Thursday, 15 January 2015

Game Forty-Three: Habs vs. Senators


- Yeah I know, faceoff specialist yadda yadda, abut there's no way you'll convince me that Malhaltra benefits this team and its fourth line than say, a ChristianThomas. Beyond taking draws, he's mostly a dearth.

- Therrien's line juggling, including moving Galchenyuk to the wing, Desharnais back to centre, ain't working. And I mean by "ain't working" as NOT AT ALL.

- At this point I do believe Therrien is wearing a blindfold and is generating lines by touching random players on the shoulder. That's all he's got to offer, I guess.

- Nine minutes left. This is the point where the Sens start to implode, right?

- Parenteau won't let the Sens collapse. Takes a very, very stupid high sticking penalty. That's basically his contribution tonight.


- Pacioretty goes in hard, falls, appears to take a hard bump into the post with his knee.

- Karlsson. Top corner. Habs, especially Malhaltra and Parenteau, get caught sleeping. Gilbert also way out of position. Lots of muck up to be shared. 3-1. Methinks this is headed towards blowout territory.

- Therrien drawing names out of a hat to construct his 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines. Galchenyuk has been moved to the wing. Why? I guess because this is his idea of good coaching. 

- Habs on their second powerplay, still waiting for Beaulieu to finally score his first. He's come so close so many times.

- Forget that. Markov muffs it up and the line and is forced to trip. Probably shouldn't double shift him so quickly. That was a tired legs penalty.

- Parenteau really has fallen off the face of the earth, hasn't he? Not being helped by being subjected to poor line combinations by Therrien.

- Remember how good the Habs powerplay looked about 23 hours ago? Man, that seems like a distant memory now.

- Well, I guess that wasn't quite as bad a period as the first, but it still wasn't very good. Habs outshooting Sens 2-to-1, but a lot of that came as a result of some poor penalties taken by Ottawa forwards. Still don't see a whole lot of hope that the Habs will (again) salvage something out of nothing in the third period.


- Well, that feels familiar. Another terrible start for the Habs. Hoffman a point shot, not overly difficult, Tokarski kicks in straight out to a streaking and un spotted Zibanejed, and it's 1-0.

- Yup. Bad Habs showing up tonight. Five minutes in, shots are 7-0 Sens. Looks like the Habs are going to take a hammering courtesy the back to back starts.

- If current trends continue, Sens will outshoot the Habs 66-18 tonight. 

-:When Emelin is your first food scoring chance 14 minutes into the game that tonight probably isn't going to be your night.

- Complete neutral zone muckup between Cowen and Ceci gifts Pacioretty a gift break, a wrister that Anderson probably should have gotten a piece of. Tie game. Sens mess up big time.

- I was all like, wow, Emelin played well last night! Thinking all like, maybe Emelin isn't all bad and stuff, Ya know?? Okay. Nevermind. Total stumble and bumble routine in front of Tokarski, Pageau eventually finding the open net. Emelin hurts the team again, costing them another goal. Again. 2-1.

- I was joking earlier when I said the Sens were on pace to get 66 shots tonight. Now I'm not so sure ....

- Well that really was a terrible period of hockey, with the Sens registering 20 shots. That the Habs are only one goal down represents a minor miracle. 


Oh, Radek Bonk. We miss you. That hair. That pretty boy face. Those expectations of greatness from being drafted number one overall. You really were and are the Ottawa Senators  - so full of expectations, invariably leading to so much disappointment. 

Anywho ... it's a good day, isn't it? Last night the Habs played one of their better games this season, edging out the Jackets on the scoreboard 3-2, but on the ice, more or less completely dominating their opponent. The Plekanec/Pacioretty/Gallagher line was a mind boggling +58 in shot attempts. Even Alexei Emelin wasn't (totally) terrible. 

Can this team keep it up? Can their woeful powerplay continue to produce the same way it was zapping up the red light in the 3rd period last night? Granted, this was Columbus, but they aren't really as bad as their record suggests, what with all their injuries sustained this season.

And tonight, the Habs will take on a similar opponent in Ottawa. The Senators are floating somewhere near the lesser parts of the eastern standards, although unlike the Blue Jackets, they can't use injuries as an excuse. The Jackets have lost 266 man games so far this year, Ottawa just over 100.

Anywho, here's the Sens' lines tonight:

Line 1: MacArthur-Turris-Chiasson Line 2: Hoffman-Zibanejad-Ryan Line 3: Michalek-Pageau-Stone Line 4: Condra-Legwand-Lazar Methot/Karlsson



So what's up with the Sens? Not a lot that's good. They're home after a four game road trip where they picked up just one win, Ottawa bears some distinct similarities to the Habs - they're not much of a possession team, ranked along with the Habs in the bottom third in the League, they're about the same as far as offensive output is concerned - where there are clear difference is defensively - the Habs have given up more than a half goal less per game than has Ottawa. Fundamentally, the game tonight will be decided by how good the Sens defense hold up, versus how poorly the Habs blue line plays.

One other factor - starting goaltending. Ottawa is expected to start their number one, Craig Anderson, while Dustin Tokarski will probably start for Montreal (even more likely considering the hard bump Carey Price took last night in the first period against Columbus).

Puck drops at 7:40, EST.

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