- Habs and Coyotes through 40 minutes of play:
- Habs powerplay has grown progressively less effective as the game has progressed. Coyotes do a nice job adjusting. Dave Tippett deserves credit.
- Habs are pressing to make the lead just one, but too many shots are going glove side on Smith, and he's good there. Did the Habs not do any advance video scouting???
- Jason York: "very surprised Michel Therein wasn't selected to coach the World Cup". Yes, that was actually said by an "analyst" on live TV.
- Habs and Coyotes after 20 minutes. Let's just say, Mike Condon: regression.
- Speaking of Condon, since November 7, Condon's SV% is .842. That's a big case of coming hurtling back to earth.
- Habs powerplay isn't being rewarded so far tonight. Arizona very, very lucky Montreal still has nothing on the scoreboard.
- Eller with a dumb puck handing penalty, and Larsson beats Condon blocker side from the slot on the powerplay. 3-0 Coyotes. The gods be with the Desert Dogs tonight.
- Montreal's energy level is pretty much nothing right now. That 3rd goal just seemed to take everything out of them.
- Habs are making this not-very-good Arizona defence look much better than they actually are. Looking at many passing hesitations, forwards holding on to the puck way too long.
- Served on a sliver plate for Smith-Pelly, he, as per usual, is unable to simply lift the puck off glorious rebounds in front of empty nets. But he's Therrien's kind of guy, so this will continue unabated.
- Habs finally find the scoreboard. Paciroetty off the backhand that seems to catch Smith by surprise. 3-1. Cue another Vancouver-esque comeback? I won't be holding my breath.
- Ah, I see via the replay that the Pacioretty backhand changed direction off Stone's leg. Nothing Smith could do to stop that puck.
- Mike Smith hunched over in a lot of pain. Not sure what happened but he's in a lot of discomfort.
- Smith is clearly in a lot of trouble, I'll be surprised if he comes back for the 3rd. Beside that, Habs at least have a glimmer of hope headed into the final frame, even though their attack has been tonight, to put it generously, uneven. Arizona does very well it building plays offensively, which has helped them to attain a better-than-average offence in the League this season. Whatever the result tonight, from what I've witnessed, I'd be very surprised if the Coyotes finish in last place this season. They're a pretty decent hockey team.
- Therrien does a line change 17 seconds in, which is kind of strange considering he had last choice for the game's starting line.
- 30th rated powerplay goes to work early.
- One successful long pass, which set up a perimeter slapper. Otherwise, that man advantage looked very much like the worst in the game.
- Wowzers, P.K. Subban with a zippitdy doo first shift, he's flyin'.
- Another early game goal surrendered by the Habs, with Hanzel with an easy one off a broken play that had Condon totally confused off a Duclair wraparound attempt. Play all started off a sloppy neutral zone turnover. And off we go already behind the 8 ball.
- Wasn't this the Habs' big issue last season? Seemingly aways surrendering the game's first goal via slow starts??
- Good first powerplay for the Habs, good zone possession. And then Arizona makes it 2-0 off a badly handled shot by Condon, setting up a perfect rebound to Doan. 2-0. Therrien, I'm sure, is thinking about putting Dustin Tokarski in. He hasn't, but he might soon.
- Can't say Alex Galchenyuk hasn't shown up tonight. Staking and puck handling brilliantly, but continues to be undone by some poor shot attempts.
- Habs defence doing a lot of long-bomb passing to their forwards, which doesn't seem like a very good strategy against the defensively-thin blue Arizona possesses. Habs could very easily be carrying the zone with every possession.
- I think we can safely file Galchenyuk under "S" for Snakebit. Creating great scoring chances left and right, but the puck doesn't seem willing to enter.
- Safe to say the Habs owned most of that period, zone and possession time, but two weak goals, one directly attributed to Condon, has Montreal in a relatively challenging hole. Condon needs to figure whatever is troubling him, out.
GAME PREVIEW DOG MEAT:Okay, not much of a contest tonight, at least as far as matchups are concerned. So some free-thought notes heading into the game:
- Carey Price doing a full practice. Excellent sign, of course, but any hopes that he'll be playing again before the end of next week are unlikely. Which is fine. The Habs record, even with Condon in the net, is good enough to withstand any dips before Price's return.
- The 'Yotes, who many predicted would finish at or near the bottom of the West this season, are on a two game losing streak heading into the Bell Centre, having been outscored 10-4 over those two games.
- Big guy in Arizona is rookie Max Domi, who has 16 points in 18 games. We assume that coach Therrien will be matching the Plekanec line up against the 'Yotes Brad Richardson line, of whom Domi and Mikkel Boedker play along side.
- Arizona has a couple of capable defensemen in Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Michael Stone. Beyond that ... yikes.
- The Coyotes have a respectable 11th rated League offence, even though they're bogged down by a 30th rated powerplay, which checks in at a paltry 12% efficiency. Again, it's their defence which makes competing difficult for the Coyotes, giving up an average of 3.00 GPG, which against a defensive-first team like the Habs, makes winning pretty difficult.
- Puck drops at 7:40 EST.