Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Game Seventy-Four: Habs vs. Preds


- Habs first have to get out of Therrien mode. Easier said than done.

- P.K. called for a trip. Ford erg not called for an obvious embellishment.

- And of course, the Preds powerplay, which has been awful all night, scores. Even worse, it's Forsberg, who ought be in the box. Whatever. A point. We'll take it. 


- Preds have been sloppy with the puck all night, this time it's a giveaway to Plekanec at centre, and Rinne is forced to make a tough save off a snap shot.

- Habs breakouts have been impressive tonight. Pateryn a perfect pass to Desharnais at centre which generates two high % scoring chances on Rinne.

- Preds benefit from a ridiculous break, Ellis simply firing the puck towards Price from the line, Petry instinctively gets his body in front, puck takes weird bounce and hops past Price. Tie game, but only by fluke.

- Prust has really turned his game around the past two weeks. For whatever reason.

- That fluke Preds goal has Price fired up. Like. Really, really fired up.

- Habs playing Therrien hockey again, over-relaying on the boards for zone clearances. 6 minutes left. 

- Galchenyuk is long overdue for a big goal, but he's got to follow through. Had the game on his stick, but couldn't lift it over Pinne's pad. 

- Preds get big-time benefit of puck luck in the third to send us to OT. Regardless of the final result, Habs have played a very good road game in an arena that's awfully tough to win in this year.


Lots of karma, if not a few insanity points, to Emelin for throwing himself in front of a Weber slapshot. Emelin smarting rather badly on the bench.

- Seth Jones completely mucks up a loose puck in front of Rennie, creating a terrible turnover. Gallagher says thanks a lot. Tie game. Habs would be wise to learn that an agressive forecheck does pay dividends against this Preds team.

- Habs continue to play a smart road game. Patient, tight and apart from Nashville's first goal, tidy defense in their zone. Possession is also very solid.

- Price with a crazy lucky break as Preds play the 3-on-1 perfectly, Fisher a gaping net, but deflects the killing pass wide. Should be 2-1 Nashville.

- Plekanec has made two very bad terrible horrible turnovers this game, the first led to the Preds first goal, the second should have resulted in their second if it hadnt been for Fisher's whiff.

- Habs first powerplay looked pretty good, especially puck movement. If it wasn't for some excellent Preds shot blocking, the Habs probably score.

- Shea Weber is the next to join the terrible turnover club. Parenteau with excellent work to win the puck and make an easy to pass to Desharnais who is totally alone in front of Rinne. Not even Desharnais would pass up that shot. 2-1. 

- Habs like Saturday night, the much better team against a reasonably formidable opponent. Whether they will, like Saturday, sit on it for the 3rd, is yet to be determined.

- How/why did the Oilers not sign Petry to a 135 year contract? Even six or seven more. No way they can replace this guy. He's just so damn good.

- Habs clearly outskating the Preds at both ends of the ice. It's been a surprisingly passive performance by the Preds so far.

- Another impressive period for the Habs. This game very similar to the Sharks on Saturday. Excellent performances by Habs defense, in particular Petry. Looking at the scoreboard a win tonight might get the Habs back into serious consideration for the President's Trophy. But 20 minutes is a long time. 


- Wonder how good a player Ribeiro would have been if not for the personal/substance issues. Amazing. the Preds have put up with his antics this long.

- Preds first powerplay rather underwhelming. Habs are allowing them free zone entry, but Nashville hasn't taken advantage.

- Pekka Rinne looking a little unsure with the puck. Meanwhile Carey Peice - well you know ... the usual.

- Price totally bowled over by Fisher in his crease three feet away from a staring official. Unbelievable.

- Preds have been terrible entering the zone, but that doesn't seem to matter when Habs defense is too busy rolling out red carpet. 1-0. Ekholm. Price bowled over again in his crease. Habs organization playing with fire against a ridiculously agressive Preds opponent.

- If officials refuse or arr incompetent to protect Price, then Habs will have to start taking numbers and the game into their own hands.

- As defensemen, Habs best two the past 10 days have been Petry and Pateryn. Not even close. At this point, getting harder to see how Gonchar gets much more action this season. That might also extend to Tom Gilbert.

- After 20, pleased with the period, Habs had a great period start but got tripped up by a couple of penalties, which is irony since Price was almost certainly the victim of avoidable contact that wasn't punished by the officials. Habs just need to stay the course, although they really need to send the Preds a pretty strong message that Price is off limits.  


We just couldn't resist. Remember Sergei Kostitsyn? Actually, remember anybody with the last name of Kostitsyn? Of course you do, because as a Habs fan, you've been spending the past three years trying to forget. Sergei, whom the last we heard is now playing for Ak Bars Kazan in the nearly-defunct KHL (just yell that out ... ACK!! BARZ!!! KAAAAAZAN!! ... it's lots of fun), was part of a new almost legendary play of indifference when he decided to just ...well .. you watch the video.

Anyway, that was two years ago. Since that time, the Preds have gone from a non-playoff team to a possible President's Trophy award winner this year, although that prospect has taken a hit over the past month, as the Preds, after going the entire season without as much as a two game losing streak. Since February 26, Nashville has gone 3-8-1, which has taken them from the lofty heights of being the top team in the NHL, to now battling for third place in the Central Division.

It was just over a month ago that the Preds' Pekka Rinne, whom for the longest time many were saying was a good bet as this season's Vezina winner, has hit a roadblock, winning just 3 of his past 11 starts, with a less-than-stellar .910 SV% over that time.

Pekke, like the rest of the team, have struggled, and maybe it was overdue, with the Preds riding one of the highest PDO's for most of the year. It's a situation that Habs fans can certainly relate to - a season of exceeded expectations, although unlike the Preds, the Habs haven't quite had a similar period of decline. It's close, though. This month, the Habs are riding a most mediocre 5-5-1 streak, which has only barely kept them in the running for top spot in the Atlantic Division. For how much longer remains an unanswered question. It's games like tonight where the picture becomes clearer whether the Habs finish as high as first in the East, or as low as 4th.

So it's Renne vs. Price. Not too shabby. Will we see more than 4 goals scored? Probably not. But, it should be an interesting and competitive game.

Puck drops at 7:40 EST.

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