Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Game Ten: Habs vs. Canucks


- Habs and Canucks through 40 minutes. Habs more shots, attempts, possession, yadda yadda. Only the scoreboard counts:

- Habs unleash the hounds, come out of the gate at about 87 mph. Still can't generate good quality shots on Miller, though.

- Finally. Torrey Mitchell continues his remarkable start to the season, deflecting an Emelin shot from the line, and the Habs have life. They're pouring it on. Another quick one, and this game is ON.

- Semin doesn't hustle to the bench on a powerplay line change, and Habs get nailed for too many. That won't endear his chances staying in this lineup as the road trip continues.

- Canucks, of course, score on their powerplay. Off two crazy lucky bounces, of course. Habs streak ends at 9. There was no way this Habs team was going to overcome the bad breaks. So the defeat can be rationalized. 

- Yeek. Emelin recklessly pinches, then falls flat on his face, then on the breakout, puck is banked off Semin into the net. Another goal courtesy a silly bounce. Meh. Game is a total write-off.

- This game is LOLZ. Gotta take it with some humour. Just about everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong. But nobody on the Habs got injured, except for maybe a little pride. Edmonton next, in what should be a very interesting game featuring a high octane offence against a somewhat disorganized Habs defence. I'd be inclined to play Price Thursday, and Condon Friday. We'll see what Therrien decides. NOW GO TO BED EVERYONE.


- Habs and Canucks through 20 minutes: 

- Well, decent enough first five minutes for the Habs, seemingly focused on just getting pucks on Miller. Canadiens seem to be doing a better job forcing turnovers, which will be key to any possible Montreal comeback.

- Not point producing, but Semin having a pretty decent outing tonight. One of the few Habs forwards doing a decent job covering both end zones.

- Habs pressing, but not generating Grade A scoring chances on Miller yet. Really starts (and ends) with their own zone, which has been mostly chaotic tonight, especially gaining the line with organized puck control.

- Pacioretty beats Miller through the arm with one of his awesome snap shots, puck dribbles behind Miller ... and wide. Just isn't happening tonight. 

- Beaulieu has struggled with the puck tonight, made a few careless passes in his zone, seems to be pressing a little too hard in the O zone. 

- As we go deeper into the game, Therrien would be wise to give extra shifts to his two best lines tonight - Plekanec and Galchenyuk. Desharnais line has been a mess, while the 4th line hasn't really created much momentum or energy. 

- Habs really needed a goal in the second, but couldn't quite find the back of the net. Even with zone coverage issues, and poor zone exits, the Habs have still been the better team tonight, but hockey is a game whose winners are frequently determined by good, or bad luck. Tonight, the Habs have had plenty of the later, far too much to overcome. Looking very unlikely the Canadiens can extend their streak to 10. 


- Curse of the old teammate strikes again - Prust with a relatively harmless snapshot that Price somehow misplays by waving out his glove, the puck dropping behind him, and tipped into the net by McCann. An auspicious start.

- Price misplays the puck. Check. Puck drops right behind him for easy tip-in goal. Check. Gallagher rings a slap shot off the post. Check. Yup. Feels like the puck luck Gods might be making a withdrawal from the overdue Habs account.

- Okay, stumble out of the gate because of Price's error, but since that goal, Habs have pretty much dominated. Miller saved by a post and a couple of bouncing pucks the Habs couldn't quite bury.

- Canadiens dominate, and Vancouver, courtesy a ridiculous bounce, take a 2-0 lead during a delayed penalty call. Puck luck all against the Habs, which during this incredibly streak, has much more often than not, been in their corner. Not tonight.

- Miller with a ridiculous save on Desharnais off a 2-0 break with Fleischmann. Ye Gods, that's enough already. 

- Very marginal interference call on Fleischmann, who was digging for the puck in the Canucks corner. Nothing going Habs way tonight.

- Prust to McCann. Again. It's 3-0. That goal wasn't luck, it was winning the faceoff deep, and Desharnais doing a poor job covering their assignments. Canadiens with a huge hole to climb out of, if they wan't to get to 10.

- Upside to this game, Habs will almost certainly not have the League's largest PDO at the end of the night.

- Habs forwards doing a very poor job coming back to, and covering their zone, also getting their clocks cleaned winning puck battles at centre ice. Price facing some howitzers from the slot, barely keeping his team in this game.

- First genuine disaster of a period for the Habs this season, they looked good out of the gate, Price let in a goal that shouldn't have been a goal, and the puck just seemed to keep bouncing Vancouver's way. This is not to take away from the Canucks - they were a superior team especially in the neutral zone, which helped them to generate turnovers leading to numerous scoring opportunities. Three goals is not an impossible lead to overcome, but it's awfully tough. 


Oh, Vancouver. Whatever would you do without Toronto? For years the fans of hockey have made countless jokes about the ineptitude of the Maple Leafs, now 48 years since their last championship. But ya know what, Vancouver? At least Toronto, in all of their futility, actually has won a championship. 15 of them, as a matter of fact.

You? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. in 45 years.

Oh sure, you've been to the big show. Three times, as a matter of fact. Once in 1981, when your club made an improbable, only to get steamrolled by the Islanders in four games. And then there was 1994, when you managed to heartbreak your followers by losing to the Rangers by one goal, in the 7th game.

And then, of course - 2011, where you choked the big one - up 3-2 to a reeling Boston Bruins team, you managed to lose the first chance of clinching in Boston, and then you got destroyed by the Bruins in game 7, right in your own rink. Your fans were not pleased. Many moaned. Many cried. Many rioted in the streets.

Now? You're still nothing. You're a team whose previous general manager somehow managed to find a way of converting two premier goaltenders, Roberto Luongo, and Cory Schiender, into career backup Jacob Markstrom (career .896 SP), Shawn Matthias (no longer playing for you), and Bo Horvat (okay, you at least got SOMETHING). Still, to take two Grade A- commodities and to convert them into so little ... well, it basically set the table for the Canucks' grand decline. Once a League leader, Vancouver's hopes are now pinned on making the post season. That's about it.

Woe, Vancouver. Tonight you have to take on the team that's off to the greatest season start in NHL - the Montreal Canadiens, who are setting new records with every recorded victory, now at 9 - the most of any team to win in regulation to start a campaign. You have to face the likes of Max Pacioretty, P.K. Subban, Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, and Brendan Gallagher, whom, by the way, comprise 5 of the top 6 players in the NHL in +/-.  Oh, right. One other thing. Carey Freakin' Price, the best hockey player on the face of planet Earth.

Oh sure Canucks fans, you'll tell us YES BUT WE HAVE THE SEDIN'S!! Well, goodie good for you. Are you referring to the twin brothers of 35 years of age, both playing on your first line, both with a combined point total of 9, two less than Pacioretty? We're shaking in our boots. We're shaking.

You cannot hide. You must face us hockey's caged ring like the dogs you are. You must capitulate to the awesome offensive and defensive power that is the Montreal Canadiens. You will be thrashed. You will be humiliated. And, at the end of the night, you, like so many of your fans, will shead many tears.

Puck drops at 10:10 EST. You'll want to stay up for this one.

1 comment:

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