Saturday, 27 February 2016

Game 62: Leafs vs. Habs


- Was wondering if Parenteau would make it all the way to the final lineup tonight, given how it's already been declared that he's to be traded.

- Danault right in the lineup tonight, so let's see how he plays. He's often criticized for his shot selection (often low percentage). Something to watch for.

- Kadri left totally unmarked in front of Condon, receives puck all alone because of sloppy Plekanec turnover, with Emelin off somewhere else. One play - indicative of how poorly this team plays with the puck in their zone.

- Uh, so the Habs getting steamrolled early by a team that would be tough to find wins against an AHL-level opponent, with Hunwick cashing in off a juicy Condon rebound, both Pateryn and Bartley with some poorly coordinated coverage. 1-0 Marlies-light!

- What a shot by Galchenyuk, a sniper writer that Bernier simply doesn't see. Bernier complaining that Eller bumped him, which is a whole lotta whining. Really think Leafs are wasting a challenge here.

- Terrible first 5 minutes for the Habs, but that awesome AG27 goal seems to have woken the team up.

- Seems like Parenteau has been traded? Pulled from the ice in the middle of the period. Here we thought only Pierre Gauthier did that kind of thing.

- I guess Parenteau is off for medical attention.

- Eller looking excellent, again. Can't fathom why Habs management seems so ... determined (?) .. to ship him out of town. More often than not, the line he's centred this season is the best of any given game. 

- Between 5 and 17 minute mark of the period, Leafs didn't muster a single shot attempt on Condon. It's a steep learning curve for a lineup mostly composed of works-in-progress.

- Habs continue to shoot themselves in their own foot by not being able to make even the simplest zone exit with the puck. More turnovers, mostly unforced, eventually resulting in Pacioretty getting nailed for a trip. Habs sloppiness with the puck in their own end really underscores how structurally dysfunctional this hockey club is. 

- Bookend period for the Leafs, they controlled the game first 5, and last 3 minutes. Otherwise, it was all Habs in the frame. Canadiens could probably get some cushion on the scoreboard if they were to be a little more intense with the forecheck, especially against such an inexperienced opponent. More pucks on Bernier, the better.


- Habs and Leafs after 20 minutes, Canadiens with 61.4% CF (5v5). Eller line with 90+% CF (just to give you an idea of how much they dominated). 

- Leafs management/coaching will/should receive a lot of grief about this, but looks like Parenteau won't return tonight, which underscores the importance of why you NEVER play a guy you're trying to trade.  Now Toronto will be stuck with him, a no returns (probable 2nd round pick) coming back. 

- Official. Parenteau is gone for the night with UBI. And with him, any possible hopes for a trade. 

- Gallagher smacking a puck home with a high stick, so Habs denied a goal. Still, they have controlled much of the period, and the game in general. Leafs really, really soft slot protection in front of Bernier. 

- Habs push to the net and traffic in the slot pays off (finally), with McCarron generating a turnover using his body, a point shot from Emelin is neatly deflected by the big winger past Bernier, and probably would have gone in itself. Smith-Pelly, however, finishes the play. 2-1 Habs. The play that McCarron made to help give the Habs the lead is the kind of play that will help him to establish a more permanent spot with the big team.

- Kadri. Such a good forward, but dumb as a pile of rocks. The trade-off isn't good for any team that has him on their roster.

- Habs with an oddly experimental powerplay, which is fine if you have a comfortable lead in the game, not fine if you're holding a one goal lead. Byron/De La Rose/Danault line? Uh .. kay?

- Another poor Habs powerplay, puck being worked again way too much around the perimeter, which given how soft the slot is tonight, really makes no sense. Opportunities lost.

- Habs kids really strong tonight, Andrighetto with strong two-way game, McCarron making an impact ... something to be said about playing youth this time of year. Might even make this team better? 

- Pretty even period, possession-wise. Leafs no real sparkling scoring chances, save a Komarov breakaway off a terrible Galchenyuk pp turnover. We should be reminded that this Leafs lineup is totally depleted .. there should be no reason why they ought to be even whispering at a win, and yet, just one goal down through 40 minutes, their odds remain pretty good. Habs need to really push in the 3rd to gain some insurance.


