Monday, 7 December 2015

Game 29: Bruins vs. Habs


- Habs and Bruins through 40 minutes.

- For the most part, Therrien has been rolling the lines pretty evenly, nearly identical split for the Plekanec and Galchenyuk's lines.

- Rask is keeping his team in this. Could/should be 3-0 at this stage, but he's stoned Pacioretty and Plekanec in the 2nd and 3rd periods.

- There's the Rask effect, and Eriksson scores shorthanded, the puck bounce gods shining down on the Bruins.

- Oh dear, Ferraro with a snap shot that Condon must stop. And suddenly, it's 2-1 Boston.

- Habs corsi, when all is said and done, is going to be north of 60%, which means it's another game they've lost where they should have won. Hockey is maddening because you can never, ever figure it out.

- And that's the game. Emelin and Galchenyuk made horrid mistake deep in their zone, Emelin follows the puck and makes a terrible body check attempt, which completely turns the puck over deep, and all alone in front of the net is Bergeron, who turns Condon inside out.

- Now down two goals, and late powerplay, Therrien finally uses Eller. Asset management for a team that's struggling offensively continues to be baffling.

- Using Desharnais on the powerplay. Again. Just keep knocking my head against a brick wall. Therrien keeps sending him out, he never, ever shoots, and his passes are frequently off the mark.

- Therrien pulls Condon, puts out for the 6th man ... wait for it ... Brian Flynn.

- Okay, that officially sucked. But Tuukka Rask did it ... finally. He came into the Bell Centre, and stoned the Habs, kept his team in the game, and finally, the Bruins caught a couple of breaks, took advantage, Condon with some iffy late goaltending (again), Habs couldn't muster much on their powerplay, and it all equalled a loss, regardless of puck possession, which the Habs dominated. Dustin Tokarski tomorrow night.


- Habs and Bruins through 20 minutes. In case you were wondering, there were a ridiculous 32 faceoffs in that period, Boston won 18 of them.

- An almost completely uneventful first 5 minutes, expect that Habs continue to contain the neutral zone, which has slowed the game down significantly, and the Bruins' attack to a near crawl.

- Habs are generating puck control in the Bruins zone, but their passing and shooting has been mostly permitter. They need to drive more traffic towards Rask, much like they did to open the game scoring. Since then, they've been very tentative, in particular the Galcheyuk line, which looked so good early in the 1st.

- Ah, finally. Andrighetto with nifty cross ice pass on the tape to Pacioretty driving to the net, forcing Rask to make his best save of the night.

- We mentioned this in our pregame preview, but to reiterate, a key part of Habs winning tonight is staying out of the box. So far, 0 Bruin powerplay opportunities as we hit the halfway mark.

- Good puck rotation on the Habs powerplay, but the setup is still too far out. Rask moves well laterally, so 35 footers aren't going to beat him.

- There's just no point using Desharnais on the powerplay, beside a person of last resort. Totally unable to finish scoring plays, which is kind of what you need from your centre with the man advantage.

- Looks like Krecji is done for the night, after taking a (clean) hit along the boards from Eller.

- Chara is a mess out there. His decline the past two years has been startling. Sad that Boston still plays him nearly 30 minutes a game.

- Divin' Bruins divin' again, this time it's Krug, and the official falls for it.

- That was an atrocious powerplay for the Bruins. They're one of the League's best? Hard to believe.

- Not exactly electrifying period of hockey, a mostly defensive clinic, the Habs were not able to generate many high percentage scoring chances, as the Bruins have done a pretty good job containing the slot, while the Habs have been (mostly) tentative driving towards Rask. Can't imagine this game finishing 1-0, but stranger things have happened.


- Looks like Bruins are making warmup changes, Randell is a scratch, Talbot will draw in.

- Bruins also tinkering with defence: Morrow is out, Seidenberg is in.

- Plekanec line fast out of the gate. He and Eller are overdue for a goal or two.

- Pretty good start for the Habs, with strong offensive zone pressure which has caused the Bruins' slow and clunky defence, mainly the nearly almost always terrible Kevan Miller, to dangerously turn the puck over a couple of times.

- Whistle #16 at the 7:17 mark of this game. That's not a exaggeration. Actual total.

- Plekanec scores. As we mentioned about 10 minutes earlier. Slaps the puck in just below the crossbar.

- In any case, the Habs strong forecheck pays off relatively early, the Bruins are very sloppy around Rask. Poor Tukkaa.

- Byron looks more and more like a Plekanec protege. Pretty good both directions, really assisted with tremendous speed, but lacks the natural skills that turtleplecks brings to the table. Would be more suited to 3rd line duties.

