames with early control in the second, they're playing an ideal road game so far. Close checking, patiently awaiting opportunities as they present themselves.

- Holy moly, Lars Eller called for handling the puck from the faceoff circle for the second time this season. What was he thinking???

- Briliant two minute long 5-on-3 kill by the Habs. That's a PK just about at its very best.

- That might have been the best penalty kill by this franchise in years. It really was that good.

- Plekanec unit easily the most dangerous out there. Agonizingly close a few times changing the circle into a straight line.

- Bourque just can't quite do it. It's the epitomy of a career. Just. Not. Quite. Able.

- Bourque rushes, splits the D, can't get a shot on goal. It's just not gonna happen.

- The Doug Murray suckage not nearly as bad as Sunday vs. the Jets. But he's still slow and soft in the crease. That will and can never change.

- The gods have tossed Rene Bourque a bone. Finally. 1-0 Habs.

- P.K. can't bury an open net. It's been that way for him since his Olympic selection.

- Habs marginally more effective transition team - their possession not the usual disaster tonight. It's been good enough to provide them a slender 40 minute lead. But it won't be nearly enough to carry them to the finish line. Hoping the White line gets more shifts during the final frame. 

First Period:

- Ryan White returns to action tonight, which is a pleasent surprise.

- Solid first shift for the White/Wiese/Moen line, creating a couple of decent scoring chances, and generating precious energy for a team that's had very little going since early December.

- Habs definately the stronger starting team first 4 minutes.

- White line 2/2 for good shifts.

- I think we've got something cooking here. Habs 4th line 3 shifts, each very strong. White flying out there.

- Both teams blocking shots like crazy, unsurprisingly. We may not reach 10 combined total before this period is done.

- Price guilty of too many sloppy giveaways the past couple of games. Explanation? Who knows.

- Excellent (exceptionally boring) road period for the Habs. 9 total shots for both teams. Ugh. I'm sure the Flames are quite happy with that result.


- Ryan White joined the team at practice this morning, playing along side Bournival and Weise - Moen taking an optional. One assumes that when White is 100%, that he, Moen and Weise will comprise the Habs' new 4th line unit.

Practice lines:

Line 1: Brière/Plekanec/Gionta
Line 2: Pacioretty/Desharnais/Gallagher
Line 3: Bourque/Eller/Prust
Line 4: Bournival/White/Weise



Flames Lines:

Line 1: Hudler/Backlund/Stempniak
Line 2: Cammalleri/Marahan/Colborne
Line 3: Bouma/Stajan/Jones
Line 4: Westgarth/Galiardi/McGrattan


- Christian Thomas was sent back to Hamilton today, to clear the way for Weise, who'll start tomorrow against Calgary.


Habs have shipped Raphel Diaz to Vancouver in return for Dale Weise.

Diaz has been a healthy scratch for nearly a month, so the deal isn't a surprise. Weise is a bigger winger who's been a chronic scoring underachiever. Call Weise Rene Bourque light, if you like. But my initial reaction is that Weise is just about the last thing this team needed to add. I'd have taken a draft pick.

Actually, the Diaz trade was completely unnecessary to begin with. For two months Therrien subjected him to numerous visits to the pressbox in favor of playing guys like Francis Bouillon and Doug Murray. The net result was not only a far weaker Habs blue line, but the complete depletion of Diaz' market value.

Bottom line - this was asset mismanagement, and the Canadiens' organization walks away from the deal a weaker organization.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Game Fifty-Six: Jets vs. Habs

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you NHL officiating at its finest. We may hear more about this later today or tomorrow. But clearly, something very, very wrong took place with not a single interference call made. The League may wish that this play blows over, but the Habs are collectively furious this afternoon, and are demanding some kind of an official explanation.

The deep zone official, by the way, was Wes McCauley, who's been at NHL-level since 2007.

Meanwhile ...

Third Period:

- Soul-sucking error by Price there misplacing the puck behind the net. Jets lead. Now seriously wondering if Price really ought never play these back to backs.

- Losing track of the number of odd man breaks created today via poor Murray pinches. 5? 6?

- Subban just doesn't look right. Isn't slapping the puck, seems inclined to wrist it toward the net. 

- Jets more or less sitting on this. Fair bit of time left on the clock.

- Desharnais really struggled with the basics today. Puck handling, passing, not shooting. Etc.

- Gallagher not allowed to clear the zone. At least four clear cut interference calls. Nothing called. Inexcusable.

- Habs loss today indicative of this team's inability to execute fundamentals. The team continues to be broken. I see little reason to believe this team will eventually finish the season north of 90 points.

