Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Game 51: Habs vs. Flyers


- Habs and Flyers after 40 minutes. Habs possession % in that 2nd period was just under 30. Yeah. That's pretty bad.

- Flyers have been doing a whole lotta embellishing tonight, perhaps sensing the officials are not good. It hasn't worked out so far.

- Habs powerplay just ... okay, I know this is spinning wheels because we've been going on about this for nearly half a season, but their powerplay is just so predictable. Permitter passing, then finally a pass to the line for a harmless shot because most everyone else is on the permitter passing the puck. WHY CAN'T THIS BE IDENTIFIED AND CORRECTED?!??

- Very quiet period for Condon, while underlines how this period has gone so far the first 10 minutes - mostly Habs, although the Flyers are doing a pretty good job protecting the area in front of Mason.

- Simmonds again. Left unmarked in the slot. Smith-Pelly not doing his job. Condon hung out to dry. Flyers take the lead. Here we go.

- Gudas with a horrible hip check right below Lessio's knee. Obvious clip. Horrible result, Lessio looks severely injured.

- Gudas gets 5 and a game for clipping. Habs with an enormous opportunity at hand, but they'll need their powerplay to deliver.

- Flyers in the first four minutes of the 5 minute Habs powerplay, get 2 scoring chances. Habs generate 0. Therrien sending out Smith-Pelly. Words ... I'm at a loss.

- Why is Therrien using 4th liners on this powerplay. Is he just trying to lose?

- Absolutely dismal 5 minute powerplay. Just a big fat zero there. How anybody remotely associated with overseeing this unit is still employed is beyond my ability to comprehend.

- They might as well have pulled Condon with that powerplay, because this team isn't capable of scoring with a one man advantage. Two men? Maybe. But one man? Nope.

- ANNNNNNNNNNND ... another loss. Crazy insane. This team can't win under Therrien. The same mistakes being made over and over and over and over and over again, with this coaching staff bewilderingly, expecting somehow to get a different result.

I'm about ready to pitch the towel in.


- Habs and Flyers after 20 minutes: 

- Well, that's definitely a positive sign - with Petry scoring off a very nice screen by Smith-Pelly. So a couple of defensemen who've been mired in droughts hit the sheet in less than a period. Game tied.

- Still don't see much in the positive way from the Habs 4th line, which has basically fallen off the map since Torrey Mitchell returned from injury.  Simply not providing the team with any momentum or energy, mainly because most of the action seems to end up in the defensive zone while they're on the ice. Opposing coaches (the smart ones anyway) are line matching this weak line to death.

- Flyers cleary out possessing Habs in this period, but not really generating very many scoring opportunities - no more than the outshot Habs, at the very least.

- Markov gets caught up ice as Giroux is sprung on a break, and Subban makes an incredible play hustling back to make a clean check to prevent not only a goal, but even a shot attempt. Brilliant.

- Officials seem to be unwilling to call violent stick penalties tonight, with many slashes and crosschecks going unpunished. The other soft stuff, though, the hooks and holds, they're right on it. Very inconsistently officiated game so far.

- Habs PK continues to be far too soft in the slot, the Flyers are getting the red carpet treatment right in front of Condon, who's been coming up big in this period.

- Ham-fisted period by the Habs, Flyers getting far too many opportunities, even 5v5. Habs do have a powerplay coming up, perhaps that will give Montreal some badly needed momentum.

- Beaulieu with a totally open net off a cross ice pass, and somehow, he shoots it right back into Mason's body. The play does, however, illustrate the folly playing point men off their off wing, as has been the Habs tendency for most of the season.

- Not a great period for the Habs, which is hard to figure out. They fight their way back into a tie, and should by all means, have plenty of confidence and momentum going forward. However, after the Petry goal, the Habs went into a shell, preferring not to press the Flyers further, but to instead "protect" the tie. So now this team has to scrape it out over 20 minutes for a win against another basement-dwelling opponent. Sigh.


- A little late to the action tonight. Habs inserting recently acquired Lucas Lessio into the lineup tonight. He'll see 4th line action. Maybe it'll help what's been a pretty poor playing unit the past two months or so. Maybe  not. 

- Not a good start, with Beaulieu getting nabbed for a hold. Flyers outskating Habs early in this one.

- Really not good start, Simmonds allowed to go right to the front of the net uncheck, and has an easy tip in from a point shot. Gilbert playing really soft in his slot. 1-0 early Flyers. 

- Habs responding well to what ought to have been a deflating opening goal for the Flyers. Aggressive with the puck, getting decent puck control in the Philly zone, but still having difficulty generating high percentage scoring attempts.

- Habs need to stay out of the penalty box, not doing any favours to their momentum. Pacioretty with an unnecessary interference penalty.

- Hoo boy. Takes the Flyers 6 seconds to score off their second man advantage for their second powerplay goal. Looks like the puck might have gone off Markov, but once again, Philadelphia doing it right - sending forwards to the goal. Habs playing way too soft in their slot on the PK tonight, and already, it's killing them.

- Welcome back to the scoresheet Andrei Markov. Off the powerplay, shockingly enough. Habs seem to be engaging their defence a bit more aggressively with the man advantage (if you'd care to call that an adjustment). It's nice to see something done, although such a strategy does present inherent risks. 2-1 Flyers.

- Habs really taking it to the Flyers in this period, at lest the from the 5 minute mark forward. Galchanyuk looks especially good as usual, Flyers are getting slightly overwhelmed. 

- Welp, that was actually a pretty good period for the Habs - they may trail on the scoreboard, but they had a defined edge in play, possession and aggression. Which are all positive considering how fragile this team must be, and to play well even going down 2-0 in the 1st is a pretty good indicator.

Ottawa Citizen


Okay, I gotta admit, I enjoyed not looking at, not writing about, not even thinking about the Habs for a week. I mean, I really, really enjoyed it. It's amazing what 7 days away from the misery of losing and frustration from the managerial incompetence that is the Montreal Canadiens, can do for the soul.

Like any nice vacation away from reality, it must all come to and end. Alas, the Habs are back in action tonight, as they take on the Flyers from Philadelphia.

Perhaps I was being a tad hopeful, but a little distant part of me, that one little piece that still hasn't died a slow agonizing death from having to endure witnessing this season, hoped a tiny hope that this organization would use these days off to reflect, realize where things have been going so wrong, and make changes. Nothing extraordinary. The faithful such as myself have already written off the possibility that Michel Therrien would be removed before season's end. But apart from a badly needed coaching alteration, at least something to push this team in a positive direction.

So yesterday, as I began to remove myself from the warm, cozy, Habs-free cocoon, I read this:

LOLz. Yeah. That's how naive I was in hoping there'd be change. Did I really think the brain trust would make obvious adjustments, such as finally, mercifully, putting Alex Galchenyuk back at centre, and finally, mercifully, putting David Desharnais back at wing, and finally, mercifully, moving Andrighetto back on an actual scoring line?



So tonight, this rudderless, scoring-disabled, deflated, disorganized hockey team will take on the pitiful Philadelphia Flyers, and there's no good reason to believe that given this insane franchise keeps doing the same wrong thing over and over again expecting a different result, that the results will be any different tonight. Which is to say, another L in the LOSS column.

Puck drops at 7:10 EST. We're hoping you'll joing us. Assuming you can stomach it.

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