Friday, 2 January 2015

Game Thirty-Eight: Habs vs. Devils


- Eller is a spark plug. Plekanec isn't. Wouldn't it be at least worth a try putting Parenteau on Eller's line?

- Every team plays to block Subban's shot from the line. Devils are sending both point men out to block. Surely there's a way of exploiting this to generate chances down low.

- Dale Weiss' first goal in forever, off a Bournival pass deflecting in off Dale's leg. Kinkaid with iffy positioning. 1-0 Habs.

- Check that. It's Bournival's goal. Sorry Dale.

- Parenteau absolutely leveled at centre ice. Had his head down. Nothing going right for him right now. Not even the fundamentals.

- Textbook defensive play by Gilbert breaking up clear cut Devils 2-on-1. 

- Tremendous shift for Eller line, pinning the Devils in their zone for well over a minute.


- A spirited start for the Habs. One of their better of the season, which isn't saying much.

- Eller line be humming tonight. Keep an eye for that.

- Desharanis once again first line PP. It's NOT working. 

- Nasty accidental high stick by Beaulieu. Fans don't seem to understand when the replay is shown. New Jersey.

- Dave Jackson with a terrible holding call on Eller. If that's the bar for a minor, then an event organizer will be needed to plan the parade to the penalty box tonight.

- Devils really struggle with passing. It's just good enough to maintain puck control, but not good enough to set up decent scoring chances. Which is probably one big reason why their offense is so lowly ranked.

- That said, Habs are being extra terrible feeding to, or carrying through, the neutral zone. It's basically halted any offensive pressure.

- Almost Parenteau, who had a dreadful December, goal scoring wise. Really think he could benefit with a move to another line. Just something to get him going again.

 - Sloppy first period, lots of turnovers both ways, Price sharp as usual, Habs couldn't bury a couple of golden chances. Decent road period but Habs could do better against this decimated Devils roster.


Hoo boy are we hooped. 

Tonight the Habs are faced with the daunting task of taking on the three-headed-coaching-hydra that are the New Jersey Devils. WE'RE DOOMED!

I case you were drifting in a boat somewhere in the south India Ocean recently, you're probably aware that the Devils, in true return to Mickey Mouse fashion, fired capable Pete DeBoer on Boxing Day. This even though the Devils have been plauged not only by injuries for most of the season, but as an organization as a whole, has been slowly driven into the ground by G.M. Lou Lamoriello, who literally has held his job since the Reagan Administration.

So out goes DeBoer from behind the bench, in comes Lamoriello, and coaching reject Adam Oates AND (for some reason) Scott Stevens, who already had served to years of failure as an assistant coach for the Devils.


Anyway, all of this is desperation on the part of Lamoriello, whom everyone assumed, probably even Lou as well, that he'd be G.M. for life in Jersey. Well, that tenure ain't looking so iron-clad anymore. New Jersey is a mess, Lou is the only person who deserves the blame, and unless things somehow miraculously turn around very quickly for this organization, Lamoriello's days as an NHL executive are almost certainly numbered.

So tonight, it's 400 for Carey Price! 400th career start that is. Wow. That's stunning, isn't it? If, somehow, someway, Price can beat the dysfunctional Devils tonight, it'll also be his 200th career NHL win. At this pace, it's not altogether out of the question that Price may finish his goaltending career in the top 5 for all-time victories. Which is to say, unless something unexpected happens, the Habs have a future Hall-of-Fame goaltender starting tonight.

Tonight's game marks the forth stop in a five-game eastern road trip for the Canadiens. It's been going pretty well, thanks much. Three wins out of three, although one could just as easily credit two victories squarely on Price in games against Carolina and the Islanders.

Meanwhile, the Devils, even with the whole bizzare coaching shuffle, continue to struggle. They're 1-2 since DeBoer was fired, and have won just two of their past eleven games. The big issue with the Devils starts and ends with offense - they don't have any. Ergo, the team's near last ranked finish in all major offensive categories including G/PG, 5-5 F/A, and S/GP. The Devils, as usual, are a pretty strong puck possession team, the problem is, they just don't do much with it.

Anyway you stack it, the Habs ought to be favorites to extend their winning streak to five. While Price will start between the pipes for Montreal, while Keith Kinkaid will start for New Jersey.

Puck drops at 7:10 EST.

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