Monday, 16 November 2015

Game Nineteen: Canucks vs. Habs


- Therrien puts out Plekanec and Fleischmann to start the OT.

- Therrien clearly has no idea who his best playing forwards have been tonight. Neither Eller or Galchenyuk have received an extra time shift.

- Desharnais!! Habs with a fantastic, well-earned two points. Subban with a fine play shuffling puck over to Subban off the usual OT odd-maned break.

Canucks had an excellent first period, but after that, it was all Habs. Montreal's possession-emphases style really demonstrated its superiority tonight, as Vancouver couldn't withstand the ongoing pressure that mounted from the five minute mark of the 2nd period forward. The victory tonight is the kind that can really propel a team towards a solid winning streak. We'll see what happens over the next week, hopefully with a date forthcoming of Carey Price's return to the lineup.


- Habs and Canucks through 40 minutes. See where everything went full throttle the other direction? That was the Eller goal. Hockey is a funny game sometimes.

- Habs deployment this evening has been all over the map. Mitchell taken from the 4th to the 2nd line, at Semin's expense, even though as a unit, Galchenyuk/Eller/Semin have had excellent possession.

- Another Habs powerplay, looks pretty good, but can't score. Canucks have dodged some pretty big bullets tonight. This game really ought be at least tied.

- Subban, for whatever reason, has struggled this year taking shots off clean passes fed to the point. Another big whiff tonight.

- Semin with a pretty bad holding penalty away from the play. That might just seal his fate in another return to the press box.

- Saw the Semin penalty replay. It was bad. Really bad. He might not see another shift tonight.

- Canucks are playing a pretty good one goal lead 3rd period. Doing good job containing breakouts and centre ice, and hustling back to their zone to break up Habs possession. Things settling in a bit.

- Semin now benched. He may never play another shift in Montreal again. Given how he signed, he may never play another shift in the NHL again.

- Habs freewheeling more through centre, but so far, haven't been able to solve Markstrom. Time running down, Canadiens will eventually have to get its defence more involved if they hope to tie this up.

- 4 minutes left, Canucks in full puck dumping mode. It's insane, but it's paying off. They might just hang on to this.

- Fleischmann scores!! But will it be challenged??

- Nope. Weak goal surrendered by Markstrom. Canucks tried to Hab their way to a win (ca. 2014-15), but couldn't run the clock out.

- Well, giving up the tying goal at least has shaken the Canucks offence back to life. They realize they'll have to earn a win by having to, you know, try to score.

- And overtime we go, against a Canucks team that 0-5 in extra time this year. Well-earned comeback for the Habs tonight.


- Habs and Canucks thorough 20 minutes of weird hockey:

- Just a weird period, hampered by the feeling that Mike Condon, whom just a few days ago seemed like no puck could get past, doesn't seem to be able to make those "big" saves any more. At least, that's my perception at the moment.

- Condon gives up a weak one off a 50 foot shot, puck going right under his pads. Another powerplay goal given up. This game is pretty much toast.

- Amazing how the season has just turned completely around for Condon, on a dime. He could do no wrong just three days ago. That's how quickly it can go wrong.

- Habs 4th line Mitchell/Flynn/Smith-Pelly are having a disastrous evening. You don't even want to know what their fancy stats look like, except they bear an uncanny resemblance to a black hole.

- Canucks make an atrocious line change during a powerplay, giving Eller free reign right through centre ice, a snapper beats Markstrom cleanly, and suddenly the Habs have some life? 3-1.

- Great snap shot by Eller, but Markstrom did look a little sluggish in reacting to the play. Habs would be wise to test his glove side a few more times.

- Well hey now, we have ourselves a game. Pacioretty with pressure behind the net generates deep zone turnover, Gallagher feeds the puck back to Patches, who scores his first non-empty net goal in 10 games. 3-2 knuckleheads.

- Now Vancouver is nailed for too many men - and the Canucks are reeling. Habs with big opportunity to, believe it or not, tie this game.

- Markstrom with a fantastic glove save off a Subban howitzer. What I said about Markstrom's glove hand? Forgetaboutit.

- Habs don't tie the game with the man advantage, but oh boy, does it look like one hummin' unit right now. Amazing they haven't scored tonight. They might still. Lots of hockey to be played.

- Galchenyuk continues to buzz around the ice, but he's having a very tough time getting recognition from his coach. Barely 7 minutes played as the 2nd period winds down.

