Saturday, 21 February 2015

Game Fifty-Nine: Blue Jackets vs Habs


- Beaulieu has been excellent, both ends of the ice tonight. Arguably his best game of the season.

- Habs not displaying any killer instinct. Feeling is sinking that the tying Columbus goal is inevitable.

- 3rd line doing a good job grinding out the play. That's invaluable when you're trying to hold on to a razor thin lead.

- Since de le Rose was shuffled out of the 4th line in favor of Malhotra, that line's forechecking effectiveness has basically dried up completely. They can't string a single pass together, either.

- Referees have been giving Columbus open season hits on Habs tonight, Calvert with a blind hit on Thomas, who has to take measures into his own hands. Another poor night for officiating.

- Just over five minutes left, Habs in full huddle mode. They're playing not to lose tonight, which is just asking to lose. Going to be a struggle to reach the finish line.

- Therrien would be unwise to play the 4th line from this point forward. They've had a few defensive difficulties tonight.

- Two minutes left, Columbus really turning up the heat now. Hang on.

- Hoo boy. Markov shoots the puck over the glass. Habs couldn't find the dagger this period, and now Columbus with a golden chance.

- Therrein sends out Malhotra. Oy.

- Plekanec to the rescue. Habs hold on, and we all breath a sigh of relief that this team finally beats a lesser light. 


- Can't imagine where this team would be without Markov this season. No where near first place, that's for sure.

- Nightly lazy tripping penalty by Eller. That rolling sound you heard was Therrien's eyeballs.

- Habs using a couple of horseshoes on their PK from Eller's penalty. Columbus having a very strong period so far, showing the Habs how a transition is supposed to work. Score should be tied, but at this trend, it should be soon enough anyway.

- Sekac with hard work and speed off the wing earns a powerplay. It's still baffling how this guy was a healthy scratch for two games and then saddled on the 4th line. How could would this team be if it managed its assets properly?

- Habs have basically stopped trying to posses the puck this period, in other news, their offense has ground to a near complete halt. #TherrienHockey

- Habs looked so confident in the first period. I'm assuming the coach didn't like that, and told his troops to focus on long bomb passes and puck dumps. Habs doing everything possible to fritter this game away. Still one long period left - I'm not particularly confident they won't do exactly the same thing as Thursday night. 


- Brendan Gallagher just drew a tripping penalty. I thought I'd never see this day arrive.

- Habs great looking powerplay, Pacioretty with an awesome one timer off a great Markov pass. Columbus overplaying Subban on the other side, Montreal takes advantage.1-0.

- Looks like the Habs have their shooting shoes on tonight. Pretty aggressive start to this game. Lots of angry guys were in the dressing room after that loss to Florida. Might be taking a lot of frustration out tonight.

- McElhinney really fighting the puck, some significant rebounds given up via point shots. Net crashing might produce more offense. We'll see.

- Columbus really struggling to adjust to Habs rushes. Key is that the Habs are avoiding the dump, which really leverages their speed. Here's hoping the coach doesn't tell the troops to play #TherrienHockey.

- Officials Ghislain Hebert and Tom Kowal really giving Columbus every possible benefit of a doubt this period - looks of hacks and illegal hits not being called.

- Pacioretty. 29th of the season. Almost identical to his first goal - brilliant pass by Beaulieu for a one timer. Nobody seems to be covering him. 2-0.

- Man, what's the deal with this team? Up by two, Habs surrender a sloppy goal while in complete control of the game. Just inexcusable.

- Kind of the same old story for the Canadiens of late. Outplaying their opponent, but giving up preventable goals while laregly in control of the game. Net result - another night, another opponent still competing for victory when they ought be way down on the scoreboard.   


Well, we're playing another lesser light tonight, aren't we? Seems like we can't buy a win against teams the Habs should be owning in their sleep. Next up, it's the Blue Jackets of Columbus. Surely, we'll win this one. Right?

Ah, who knows? The Jackets have been playing some pretty decent hockey this month, winning 3 of their past 4, and 5 of their past 7, which included wins over the (suddenly struggling) Islanders, and a 7-1 thumping of the St. Louis Blues. So this probably won't be a gimme, unlike the games against Buffalo, Edmonton, Senators, and Coyotes. What's that? We lost all of those? Great.

Lineup tonight will almost certainly be the same. Alex Galchenyuk is out again because of the flu. So that means one more night of Manny Malhotra centering the 4th line. Jiri Sekac, who played a wonderful game Thursday night versus the Panthers, will start on the 2nd line next to Thomas Plekanec.

Otherwise, Habs need to really win these games if they want a top Eastern Conference playoff seed, because the March schedule won't be very friendly.

Puck drops at 7:15 EST.

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