Saturday, 17 October 2015

Game Six: Wings vs. Habs


- Habs and Wings through 40 minutes:

- Habs 4th line really sets a nice example, Mitchell going to the net and redeflecting a point shot. Nearly made it 2-1. Other Habs line should follow this example.

- Semin is doing his centre, Galchenyuk, no favours. Passes when he should shoot, shoots when he should be passing.

- Emelin with a beaut of a hip check. That's the kind of play that's supposed to energize your bench.

- This would be a pretty nice time for the powerplay to connect ... seems like all Price needs is that one goal.

- BOOM. POWERPLAY. Guess what? Habs score because they don't fiddle around passing the puck. Petry gets the puck at the point, blasts it home. Habs take the lead.

- 12 minutes left. Over to you, Carey.

- Desharnais line continues to make the most buzz tonight, but can't quite seem to get its ducks in a row for getting shots on net.

- Habs, again unlike last year's team, continuing to be aggressive as the 3rd progresses, and it helps them to generate another powerplay opportunity.

- Definite trend set - the more the Habs pass on their powerplay, the less their chances seem to be in scoring.

- Semin is very Jekyll and Hyde - drives the net and nearly salts the game away. Then has a shift where he making stupefying passes to nobody in particular.

- Plecks, he the new $12 million man this week, puts the game away, after Gallagher does some tremendous work in creating a deep zone turnover. Habs are going to move to 6-0 on the season. Remarkable.

- Habs again with another well deserved victory, as the Wings just faded in the 3rd period and were outshot four-to-one (19-5!!!). The Canadiens are off to an incredible start this year, they indeed look like a different team this year, especially in the 3rd period where, unlike last year, they having been taking to their opponent. Fun days in Habsland.


- Possession stats through 20 minutes:

- Habs forcheck generates big turnover in the Wings zone, two back passes later, Habs spring loose sniper ... Alexei Emelin. Net result: no shots on goal.

- Speaking of the forecheck, really wish Habs first three lines were more or as aggressive as the Habs 4th line. Would really benefit a team that has long struggled to score.

- Wings a bit sloppy with the puck in their zone this period, so far they've come out unscathed on the scoreboard, but it's given the Habs additional momentum.

- Mhadzek with some sparking saves this period. Really keeping his team in it.

- Killer. Larkin with a soft backhand pass that's misplayed by Price, and gives the Wings a 1-0 lead. Price is human, after all.

- Habs continue to feed the line on their powerplay - it's up to their defense to get shots *on* net. So far this season, they've been pretty bad doing that.

- Gallagher going beyond the call trying to put the puck into the net. Just use your body as a missile on the opposing goaltender. A for effort, but no goal.

- I'm stunned. It's being ruled a goal. League says it entered legally before Gallagher hit the netminder. One of the most bizarre goals I've ever seen.

- As Gallager a goal as you'll ever see. Might be Karma going his direction, considering all the goals that have been waived off against his favour in the past.

- Gotta say Brad Richards has, for most of the game, been a pretty invisible entity. I guess his contract is at a reasonable level, but I don't see him adding much to either of Detroit's 1st or 3rd line.

- Fleischmann continue to demonstrate that he might be one of the great off season bargains. Beautiful work to set up Weise in the slot, nearly giving Habs the lead.

- Detroit with a pretty dangerous 2nd powerplay of the night, and it's one the Habs could learn from. Detroit doesn't mess around - they drive the puck to the net as quickly as possible, unlike the Habs who spend way too much time trying to set up the perfect scoring play. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter how pretty the goal is, as long as you score. Montreal just doesn't seem to understand or embrace that.

- Mitchell with a disappointing boarding penalty - disappointing in that in the 1st period he was the victim. He really ought to know better.

- Well, our prediction of 2nd period goal arrived, and while the Gallagher goal is controversial, it at least gives the Habs a well earned tie headed to the third. Like the first, Habs were the better team, more jump in their step, and a more effective forecheck. Detroit just seems to be slowly fading as the game progresses, which should be very favourable to the Habs in the final frame.


- Habs really have the table set for them tonight, facing a team that's playing back-to-back night. That's always a massive advantage, especially for rested teams playing at home.

- Anderson with another one of those incredibly dangerous checks from behind, this time on Mitchell. I reiterate my opinion that the League needs to take a harder line on these infractions. Automatic 5 minute majors.

- Habs o-fer-1 on the powerplay, but it looked much more competent than it did against the Rangers. Galchenyuk missing an open night.

- Fair to assume this powerplay is snakebit? Markov pinches and receives with a wide open net off a point shot rebound, putting the puck off the side of the post.

- Alex Galchenyuk tries to score for the powerplay unit single-handedly, and just about tucks the puck in after splitting the defense. Brilliant play by a brilliant skater who really should use his speed more than he usually does.

- Desharnais line does a much better job bringing the puck into the opposition zone - more inclined to carry in (when possible) rather than the chip and chase.

- Habs clearly with more legs tonight, the Wings, who got thumped last night by the 'Canes, looking very much like a team on less than 24 hours game rest.

- Semin needs to play a more creative game with the puck, or Therrien is going to run out of patience. He got benched for a short period of time in the 2nd period Thursday night, which seemed to spark him a little bit. Tonight, however, he seems to be back to his old ways of poor playmaking.

- Semin nice job going to the net, nearly deflecting an Eller point shot from the slot, past Peter Mrazek. That's what Semin needs to do more of, because that's what's expected of him.

- Poor decision by Markov, pinching recklessly, gives the Wings a 2-0 break. Carey Price with the usual bail-my-teammate-out save.

- Both goaltenders with solid period, Price with a sparking breakaway save, while Mrazek was the busier goaltender, making a few key saves off a pretty decent looking Habs powerplay. Habs with better speed in the period, resulting in a solid edge in possession. The 0-0 score will make the Wings happy, but big picture, Habs seem to have more in the tank. Second period should bring us some scoring.


Yeah, yeah. Pretty much everyone is picking the Wings to qualify for the playoffs this season. If they do so, it'll be for the 25th straight year.

Colour me, however, unconvinced. The Wings, perhaps to their benefit, let head coach Mike Babcock fly the coop for the centre of the universe, Detroit is going through a restructuring (but by no means, an rebuilding) phase.

The conventional wisdom is that the Wings are a "young" team. But guess what? At a 28.1 age average, Detroit has the second oldest roster in the NHL. That could be an important factor as the season drags on.

So Babcock out, and Jeff Blashill, long-time AHL coach, first time NHL coach, in. Also

Who's also in for the Wings? Former Caps defenseman Mike Green, who used to be a pretty dominant player at his position. Used to be, as in, 2009. Since then? Not so much.

Speaking of old bodies, the Wings also went out and signed veteran centre Brad Richards, who scored 28 goals in the season, which happened to be 2011. Since then? Well, at 35 years old, I'm not exactly sure what Detroit is hoping for, but anything beyond 15 goals for Richards this year will be a surprise.

So that's it. Detroit took an already aging roster, and made it older this summer. This means, youth core aside, the Wings really shouldn't be any other than what they were last year, except a bit slower, and in this writer's opinion, in tough to match their win total.

So tonight, the Wings will head into Montreal for the second in back-to-back games, to take on the undefeated Canadiens, whom are off to their best season start in franchize history.

In other words, there's no reason to believe that the Habs won't be setting another record mark tonight.

Puck drops at 7:10 EST.

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