Second Period:

- Markov sent off for interference 18 seconds in on what might be the most marginal call I've seen all season. It's as if the decision was previously made that the Jets turn was next on the powerplay.

- Sweet Jesus Murray has terrible decision making abilities in his zone. Chases after pucks he has no hope of retrieving, creating numerous odd man Jets chances.

- He might not be much of a scoring threat any more, but Gionta has been passing out of his mind the past few games. 

- Puck passing is, by the way, a no-no under the current Habs "system". If you're passing it means you aren't dumping.

- Murray is a complete train wreck today. He needs to be removed before any more damage occurs.

- Gionta. Crossbar. Montoya brought extra horseshoes today.

- If every Hab was Gallagher this team would probably never lose. 

- Gionta hits the crossbar. Again. But this time it goes in. Montoya's luck runs out. Tie game.

- We have an on ice official with an itchy trigger finger today. More marginal holding calls, this time Gallagher.

- Entertaining period - Price surrendering a pretty iffy goal but still, good duel happening here. Doug Murray has been absolutely brutal this afternoon - his performance so poor it's parody. How Therrien continues to give him regular shifts is just astounding. The Jets are getting quality scoring chances nearly every time Murray steps on the ice, and will continue to do so in the 3rd. If they do score or win, it'll likely be because of his incompetence.

First Period:

- Hah. Jets of all teams start their backup. How far we've fallen.

- Habs totally flat footed to start the game. Bushels of defensive giveaways, soft slot coverage, faceoff losses, icings. Michel Therrien hockey.

- Nearly no skate marks on the Jets' side of the ice. Just dismal.

- Habs chasing the puck, fruitlessly. Legs aren't moving, nobody seems capable of even completing a pass. 

- Habs in über dump the puck mode today. Gonna be a long, tortuous afternoon. Michel Therrien hockey.

- Jets early Corsi right now is 75%. Numbers don't lie. It's been that bad.

-  Montoya making a great save off the rebound. Helped that Mr. No-Finish took the shot.

- Speed is a good thing. Beaulieu draws a penalty. If this team would only utilize its strengths and assets properly.

- Pretty good powerplay for the Habs. Simplified, as I've been nattering on for weeks asking them to do. Montoya with key saves to keep it scoreless.

- powerplay has helped Habs to get their legs moving. Game far more even now.

- Montoya doing a pretty good 2013-14 Carey Price impersonation today.

- Lars Eller has zero going his way right now. Luck, confidence and arguably, smarts. Passing to nowhere in particular, not taking the shot. Zero.

- Jets had 7-0 lead on the shot clock to start. Habs 12-3 since then. So, significant rebound there, impressive, even. Beaulieu drawing a powerplay seemed to spark the team. So consider that period salvaged.


Yeah, who cares.

It's Sunday morning. It's way too early. So this pregame post is admittedly tossed together. So ... very ... sleepy ....

Anyway, here's a nice little line from yesterday:

G. ParrosR00001400000-0:000:001:43

Barely 90 seconds. What's the freakin' point? Are you telling me that 90 seconds of this guy against one of the less penalized teams in the League is a better use of resources than, say ... ANYONE else? Louis Leblanc? Charles Hudon??


So today, the Jets. Yay! We always beat them. Sorry, what's that?  They've won 7 of their last 10? Ah, crap.

Habs can't mess around much longer, losing games they ought to have been owning. Looking down the road with games against Vancouver, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix ... the hill to climb is only getting steeper.

Today, it's another very winnable game. Even though they've been on a role of late, the Jets still have a thin bench, still have questionable netminding, are on the road.

But these are the Habs, who looked so fine against the Bruins, and for the most part, looked pretty terrible yesterday against Tampa Bay - the final score as usual, masked by the ridiculously good goaltending provided by Carey Price.

Speaking of, Price will play today, in his first back-to-back games in quite awhile. Jets will probably go with Ondrej Pavelec, who also happens to have a .900 SV%, which ranks him 2nd worst in the League amongst goaltenders who've played 30 or more games (the Oilers' Devan Dubnyk is worst).

Habs players to watch out for - Rene Bourque, believe it or not, has looked pretty good since it became a public spectacle that the Habs were desperately trying to trade him to someone, anyone who'd be willing.

Also, watch for a P.K. rebound game. Yesterday was not one of his finer outings. Lots of defensive lapses, turnovers, muffed up passes on the powerplay, etc.

Puck drops at 1:10 EST. Superbowl Sunday. Yawn. Who cares.