- Still think the Emelin-Petry pairing is inane. Don't know where Therrien gets these ideas and continues to shove square pegs into round holes.

- Not sure what the record is for faceoffs in a period, but we must be getting close to it. 28 faceoffs in 14 minutes.

- Habs seem to be reeling back on the aggressive forecheck, devoting more time to cluttering up the neutral zone. It's reduced their scoring opportunities, but suffocated the Bruins ability to generate any kind of momentum.

- I'm gonna call it here - the next Habs goal, assuming they do score another, will be the Galchenyuk line. Really giving Bruins backend some fits in this period.

- Plekanec goal taken off the board, credited to Byron. It's been nearly two months since turtleplecks scored an even strength goal.

- Subban gives Marchand a little tap, Marchand responds with huge two hander. Ref puts both in the box, which is all kinds of stupid.

- Habs better team in the period, 24 hours more rest, they certainly have more legs than the Bruins, and applied strong pressure from the red line forward, which generated more scoring chances, and mostly confined Boston away from the Habs zone. Even with all the injuries, Canadiens' deeper bench making it hard for the Bruins to adjust and compete.



Tuukka Rask. What's not to love about this guy? The tantrums. The stick breaking. The flip-outs. The sheer psychotic behaviour that makes Rask the classic Boston Bruin hockey player. PLUS HE'S A TEAM PLAYER:

If you're a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, you're a fan of Tuukka Rask. That is mandatory.

I mean, com'on. Rask is the greatest thing to happen to the Montreal Canadiens since ... man ... has anything great happened to this team in 20 years? Anyway, let the stat line tell the tale:

W: 145 L: 88 GAA: 2.20 SV% .925

Hey, those are pretty good numbers. Those are Tuukka's career stats. Impressive! Say, how's he fared against the Habs?

W: 3 L: 17 GAA: 2.74 SV% .906

Uh, yeeks? Well surely those numbers are better the past few season, since those have been Tuukka's prime years, right? Let's look over the past four seasons.

W: 2 L: 10 GAA: 2.72 SV% .904

Yeah, okay. You know what coach Julien? Better not start Tuukka tonight.

(please, please, please, start Tuukka tonight, Claude?)

Anyway, here are the lines tonight for les Bruins:

1: Marchand/Begergon/Connolly
2: Beleskey/Krejci/Eriksson
3: Vatrano/Spooner/Hayes
4: Rinaldo/Ferraro/Randell


Rask (?)

Scratches: Seidenberg, C. Miller

As per usual, the Bruins offence isn't half bad, the team continues to get carried by its powerplay, even though its defence is either old (Chara), inexperienced, or just plain terrible (Morrow/Miller).

Key for the Habs tonight? Don't take penalties, and if those do get called, kill the Boston powerplay. And hope that a certain player who wears a certain #40 gets to start. NOT SAYING WHO THAT PLAYER IS. But, it'll help.

Habs lines? Who knows, but the Michel Therrien blender seems to be pointed towards spitting up these combinations tonight. At least to start the game. After the first shifts, all bets are off.

1: Pacioretty/Galchenyuk/Andrighetto
2: Eller/Plekanec/Byron
3: Fleischmann/Desharnais/Weise
4: Carr/Flynn/Thomas



Puck drops at 7:40 EST.


Branden Prust, you're a TERRIBLE PERSON for doing this. But in the meantime, let's watch:



The weekend is over. Yay! That means we don't have to linger over losing to the last place team in the National Hockey League anymore.

A few bits of Habs news, of some importance:

- Alexander Semin was put on waivers this morning. Assuming he clears, and there might, just might be a couple of teams out there interested in claiming his bargain-basement salary, he'll report to St. Johns. Habs will clear his salary off the cap, save $150k.

- Jared Tinordi, meanwhile, was called up from the farm, his conditioning stint fulfilled. Whether he'll actually receive actual NHL game action - we'll have to wait and see.

- Hey, that presumption that Devante Smith-Pelly was a healthy scratch? Scratch that. Habs have place him on injury reserve today, lower body injury sustained during Thursday's 3-2 loss to Washington.

- Former Hab George Laraque turned 39 today. Happy Birthday George! Those in Montreal can testify that it's not unusual to see George out and about the city (I have bumped into him a couple of times, my own self). Ah, sweet life of retirement.

- Not Habs-related, but for those of who grew up on 70s hockey will be pleased (and perhaps even somewhat chagrined) to know Gerry Cheevers turned 75 years old today. SEVENTY-FIVE. Jesus. 75. Anyway, happy birthday Gerry! Even though you're a Bruin through-and-through, I have absolutely zero ill feelings towards you, because you never beat us.

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