- Lots of officiating inconsistency from Tim Peel tonight, which is pretty much the norm for him. It is, however, creating lots of frustration amongst the players on both benches. Nobody really seems to know what the penalty threshold is because it's been a moving target.

- Another weird period. After the Canucks took a 3-0 lead off a weak goal surrendered by Condon, the air totally end out of the Bell Centre. Habs looked like they'd given up. Then Eller scored a shorthanded goal off a bad Canucks line change, and everything changed 180. Montreal still with lots of momentum they've generated since the 5 minute mark of the period, and have firmly taken control over puck possession and game tempo. Makes for a very compelling 3rd period.


- ANNNNNNNND we're off, anddddddd it's a terrible start, as Petry going back into his own corner, passes behind to Chris Higgins, who stopped playing for the Habs about 7 years ago. Condon basically left to his own. 1-0 Canucks!!

- Habs are very much puck handling team for zone entries, Canucks are very much dump and chase. That's worked once for Vancouver once, but only because of Petry's error.

- Habs look like a team riddled with rust - which is kind of perplexing. They're having regular practices, but like Saturday night, Habs guilty of making a variety of very avoidable mistakes. Very weird.

- Habs pretty awful handling the puck in their own zone, and the Canucks are dominating neutral zone play. It's combined to produce a very one-sided first 8 minutes of this period, in favour of Vancouver.

- Missed passes, fumbled pucks, players caught offside. This Canadiens' team looks punch drunk. It's all very odd.

- Habs first powerplay looked fantastic, Canucks very fortunate to still be leading 1-0. Hopefully that two minute advantage gets the Habs' gears turning again.

- Galchenyuk is moterin' tonight. He, like Pacioretty, is way overdue for a scoring eeksploshun.

- Brendon Gallagher with a not-very-smart high stick on Daniel Sedin, trying to bat a puck high in the air. Sedin on the ice, blood pouring off his face. 4 minutes for Gallagher, every second deservedly.

- McCann makes it 2-0. Habs PK not a very good job watching the passing lanes, McCann with one of the easiest goals he'll ever receive. Condon no chance.

- Half of McCann's goals this season have been against the Habs. Three of them. In less than four period of play. Habs killer.

- Habs 2nd powerplay also looks pretty decent, but it just feels like the puck luck gods have their scopes firmly planted on this Montreal team. Bounces seem to be all going the other direction. PDO numbers are nearly 100, but what do stats mean, anyway?

- Strange period. Canucks started strongly, benefiting off a mistake made by a Habs player who rarely makes any kind of egreious errors. Habs seemed to have trouble adjusting to Vancouver's neutral zone play, and looked like a team having trouble shifting out of second gear - at least until their first powerplay. Then Gallagher's high stick, and Montreal downshifted once more. This team is clearly in a bad funk, and only time and perseverance will get them out of it.


HAI!! (waves).

Hey, in case you follow this blog (and you probably don't), I haven't changed my position from two weeks ago when I wrote about how terrible the Vancouver Canucks are as horrible a hockey team as the jerseys they wore in the 1970s and 80s, and then watched as they soundly beat the Habs 5-1. NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

Since Vancouver's resounding victory over our hopeless Habs, the Canucks have gone on to lose to the Dallas Stars (okay, fine), the Pittsburgh Penguins (sure, that's possible), the Ottawa Senators (I just giggled), the New Jersey Devils (haha .. oh yeah?), the Buffalo Sabres (lolz), and the Toronto Maple Leafs (BIG LOLZ).

I repeat, this Vancouver team is going nowhere, in a very very fast direction. Are we good now?

Tonight? They're really screwed. Not only will Vancouver be missing the services of one Brandon Prust, who haunted the Habs last game, but they're also missing Luca Sbisa and Brndon Sutter because of injury, AND Alexandre Burrows, whose wife is apparently in labour.

In other words, this terrible team is playing with nearly half of their terrible roster. Not good!

Meanwhile in Habsland, Mike Condon, whom apparently forgot to bring his eyes along to Saturday's game vs. the totally awful Colorado Avalanche, will get an opportunity to redeem himself. Condon, as well as Alex Galchenyuk (beside Alex Semin!), and Max Pacioretty, all of whom haven't scored in about 17 years, are just ready to burst out with a pile o' goals against a terrible team like the Vancouver Canucks.

Puck drops at 7:40 EST from the lovely warm confines of the Bell Centre. REVENGE IS OURS.

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