Thursday, 7 May 2015

Game Four - EC Semi Final: Habs vs. Lightning



- Habs had 48% through 20 minutes, and that needle moved up to 60% after 40 minutes. That gives you a pretty good idea just how one sided the second period was. 

- Palat, on the powerplay. It's a familiar theme. Also familiar is terrible defense by Emelin, who continues to be played on the first PK unit, which is just plain stupid. 5-2.

- Habs were passing out of their zone first two periods. Now in full chip out mode in the 3rd.

- DSP with a zone entry and cross ice pass to De la Rose that wouldn't cut muster in a beer league. 

- Eller shot handcuffs Vasilevskiy, Prust nice tap in. Four goal lead resorted. This game ought to be in cruise mode from here on out.

- An easy win. Quite a game by the Canadiens, who could have just as easily given up the ship given the heartbreak they've endured against Tampa. There's food for thought - the Habs have soundly outplayed Tampa six straight periods as the visitors. And therein lies the hope, however faint, that the Habs might claim stake to headed back to Quebec. We've beat our opponent very badly the last 120 minutes, so lets do that one more time.

The bottom line is this: A win on Saturday, and suddenly, we have a series.


- Habs with 48% possession in the period, reflecting Tampa's two powerplays. Habs must, I stress this, must not sit on this lead. Period two, same as period one. Here we go.

- Forecheck, forecheck. Relentless. Don't stop. One more goal. At least one more.

Habs doing better, far better, at centre ice tonight. It's generating some choice turnovers, generating clean offensive zone entries.

- Bishop muffs a Desharnais slap shot, a la Pacioretty's game one tying goal, and it's 3-0. Bishop is yanked. Wowzers.

Andrei Vasilevskiy is in. Never seen him before. AHL call up. Habs wise to test him hard, ASAP.

- Petry. A powerplay goal. That happened. Habs powerplay passing looking crisp. Efficient. You knew it had to happen. Eventually.

- Gallgher. It's a route. Unbelievable. 5-0.  Vasilevskiy looks stunned. 

- Habs totally dominating. Tampa has stopped skating altoghether. It's ugly. Hard to believe we're witnessing this.

- Another bizarre penalty on Markov, and Kucherov scores on the Powerplay to make it 5-1. If we do play a 5th game, Habs will need to come up with a solution to styfling Tampa's cross ice passing. It's killing Montreal in this series.

- Weise with a dose of stupid, takes an unnecessary rough late in the period. There is nothing to be gained by pushing the envelope, and getting sent to the box. Most certainly not while holding a four goal lead.

- Habs roll through the period, this team which couldn't muster up a shooting percentage much beyond 3% (there's that dastardly percentage again) the first three games, with a 25+% percentage the first two periods. Hockey is weird and engrossing because of its unpredictability. Twenty minutes to close this out, and live at least one more day.


- Woah. Old Man Markov strikes early for the Habs, barely two minutes in. Could the puck luck be drifting the other direction?? At the very least, a Markov point pinch finally results in a goal. REJOICE!

- Seriously, it's been a very, very rough road of a post season for Andrei. You know he's playing through some kind of injury, and you can see on his face how disappointed he is with himself. A little respite with that goal. Just a little.

- Borderline cross on Markov, really could have been called both ways. Sigh.

- Wow. Max, shorthanded. Bishop didn't look good. 2-0! This answers the question, what would happen first; powerplay or shorthanded goal?

- Habs zone exits have been okay, apart from their usual horrid self. Canadiens must also ramp up their ability to win puck battles at centre ice, or this lead will evaporate very quickly.

- Markov with a nasty edge tonight. He's playing as much angry as he is hurt. A lot of pride on the line, here.

- I don't think there's any cure for what ails Galchenyuk except moving him to his natural position - centre. He's lost along the wing, he overplays the position, binding himself along the boards, frequently hesitating skating towards the middle. He's lost. Therrien's system is styfling.

- Tremendous work by Eller, generating two point blank chances on Bishop, who's looked terribly shaky this period. Wondering if possible that Bishop is playing hurt?

- Well, the puck started to finally bounce the Habs way this period, and the net effect is a tidy 2-0 lead. This is but one very small step up an Everest-sized mountain for the Habs, but it's necessary to help this team build confidence, and at the very least, germinate an idea that Tampa doesn't necessarily have Montreal's number this season (even if they do).  Lots of time though, for the worm to turn the other direction. It is imperative that the Canadiens stay positive and maintain a determined forecheck against Tampa, who struggle against that kind of attack, especially in their own zone.


Let's go out with a bang, okay boys? At least that. At least.

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