Monday, 2 November 2015

Game Fourteen: Sens vs. Habs


- So how will Therrien approach this? Two forwards, I'm guessing, with Subban/Markov and maybe Petry trading up on the back end.

- Well, that didn't take long. Pacioretty with a terrible pass from behind the Sens net, far too weak and slow, easily intercepted and it generates a game winning 3-on-1 break for Ottawa. Seems like the Habs haven't figured out this OT stuff, given how terrible they were at it pre-season.

- Raw numbers will say the Habs were the better team - they were, but there were far too many scoring opportunities not finished, and Anderson was excellent. What can ya do? 


- Habs and Sens through 40 minutes. 2nd period much more even than the first period:

- Weise with delay of game penalty blindly flipping puck up the boards, as per a book from the page of Therrien. Here's hoping this doesn't burn the Habs on the scoreboard.

- Condon with first big mistake of the night, muffing up a point shot, but not properly covering the puck, which is tipped into the net, but not before the back referee blows the whistle too soon.

- Am I the only one who thinks Erik Karlsson isn't 100%? He's a pretty dominative player, but tonight, he's been quite and fairly immobile. 

- Sens have had more puck possession this period, but the Habs have had more good scoring chances - Craig Anderson with a couple of nifty pad saves this period to keep his team in the game.

- Just perplexed by allocations tonight - Galchenyuk line has easily been the Habs most consistent of the night, but has the least number of shifts among all lines. Just can't understand this.

- Chaisson has been maximum pest tonight. Driving Habs defenders crazy. If anyone is going to score the winner for Ottawa, it's him.

- Methot with a bad high sticking penalty late in the 3rd, big opportunity here for the Habs.

- About six or seven high grade scoring chances, Anderson somehow kept the puck out, skill and a luck. Feels like one of those games where that winner just won't go in.

- Welp, a little history tonight, I guess. First 3-on-3 overtime Habs have been involved with (in a game that counts).


- Habs and Sens through 20 minutes, very good period for the Habs, highlighted by excellent possession numbers by the Galchenyuk line:

- Subban hurt. Seems to be favouring his jaw. Was hit by a high stick in the face by Chiasson, who should have been called. Chris Lee one of the officials tonight. Just saying'. 

- Subban with a total wiff off a setup pass to the line on the Habs powerplay, and Habs killer Pageau beats Condon cleanly off the break. Condon was standing still for some reason, making it easy for Pageau to put his team up 1-0.

- Dale Weise just keeps on scoring, this time off the powerplay, with Desharnais doing some very good work keeping the puck alive in the Ottawa zone. Weise and Desharnais have got some kind of zen thing working this season. Both have made up a good portion of the Canadiens' point production.

- Bad play by Eller who makes a poor pinch, generating a clear cut 2-on-1 for the Sens, Chaisson setting Michalek up perfectly, but his shot hits the post. Habs get away with one.

- Habs have dominated zone play, but have made a few clunky plays born from poor decisions resulting in more than a couple odd man breaks for Ottawa. So far the Habs have come away unscathed, but you still hate to see a team commit all these preventable errors.

- 11 minutes into the 2nd, Sens with first sustained pressure of the night. Momentum tide appears to be shifting Ottawa's way.

- Definite weak spot for the Sens tonight, protecting low slot. Lots of Habs forwards are going there unmolested. Given enough passing attempts, somebody is going to get one past Anderson if Ottawa doesn't do a better job there.

- Much more evenly played 2nd period, Habs seemed to relent on their forecheck, and gave up most of the command they enjoyed in the neutral zone during the first period. Clearly not having Stone in the lineup is hurting the Sens' ability to generate sustained offensive momentum, so it looks like this game will eventually be decided by attrition. 


- Good fast pace to start the game, unfortunately, it's mostly Ottawa. 

- Excellent first shift for the Galchenyuk line, really cycling the puck well in the Ottawa zone, keeping the Sens pinned for most of their one minute shift.

- Sens doing a good job getting bodies in front of Habs shots this period, Habs for the most part have progressively taken over puck possession.

- Brendan Gallagher has got to learn there's a difference between going hard to the net, and goaltender interference. Costs the Habs the first goal.

- Stupid decision by Therrien to burn his challenge on what was a pretty clear-cut bump by Gallagher into Anderson. More bad Habs coaching.

- Habs have been really effective with the forecheck, helping them to maintain firm control of the neutral zone. Also has helped them to generate some pretty clean zone entries. Still working on producing high percentage scoring chances.

- Habs double, triple, quadrupled blessed to have Mike Condon as their backup. Just when you think he's riding some kind of freaky performance wave that's bound to end, he keeps making some sparkling saves. 

- Very good period for the Habs, dumb challenge aside. Habs with strong check and speed gave them a distinct edge in the period, including strong puck possession. So far, so good.


So, it's on to round two against the team which is now arguably the Habs biggest rival, the Ottawa Senators. Yeah, we hate the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs, but getting the hate on against those two teams is hard when they're both terrible.

The Sens are not terrible! They're ... mediocre? Yeah. I think that's a good word to desribe them. Not awful, but not very good either. If you ask me, 12 points in 11 games would pretty much be the clinical definition of average. An 8th ranked offence (not bad) and a 25th ranked defence (yikes), a 23rd ranked powerplay, a 25th ranked penalty kill (specialty teams, not good), 5v5 Corsi rating of 48.9%. Yeah. The case is pretty solid.

It isn't going to help the Sens cause much tonight with Mark Stone, he of the famous "broken" wrist, out of the lineup due to a two game suspension. The one thing Ottawa seemed to have as a viable strength is its offence. Without Stone, they a far less dangerous team.

Bottom line - there's no *good* reason for the Sens to beat Habs tonight on Bell Centre ice. Even without Carey Price in net.

Puck drops at 7:40 EST.


Not a whole lot Habs-related. It's been a quiet 48 hours. Anyway ...

- Dustin Byfuglien is awaiting his punishment for the high hit on Brendan Gallagher (see below). We figure, given Byfuglien's past history, he'll get two games.

- Speaking of two game suspensions, Mark Stone of the Senators was handed one for a check to the head of the Wings' Landon Ferraro on Saturday. Which means he won't be playing tonight. Bonus!

- That's all we got. Lineups in a bit. Maybe Alex Semin will be in it?

- LINEUP UPDATE: Nope, Semin ain't gonna be there. Le sigh. Practice lines today:

1: Pacioretty/Plecks/Gallagher
2: Eller/Galchenyuk/Smith-Pelly
3. Fleischmann/Desharnais/Weise
4. Byron/Mitchell/Flynn

Sooooo, same as Jets game.

Over on the Senators' side of the ice, here is their lineup for tonight:

1. Hoffman/Turris/Lazar
2. Prince/Zibanejad/Ryan
3. Michalek/Pageau/Chaisson
4. Puempel/Smith/Neil



Still awaiting Byfuglien's sentancing. More later today.

UPDATE: Nada for Byfuglien. NOTHING. Meh. The NHL.


News and notes, adding as we receive 'em:

- Dustin Byfuglien will face an NHL disciplinary hearing tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 9 a.m. sharp, for delivering Habs Brendan Gallagher at high hit to the head with his elbow. Byfuglien is pretty much well established scum - just go to YouTube and search for "Byfuglien hit". Most of the stuff you'll get back are an assortment of questionable and outright illegal hits.

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