Saturday, 28 February 2015

Game Sixty-Two: Leafs vs. habs


- Possession through 40 minutes unchanged. 36%. Just dismal.

- Desharnais and Gallagher vs five Leafs in the crease, and Desharnais scores because the Leafs are horrible. 3-0. Gallagher with goaltender interference, but he gets away with it.

- Brandon Prust has clearly, somewhere along the way this season, lost a major step in his skating ability.

- Down goes Dion. And so easily too. By the 5'7" David Desharnais. Draws a sucker's penalty. What a captain. What a leader.

- Did Kadri know there was a game tonight?

- Phaneuf fakes a penalty, then gets nailed a minute later for mouthing off to the ref. Captains don't do that. Leaders don't do that. Dion does that.

- Pacioretty with selfless pass to Desharnais with an empty net. He could have easily scored in his drive for 40. That's how good this team's roster is to each other.

- Only question now is whether Price can pick up his 6th shutout of the season. Its been another night at the office for him.

- I'll end with two words and three letters: Carey Price. MVP.


- Habs possession in the first even worse than anticipated. 36%. Against the Leafs. Ouch.

- It's no contest: Pacioretty skates circles around the Leafs first line defense, Bozak/Phaneuf. Draws a powerplay.

- The passes to Price are nearly shots. That's how confident his teammates are in him.

- After a quick start to the period, Habs are right back to sitting on their lead, and letting the Leafs take the initiative. This team never learns, it seems.

- Habs have apparently borrowed and implemented a soccer strategy, using Price as a receiver/passer. It looks dangerously brilliant, and had been extremely effective tonight. I wonder if this will become a regular thing?

- Leafs shots have been so non-threatening this period that it appears as though Price would like to join his mates on a rush just to make things interesting. Not a joke. 

- Carey Price in some other world right now. His teammates are basically going through the motions, which is kind of a travesty. 

- Really disappointed by much of what I saw in the 2nd. Again this team, which is one shot away from knocking out their opponent, collectively chose to just be passive, thereby allowing the awful Leafs multiple scoring opportinities on Price, who was practically the only CH who bohered punching the clock. Really is unforgivable how this team takes its goaltender for granted in handling the workload, night after night after night.


- Habs get off to an awful start, and then via an awful Leafs breakdown, Manny Malhotra - yes, Manny Malhotra, scores an actual goal.

- Leafs crease defense is a nightmare. Barely AHL capable, based on what I've seen the first 5 minutes of this game.

- Phil Kessel, you think you can beat Carey Price with a 35 foot wrister? Seriously?

- Habs defense doing nice keystone cops routine in their zone. Only Leafs offensive incompetence has kept them off the scoreboard.

- Gilbert's third line defense is adequate, but he has the tendency of being a space cowboy with his game awareness.

- Habs on delayed penalty, Plecks off the wing with the Leafs going through the routine of waiting to touch the puck, beats Bernier blocker side with a wrister. Leafs look totally deflated now, after starting the period strong.

- Quietly, Subban has risen as the lead candidate for a Norris. Now tied for the points lead among defensemen.

- Man, the Habs and two goal leads. The instant they get one,  the bench books vacation tickets to Bali. 

- Habs were clearly outpossesed by the woeful Leafs in the 1st period, but lead basically because Carey Price is great, and Johnathan Bernier isn't. 


Ugh. Oof. Leafs fans. Man, just when you think you've kicked them enough while they're down, suddenly they rise up from the deepest burrows of despair as though they have the world by the tail.

This week was a pretty good one for the centre of the universe. The Leafs not only won a game (it's true!), they were also, amazingly, able to unload one of the worst contracts ever granted to a National Hockey League player, by somehow convincing the Columbus Blue Jackets to take David Clarkson's 7 year, $7 million/season contract, thereby granting the Leafs the ability to begin rebuilding their team. Otherwise, with Clarkson on the payroll, the Leafs were going nowhere until the year 2020.

Ugh. It just makes a guy sick.

So lick it up Leafs fans, enjoy your small moments of glory and happiness. Grasp at whatever twig of hope happens to pass you by. Over here in Habsland, we're focused on slightly larger sea bass, as the Canadiens continue to prepare for the post-season - more specifically, finishing as high as possible in the Eastern Conference standings.

Tonight, the Habs seek to maintain their 1st place Eastern Conference standing with a win over the endlessly hapless Maple Leafs. The Canadiens will welcome back the services of Sergei Gonchar, who's been out the past couple of weeks with some injury that was never fully disclosed, as per idiotic team policy. To make room for Gonghar, the Habs shipped Jarred Tinordi back to Hamilton on Friday.

With a win tonight, the Habs will increase their winning streak to four games. They're gonna need every victory they can get, because March will not be coming in like a lamb for the Canadiens, as they hit the road for a brutal west coast trip to face the Ducks, Kings, and Sharks. Also on the venue in March are games against the Islanders, three games against the Lightening, the Predators, and the Jets. Yeah, we knew well in advance that March wasn't going to be a fun month for the Habs. Tonight, the February vacation comes to an end.

Also nice to end vacation with a little dessert. That being, the Leafs.

Leafs will start Johnathan Bernier, while the Habs will counter with the best goaltender on the planet, and this years most valuable player in the NHL.

Puck drops at 7:15 EST.

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