Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Game 52: Sabres vs. Habs


- Habs and Sabres after 40 minutes:

- Well, now. Galchenyuk now playing with Plekanec and Gallagher. So that's ... different.

- Tom Gilbert, a prime trading commodity if there was ever one, with a clunky trip to give the Sabres the powerplay.

- And the Sabres convert. Sigh. Like last night, opposing forwards allowed to go to the net unmolested for easy tap-ins. Not very good coverage by Subban and Markov.

- Another big issue for this team (besides coaching and defense) is its 4th line. There's no way you'll convince me there isn't more than a few younger and more capable bodies in St. John's that could easily take either Torrey Mitchell or Brian Flynn's spot on that line, which is, and has been, a tire fire since December.

- Yeah. Photocopy of the Sabres 2nd goal, again opposing forward allowed to go directly to the net uncontested, again a tap in goal off a harmless point shot. Habs defence just awful. Tonight, last night, for weeks, for months.

- 5 minutes left. If the Habs lose yet again, what excuses will be offered up by Mr. Therrien?

- Habs, like all awful teams, find a way of losing. Again. But no matter. Nothing will change. Nobody is being held accountable. It's engines full throttle dead straight ahead.

A total embarrassment. In 106 years, this franchise has never embarrassed itself so much as it has this year.


- So by just about any standard, that was a pretty awful first period for the Habs. The bar for improvement has been set pretty low, which I suppose is the only good news to speak of while trailing on the scoreboard - but only by one.

- Just to give you an idea of how poorly the Desharnais line played in the first period (they were largely responsible for the Sabres goal), puck possession for that line was under 30%. For the supposed #1 line. Oy.

- Bright spot? Andrighetto. Now, if he could only be placed on an actual scoring line.

- Hey, Dale Weise scores. Easy tap-in backdoor goal on the powerplay, but still, it's a goal. Good positioning, and the game is tied. For now.

- Incredible hooking penalty on Plekanec, stick nowhere near his check, no way wrapped around. It's as though the official had made up his mind the Habs were going to be shorthanded next.

- Josh Georges still blocks shots like a crazy man. He'd still be a significant upgrade over Emelin.

- Habs with a far stronger 2nd period compared to the 1st. Sabres very much on their heels, doing everything possible to maintain a tie. Montreal with a prime opportunity to take the lead, the question is, do they have anyone capable of delivering?

- Desharnais with a terrible shot attempt, as usual. Emelin with a terrible pass attempt that generates a break for the opposition, as usual.

- Pretty, pretty, pretty individual effort by Galchenyuk, who scores a goal-scorers goal. You get the point. Sabres really being pressed here, and finally, Habs are cashing in on their chances. 2-1.

- Another solid penalty kill by the Habs. Keeping momentum at bay, or at least, shifting the other direction.

- Habs sure look like they're trying to sit on this lead to the end of the period, which is not exactly a winning strategy.

- Even though the Sabres controlled much of the game the final 7 minutes, much better period for the Habs, who managed to generate enough sustained pressure to gain the lead. We now enter some unfamiliar territory. The Habs holding the lead entering the 3rd period. How will this team perform protecting a lead?


- Yeah, we're gluttons. For punishment. We're blogging again tonight, to endure more pointless Habs hockey So Emelin is in tonight, for Barberio. Which makes no sense. Also Galchenyuk on the wing. Also Pacioretty with Desharnais and Weise. And so it goes.

- Bell Centre is roughly 80% full as the puck drops, which for many NHL teams would be great, but for Montreal? Terrible.

- Habs outshooting Sabres 6-0, and of course, the Sabres score first, because Emelin goes wandering, and Desharnais and Weise don't bother hustling back to cover their zone. Laugh or cry. You decide.

- Desharnais line is off to an awful start. Totally disinterested effort so far.

- Habs in general, playing very indifferently, the moral, or lack thereof, is really showing its stripes. It's been a long time since I've seen a Habs lineup this indifferent, this deflated, and this resigned.

- A period of utter mediocrity. If this is all we can expect, the team has collectively tossed in the towel.

- And here's the possession chart after 20 minutes, Habs were just 38.2% 5v5. Pretty not good:

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