Saturday, 28 March 2015

Game Seventy-Six: Panthers vs. Habs


- Habs have not been good in OT the past six weeks, which is always a bad sign heading into the playoffs. Speaking of, if they do score a winner, a spot is mathematically secured.

- Panthers take stupid stupid penalty In OT. Hoo boy.

- Obvious move would be for Therrien to take a timeout to put out the guys he wants. 

- Doesn't matter, Pacioretty finishes it off. Habs officially are in the post season.


- Both teams being extremely careful to start to period, feeling each other out, waiting for other guy to make the mistake. Habs are getting soundly outplayed in the neutral zone, so ice is tilting away from the Canadiens.

- Seems like folly to put Emelin out with Jagr on. But what do I know?

- Pateryn pricing himself to be just as physically capable as Emelin. Except for one thing. He's actually a good defenseman.

- Florida's edge in the neutral zone paying dividends here, as they have generated the bulk of scoring chances in this period. Habs really flirting with disaster.

- Desharnais line is a mess tonight. Almost totally ineffective offensively. Much like Thursday night when Desharnais spent most of the night with his head in the clouds.

- Fans getting their money's worth final five minutes of this period. Both Luongo and Price outstanding.


- Habs start the period off strongly, hemming Panthers in their zone. Starting to wonder if 2 would be the number requires to clinch.

- Nevermind that. Flynn loses his man, Barkov, who on a nifty pass from Jagr, finds himself all alone and beats Price with a nifty backhander. I said it earlier, if Flynn is a defensive liability, what exactly is his purpose?

- Markov/Subban pairing (especially P.K.) has been very sloppy in their zone tonight. If not for Price, the Panthers could be up 2 because of them.

- Therrien, for some bizarre rationale, is matching the Flynn line against the Barkov line. I have no idea what that's going to produce other than Florida scoring chances.

- And Barkov puts Florida in the lead with a redeflect, Emelin way too passive protecting the crease. Habs conservative ways and perplexing line matching killing them in the period.

- Ah, finally Galchenyuk hits the scoresheet, raising the puck tight on the post, a goal that Luongo shouldn't let in. Game is quickly tied.

- After 40 minutes, Florida not doing themselves favours tonight taking some dumb penalties, which has directly led to both of Montreal's goals. The Habs in turn, not doing themselves any favours with disorganized zone coverage around Carey Price, which has led to both of Florida's goals. 


- DSP is a healthy scratch. To make way for Brian Flynn. You know you're nearing bottom when ...

- I'm pretty sure that Bergevin brought Flynn over assuming he wouldn't be a defensive liability. Yet, here we are.

- Desharnais is consistently bad carrying the puck inside the opposing zone. Doesn't seem to have any plan besides "don't shoot".

- Looks more and more like the Habs have already shelved the "be the better team" approach we saw last two games. Spending a good time in their own zone, a recording we've heard dozens of times this season.

- Habs may not reach five shots on goal in the period, and this against a Panthers team that isn't doing anything special defensively. So back to Therrien hockey, it is then.

- Pateryn destroys Hayes along the boards with a devastating check. Hayes breaks his stick in half in anger, gets two for unsportsmanlike. But Pateryn. Wow.

- Habs powerplay lots of passing, not nearly enough shots on Luongo. Eventually Habs catch a break as a Petry shot deflects to Lars Eller who fires it into an open net. 

- Montreal has apparently woken up from its 15 minute funk, last five minutes they've had the puck mainly in Panthers zone.

- Canadiens benefit from lack of discipline by the Panthers last half of the first period, surrendering possession and tempo to the Habs after dominating it for a good portion of the frame. Panthers seem to lack focus at a time of the year where there are no margins for error. 


Can we have a game where we aren't playing someone totally desperate for a victory? Just one?

Following a disappointing 5-2 loss on Thursday night to the outplayed Winnipeg Jets, the Habs take their mediocre March act back home to the Bell Centre tonight, where they face off against the Florida Panthers, who are running out of games in their faint quest to grab the last wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.

Tonight's game will feature Roberto Luongo, who the Habs missed the last time these two teams met, due to an injury. Luongo loves to play in his hometown, and tonight he'll have additional motivation as he aims to win his 400th NHL career game.

The Panthers are pretty healthy, with forward Nick Bjugstad now sidelined for the rest of the season following back surgery earlier this week. Otherwise, the Panthers bring forward an anemic offense, mediocre-rated defense, terrible powerplay, and solid goaltending. In other words, they have a lot in common with their opponent tonight.

Over in Habsland, it's not all doom-and-gloom, even though the Canadiens have come up empty their past two starts. The Habs have strung together two impressive games, albeit in defeat, where their possession numbers exceeded 50%, and shot totals greater than 30. So there are definite signs that this club is moving in the right direction as we near the playoffs. Whether or not these numbers are sustained moving forward, is the greater question.

So the puck drops tonight at 7:15 EST. The Panthers basically have to run the table to have a decent shot at a playoff spot, while the Habs, if they wish to maintain a high placement in the Conference, need to start stringing together victories in a hurry. There are just seven games remaining in the regular season. Victories are getting important.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, even anonymously. All I ask is that you behave, and in support of good taste, avoid the use of course language, or express opinions that are just plain silly (racist, sexist, etc.)