Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Game Four - EC Quarter Final: Habs vs. Sens


- Whomever wins, it's been a great to watch Price and Anderson demonstrate goaltending excellence tonight. I'd rate Price has had the tougher saves, but Anderson has come up big to give his team hope to live one more game.

- DSP was traded to make noise in the opposing team's crease. So far tonight, he's done very little. I sense Therrien is growing impatient with him.

- Weise on the 4th line now. Which means Therrien is going to give DSP a shot for redemption. We'll watch to see if he takes advantage.

- Sens definately more agressive this period - Habs playing very cautious, trying to slow the game down. It's not working.

- Plekanec line has been excellent tonight, generating numerous quality scoring chances on Anderson. Desharnais line - not so much.

- Borowiecki moves so slowly, he's an easy target for hits. He's taken a real beating tonight.

- Yikes. There's the icebreaker. Hoffman converts after Gilbert makes a poor clearance from the corner, and Emelin abandons his position in front of the net. 80% Gilbert's fault, though. 1-0.

- Habs can't mess around, a greasy goal is in order. So far in the third however, they've mustered little. 9 minutes left.

- Gallagher. A monster game tonight. A monster, never give up effort, even more so than his usual.  If only we could bottle that for others who have played a less than inspired game.

 - Yeah. Three minutes left, now is not the time to out out Flynn and Mitchell.

- One area Habs have been dreadful tonight is passing out of their own zone. Lots of missed targets generarting failed transitions and more often than not,  neutral zone turnovers.

- Habs with a whimpering finish to send this to a 5th game. In retrospect, as we feared, the inability to convert on early game powerplays hurt this team dearly. One things for certain, no more DSP on the speciality units. That experiment is futile. 


- More powerplay snakeyes. If the Habs go on to lose this game, we may look back on their continuing inabilty to take advantage of these man advantages as the biggest factor.

- Weise on Desharnais line now, for some reason.

- Drop the damn puck, already.

- Hah. Ryan is called for knocking the puck out of the linesman's hand on the faceoff. He gets called for a technical. 

- Good puck movement on the powerplay, but Habs still can't convert. Not nearly enough crashing of the Sens crease - the Canadiens would be served to do something to get Anderson off his game.

- 5v5, Sens haven't had much to show this period, the Canadiens defense has done well keeping Ottawa's forwards outside, and Price is sucking up every puck tossed his way. Routine period for him so far.

- Emelin with a useless body clearance in the crease after the Sens have already had their scoring chance on Price. Another dumb penalty.

- Oh, man. Anderson with desperation save off a Prust shorthanded break. That's a key play. Remember it.

- Price with tremendous saves on Ottawa powerplay, which is looking increasingly dangerous.

- Wow. Habs just barely survived killing the Emelin penalty. Ottawa with serious jump in their legs right now. Watch out.

- Second period a mirror of the first, with the Habs holding a slight edge in controlling the tempo the first 15 minutes, before the Sens found their legs the final five minutes. Habs in a decent position because the Sens can't afford to make a single glaring error from here on out. 


- Stone will start. So the Sens were indeed running slightly different lines this morning as they are this evening.

- Will Karlsson do us another favour tonight and waste his time trying to hit instead of helping his team to actually score? Here's hoping.

- Habs come out flying first five minutes if the period. You'd think they're the team down 0-3. 

- Stupid, stupid board on Petry by Borowiecki. Sens still struggling with common sense, attempting to bury the Habs into the ice instead of outplaying them above the ice. Habs to the powerplay.

- One of the real difference makers in this series is how well the Habs 4th line has played, and how poorly the Sens 3rd defensive pairing has performed, Borowiecki and Gryba. This in light of the dumb boarding of Petry.

Still mystifies me how a guy as big as Smith-Pelly is so bad at finishing plays and losing battles for pucks in the slot.

- Sens finally finding some mojo five minutes left in the period. Habs on their heels. Price solid.

- That Sens third defensive pairing strikes again. Out of position, and Borowiecki takes another dumb penalty.

- Habs 2nd powerplay better than the first. Not by coincidence, DSP was removed from the first powerplay line. Thank you lord.

- Ottawa surprisingly really slow out of the gate, almost looking dispirited before the game had begun. Habs probably should have taken advantage, but Anderson was solid. Really don't see DSP doing what he needs to help salt this thing away - he's six inches and 40 pounds heavier than Gallagher, but is losing battles to defenders that Gallagher is handling easily.


Okay, am I monster for posting a picture of the little kid crying after Dutch Gretzky scored the overtime winner to put the Habs up a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 in the series?

Why, yes. Yes, I am.

Okay, moving on. Gameday stuff. Point form!

- Craig Anderson will start tonight! I still think the Senators coaching staff might have flipped a coin on this, but the decision, I suppose, makes sense. Andrew Hammond, who played nearly 1/3rd of a nearly perfect season, appeared to have finally hit the wall, giving up borderline goals in Montreal. Anderson, even though the Weise OT winner was a softy, did make a ton of saves that got his outplayed team into overtime, at the very least. So ... Anderson, by logic, gets the nod.

- Nathan Beaulieu. Not gonna play. Not a total surprise. Here's a surprise, though. Michel Therrien is going with youth for his replacement, with Greg Pateryn slotting in to take Beaulieu's place. He could have gone with Sergei Gonchar, but nope - Michel makes the decent choice. This coach mystifies me. Just when you think he can do no right, he can't seem to do any wrong.

- Okay, lineups tonight!! First off, the home team:

Line 1: MacArthur/Turris/Stone
Line 2: Michalek/Zibanejad/Ryan
Line 3: Condra/Pageau/Lazar
Line 4: Hoffman/Smith/Neil


Craig Anderson.

No Mark Stone, at least during practice, shall it be noted. Now the visitors:

Line 1: Pacioretty/Desharnais/Smith-Pelly
Line 2: Galchenyuk/Plekanec/Gallagher
Line 3: De la Rose/Eller/Weise
Line 4: Prust/Mitchell/Flynn


Carey Price.

More in a bit.

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