Monday, 22 February 2016

Game 60: Preds vs. Habs


- Dale Weise yanked from the lineup last minute? Hmmmmmm....

- And we're off, Habs get scored on off a delayed penalty. Arvidsson. Condon having troubles handling the puck off a wrist shot along the boards, giving up a rebound which is easily put in. 1-0 early.

- Condon really having trouble with puck control, giving up the puck and providing the Preds with more scoring opportunities off rebounds.

- Habs on track to get two shots on goal this period. It would appear that only one team bothered showing up to the rink tonight.

- Pretty complacent period for the Habs, zone entires have been pretty atrocious for Montreal, when they aren't icing the puck, they're bringing it in offside. This looks like a team that hasn't practiced in a long time.

- Mike Condon really fighting the puck, not that it's going to make much of a difference, if this first period is all the Habs have to offer tonight (which is pretty close to nothing).

- Gallagher off a rebound after the Preds get all messed up with coverage in their own zone. The awful Peter Laviolette doesn't think the goal is legit, for some silly reason. Who knows? Tie game.

- Pekka Rinne ain't exactly enthralling me with style points, lots of flopping in his crease late in this period. Seems to panic whenever pressure is applied.

- Habs rebounded a bit late in the period to salvage matters a bit, Nashville with some pretty sloppy zone play to help the Habs out. Anyway, a pretty terrible period of hockey played by both sides, hopefully we don't have to endure two more periods of this awfulness.


- Habs and Preds in that first listless period of hockey. Montreal rebounding well, as noted, as the period drew to a close. Still don't like the way Rinne looked under pressure - perhaps this will inspire the Habs to be a little more aggressive in getting pucks to the Preds' net?

- Brendan Gallagher blanketing Rinne. Why must he be the only one doing the hard, messy work?

- Rinne gets a little bit lucky, chasing Pacioretty way out of his crease, leaving the cage wide open. Certainly not looking tonight like the Vezina finalist he was last season.

- On the other end, Condon continues to fight the puck, not doing a very good job with rebound control, as per the first period.

- Preds zone coverage isn't very good. Under pressure, lots of forwards doing puck chasing, structure really breaks down. Methinks this team has a coaching issue.

- Pretty goo first half of the 2nd period for the Habs, lion's share of shot attempts, had Rinne on the ropes a couple of times, Canadiens also doing a decent job hustling back to cover their zone off the Preds transition. Montreal seem to be finding their legs as this game progresses.

- Plekanec with a scoring chance, no shot. Most exciting play of the past 15 minutes.

- My apologies for complaining about how boring Friday's game against the Flyers was. Apparently we hadn't nearly reached rock bottom. Tonight might be that night.

- Therrien with the blender out again, Galchenyuk moved away from Plekanec, now with ... De La Rose? Okay, then.

- Not sure if my mind can withstand one more period of hockey like this. Another listless, boring 20 minutes, both teams uninspired performances, not exactly tight checking, just mostly incompetent hockey. No flow, poor passing, meek shot attempts, altogether it's hockey at its worst. Habs at least have 20 minutes to extend their home winning streak, Preds, who aren't out of the playoff race quiet yet in the West, have something to compete for in the final frame.


- After 40 minutes of relentlessly bad hockey:

- So who cares to explain that Fleischmann has 3 more minutes of ice time than does Pacioretty? Only reasonable explanation is showcasing.

- Therrien BETTER be showcasing Fleischmann tonight, because his CF currently stands at a pretty poor 40.0% for the game.

- Eeek. Beaulieu goes in hard to a goalpost driving the Preds net, appears to have injured his leg.

- Beaulieu is back, and is getting a lot of ice time tonight, much like Fleischmann. I hope this doesn't indicate what I think it might indicate.

- Habs really not much of a threat this period because they're not playing their best players. This appears to be a big showcasing night, so guys like Max Pacioretty are pretty much witnesses from the bench.

- Any hopes this period would be better than the previous two have gone by the board. Habs offence is simply awful right now, I don't think they've strung together two consecutive passes this frame.

- Eller/Galchenyuk/Andrighetto. Pretty good line. Problem is, two of those are playing the wrong position.

- Whelp, another nothing period, but Nashville headed to overtime for the 12th time this season, and remember, they've only won once.


- So, um ... will Therrien actually play guys who can actually score in OT? STAY TUNED.

- Therrien sends out Markov. His recall apparently isn't very strong.

- Max Pacioretty with a 2:20 shift. And counting. Yeah. You're not supposed to be out there that long.

- Craig Smith with a setup that a blind man could shoot in. But somehow, he missed. So this is why the Preds are 1-10 in OT this year.

- Therrien doesn't go with Galchenyuk to start the SO. Andrighetto with a poor attempt.

- Man, Preds cursed?

- Pacioretty for the win??? Puck rolls off his stick after he had Rinne beat. Ugh.

- Ah, Smith redeems himself. Habs only get a point. Le sigh.



Hey, the Habs get to play another not-very-good team tonight! Schweeet. This time, it's the Nashville Predators, who, just a couple of years ago, seemed to be aligning themselves as a legit Stanley Cup competitor. I mean, look at last year! 47 win, 100+ point season, with an excellent defence featuring Norris trophy candidate Shae Weber and Seth Jones, decent forwards featuring Filip Forsberg and James Neal, and outstanding goaltending from Pekka Rinne, who finished with 41 wins, a sparkling .923 SV%, and a Vezina trophy nomination.

Jeez, that Nashville teams sounds an awful lot like some other team. Hrmmm. Just ... can't put my finger on who. Hmmm....

Oh well, the Habs take on the Preds tonight at the Bell Centre, with Nashville looking to extend their game points streak to six games, which is kind of impressive when you consider they've only won two of the past five. Nashville has not, let us say, been enjoying the new 3-on-3 overtime format this season. When I say "not enjoy", I mean they've lost 10 out of the 11 they've played. Ouch.

Still, the Preds still seem to think themselves buyers as the trade deadline approaches. There's even been speculation that they're a suiter for the services of Dale Weise. We'll see if anything comes of that.

In the meantime, here are the Preds lines for tonight:




So apart from being terrible in OT, what else should you know about Nashville? Well, their specialty units aren't very good, both their powerplay and penalty kill are in the League's bottom-third. They're a pretty good puck-possession team, with the 4th rated CF%. Their puck luck hasn't been strong, with a PDO rated 24th overall. Are you getting the sense this team bears an uncanny resemblance to another, yet?

Over in Habsland, Tom Gilbert will not play today, he's out day-to-day with a foot injury, clearing the way for Mark Barberio, who really ought to be playing every night regardless of Gilbert's health. Thomas Fleischmann, who's been a healthy scratch of late (and another possible piece of trade fodder) will draw in, Lucas Lessio will sit in the press box.

Mike Condon will start between the pipes for the Canadiens.

Puck drops at 7:40 EST.

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