Thursday, 19 March 2015

Game Seventy-Two: 'Canes vs. Habs


- Pateryn making veteran-like plays tonight, brilliant strip of Skinnner on a break. Pateryn is certainly giving Habs plenty or reassurance their defense is well set up for at least the next three years.

- If Price gets the shutout, it won't be a waltz. He's made some superb saves this and the second period, mainly because his defense was caught taking naps.

- Habs powerplay continues to be a hot greasy mess. It's as though they've basically given up trying to improve it, because for six months, it hasn't.

- Price benefits from some puck luck, which given his play tonight, he's fully entitled to. Six minutes left.

- Paxioretty from behind the Canes net. Yeek. His 35th. The drive for 40 still very much within reach.

- Price with two Class A saves the last two minutes to stake righteous claim to a shutout. 8th of the season. Not a dominating win, as the Habs played some sloppy hockey, especially in the second period, but at least another step forward towards securing a top seed in the East.


- Not surprisingly, Price nearly lets in an embarrassing goal from a shot from behind his net. Lack of action can often result in these sleepy goals.

- Eller looks in fine form again tonight, unfortunately saddled with DSP, but nonetheless, doing fantastic work to create scoring chances for his wingers. Maybe De la Rose can deliver.

- Habs getting sloppy in their zone, which means Price is now into sweat forming phase of the game. Really no reason why this game shouldn't already be put to bed, but Carolina is sticking around.

- Fantastic backcheck by Parenteau to break up a semi-break, but the Habs still very passive about coming back to their zone, Price forced to make an acrobatic diving save on Stall. Not pleased with what I'm seeing.

Habs picking up some slack since the five minute mark, and whoops, Desharnais just scored during a delayed penalty call, off a sweet pass from Gilbert, Canes defense again MIA. Three, nothing. Finally, Habs deliver a dagger.

- Habs dabbled too much in some turtling for a good chunk of the period, resulting in the overmatched Canes outshooting the Habs. A no-no when your opponent is on the ropes. Anyway, all is more or less fine - Habs in total control,with 20 left. 


- Canes defence, or what exists anyway, looks very slow afoot and soft. Again, no good reason why Habs shouldn't have their way tonight.

- Well there you have it. Habs 4th line swarms the crease, Weise putting home a juicy rebound for a 1-0 early lead.

- Carolina's a mess. Two rebounds surrendered, Gallagher finally buries the puck, the road team more or less standing around. If this is all the Canes are bringing tonight, we could be witnessing a slaughter. 2-0.

- Canes are basically laying out the red carpet for zone entries. Even a rush-adverse team like the Habs can't resist the invitation. Fun in the the Habs are dominating, but it's terrible hockey.

- 15 minutes into the period, Price has yet to be tested. He's definitely in unfamiliar territory.

- Pretty much all Habs in the period. Everything as it should be, given how terrible the Canes are right now. For the first time in forever, Habs breakout looked like a typical NHL team, although we shouldn't be fooled into thinking there's been an internal philosophical shift amongst the coaching. Nonetheless, it's nice to have the luxury of a relatively straightforward game. The rest is simply a matter of not repeating the mistakes made last week, when the Habs twice let their opponent off the carpet, towards eventually losing.


Not a whole lot to talk about tonight. The Habs, by every right, should win this game with eyes half shut. But it's the Habs, and you're never going to know what will happen from one night to the next.

Not many changes for tonight, except for adjustments to the top two lines. Thomas Plekanec will move up to line 1, centring Brendon Gallagher and Max Pacioretty. I can see the rationale behind the adjustment, what with Plekanec's game getting much more consistent, while David Desharnais continues his usual pattern of struggling to produce meaningful offense.

Speaking of, Desharnais will centre Alex Galchenyuk and P.A. Parenteau. Both wingers have been very good the past two weeks, so maybe, just maybe, they can help get Desharnais' productivity going again.

Carey Price starts. Puck drops at 5:40 EST. Tune in, unless you're watching the game that really matters, with Ottawa facing Boston for that final playoff spot.

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