Sunday, 3 May 2015

Game Two - EC Semi Final: Lightning vs. Habs


- Is there any point? If this game is an evener, then a bushelfull of specialty unit goals are headed Montreal's way. They'll need 6 just to get back to even terms these playoffs. That's how bad it's been.

- Torrey Mitchell has been the Habs best player tonight. If you had told me that in advance, I wouldn't have even bothered tuning in.

- Alright, let's take a different tact. The game is out of reach, but Habs can still salvage something if they can find a way of doing something positive - such as scoring with the man advantage. At least generate something that they can build from heading down to Tampa.

- Decent but not dazzling push by the Habs - Tampa in recline mode. Torrey Mitchell runs Bishop because, why not, I guess. Tampa to the powerplay.

- Kucherov. Guess what? Powerplay. 5-1. Feeling very sad for those who paid to see this. 

- Gilbert tosses the paid attendance a bone. 5-2. Meaningless.

- Welp, mission isn't impossible. Go into Tampa, who lost 9 of 41 games in their rink this season, and beat them twice. Piece of cake, right?


- Ever get the feeling that somebody's got your number? Lars Eller didn't play last seven minutes of the first period, and there are reports he won't play for the rest of the night. Good Grief.

- Eller is on the bench to start the period. Whew?

- Habs powerplay. EGG line out.

- Habs two powerplays in the period, each progressively worse and more disorganized than the last. This team is officially totally and completely in a land of dysfunction.

- Habs are really running a simplistic model - feeding the line, and hoping for a rebound. Everybody sees it and knows it - Tampa a walk in the park defending this "strategy". It's killing the Habs offense, and with it, reasonable hopes of winning. Because ... you just know, Tampa's going to score ...

- Yup. Stamkos. Couldn't keep him off the board forever. And here we go ...

- It's a funeral pyre in the Bell Centre right now. This is what happens when opportunities are frittered away ...

- Tampa with sweet passing to capitalize on the powerplay. Why we can't ever do this baffles me, but it's killing the Habs season right before our eyes. 3-1.

- Habs with a listless end to the period. Petry draws an interference to end the period. Tampa looking for kill, if we haven't arrived at that point already. 

- And there it is. Kill shot on the powerplay. 4-1. Goodnight, and good luck.

- Well, that was a disaster of a period, wasn't it? But it encapsulated all the big issues with this team, this season. Inability to finish chances, and total incompetence with a man advantage. Habs started the 2nd period with two straight powerplays, which went totally nowhere. Then Tampa got their courtesy call, finally cracked the scoresheet, and the rest was history.

We went on for months and months about how bad the Canadiens man advantage was, even questioning/pleading for somebody to get fired for this team's utter inability to address a very obvious and significant issue, and nothing serious was ever done. So it seems only right that the Habs season falls apart this way.


- Can't excuse the Habs inability to bury chances, but their game 1 PDO was .965. That's some pretty crummy puck luck.

- That said, Chris Lee tonight. You just know he's got a few scores to settle, given he made the critical game 6 flub/call that helped to propel the Habs into the 2nd round. Brad Watson is the other official. Maybe he can help in correcting Lee's inevitably horrid decision?

- Both teams going with the same lineups. Assuming both were mutually satisfied with their game 1 performances. Although, if I'm Tampa, I'm still concerned about being thoroughly out-chanced for much of the game. The Lightning are unquestionably lucky they're leading 1-0 in the series. Oh well.

- Whoops. Nix that. Desharnais is a late scratch, because of the (huh??) flu. So ... Eller to the top 6? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE Eller to top six. PLEASE.

- Breaking news: old dog still doesn't learn new tricks. Weise moved to the top line to accomidate for Desharnais' absence. Galchenyuk still on the 4th.

- Habs first powerplay doesn't score (of course) but did look pretty dangerous the first 75 seconds. Still, nobody seems capable of muscling a good shot on Bishop. That's (one of) the big issues.

- Return of the EGG? Could this be for realz??!

- Petry. 55 foot wrister. Top corner. Brilliant. Five years, $30 million. Do it, Marc. Habs lead.

- Habs very agressive forecheck paying off. Flynn nearly making it 2-0. Tampa really on their heels in their zone.

- Lots of great chances being generated, but Habs forwards, once again, not burying chances. Nothing has changed much from Friday night, which is worrying.

- Waiting for the inevitable Habs letdown and Tampa rebound. Important that Montreal maintains strong agressive play.

- Therrien sends out the 4th line against Stamkos line. Lightning gain predictable momentum. Now Prust takes a dumb double minor. Hoo boy.

- Not sure what's more of a mess right now. Tampa's powerplay or Steven Stamkos.

- Brad Watson handing out penalties like candy tonight. Wants to put his stamp on this game. Another Tampa powerplay, Subban gets two minutes for protecting his crease.

- And Tampa strikes - Filppula a wrister that catches Price off guard. Refs make their mark giving Lightning six minutes of an extra skater. Inevitably, Tampa was going to score on a powerplay.

- Demoralizing result out of a period that was mostly dominated by the Habs. Lots of focus was on Chris Lee heading into the game, but it's Brad Watson who went overboard handing out hurtful penalties, a couple that were very questionable. In any case, Habs have to keep sticking to the plan - strong forecheck, get Tampa off balance in their zone, and pelt Bishop with shots. Bishop, I'm not convinced, is playing steady goaltending. On some shots he looks like a world beater (e.g. the shorthanded save on Mitchell), and others, he looks shaky as a leaf. Also surrendering plenty of loose pucks. Habs need to score dirty, and often, if they want to even this series.


Get in his face, boys. Rinse (very advisably). Repeat.

Puck drops at 6:10 EST. Pretty much a must-win for the Habs tonight. First time we've gone through this situation this season.

In his face. Right in his face.

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