- Habs and Leafs through 40 minutes. Leafs find themselves down 2 forwards in the 3rd, with Parenteau and Froese now out for the night.

- McCarron with a very strong game, but has barely received 5 minutes of ice time so far. Part of the Canadiens' culture, alas.

- P.K. Subban assessed a penalty for speaking. I'd like to say that's a joke, but sadly, it's not.

- Can't imagine any other player in the NHL being given a T for simply speaking. The rule seems to be only applicable to Subban. Draw your own conclusions. 

- Wow. East, west, west, one timer, an incredible shot by Pacioretty top corner. So hard, so fast, nobody noticed. Not even the train whistle guy. Habs get insurance off a beauty goal. 

- Watching Galcheyuk tonight, he's essentially playing as a centre, which is fine because his (Eller's) line has been excellent tonight, but not fine because it's a dysfunctional setup. Still maddening how the braintrust refuses to put him at his natural position. Oh well.

- Pacioretty piles on with his 2nd, Bernier totally misplays a point shot off the backboards. Leafs coverage in front is atrocious. What can ya say? Leafs getting stomped now.

- Kind of odd how incredible a natural scorer Max Pacioretty is, and yet on breakaways, he's death.

- Habs with a pretty intense 3rd period, credit the youth. So many times this season we've seen the team do a collective 3rd period letdown, usually attempting to protect a slim lead. Tonight, different story. Habs come into the period with one goal lead, and play aggressively. Guess what? They score, easing their way towards a relatively straightforward victory. See? It's really not that hard.

- McCarron with garbage ice time, which is a shame. Feels like the Habs could have played their youth a bit more tonight. Therrien still playing it too safe.

- Pretty solid game for the Habs, McCarron especially so making a significant impact. Even Danault looked pretty decent in his debut. Habs now stand 5 points out of a wildcard spot - still far out of reach, but something ... even if the odds are slim, to still play for. 19 games left. Who knows? Stranger things have happened. 


Happy Saturday night game day! Been a long time since the Habs hosted a team on "Hockey Night", and this time, it's the Leafs! Schweeet.

At least, I think it's the Leafs? Does this team have any roster players left? Today Taronno shipped out James Reimer to the San Jose Sharks for essentially nothing in return. More space off the cap! Are the Leafs actually paying anybody to play for them anymore? Actually, technically, yes - Toronto still has a payroll - $38M to be precise. Which means the Leafs can now offer Steven Stamkos a six year, $360 million contract this summer. STEVEN. DUDE. TAKE THE MONEY. Thank me later, babe.

With all the wheeling and dealing Toronto's been doing the past few days, they now have 27 draft picks to use over the next three years, 17 of which will come in the first 3 rounds. Yeah. This could be a very, very good team. In about 2022.

But how 'bout them Leafs now? Uh. They're not good. Here are Toronto's lines tonight:

- Grabner/Kadri/Kamarov
- Greening/Holland/Winnik
- Leivo/Acrobello/Parenteau
- Leipsic/Froese/Boyes



Okay then. How many of those names do you recognize? If your answer was anything over "6", then (like it or not) you're a Leafs fan.

Meanwhile over in Habsland, CHANGE! In case you've been sleeping in a lot, the Habs traded off Dale Weise and Thomas Fleischmann to the Hawks, in return for grinder (because we don't have enough of those, sigh) Phillip Danault (QUEBECOUS!!), and a 2018 2nd rounder. We here at Habs Game Blog more-or-less approve of the deal, because Weise serves no purpose in playing out the string, and Fleischmann, except for the first couple of months of the season, has largely been an ineffective 3rd line winger (and more often than not, a defensive liability). So Danault, who has a good work ethic reputation, is liked by his teammates, and of course, a draft pick, is something to work with.

So with players moving out, the Habs have a grand opportunity to give some of the futures a good look. 14 foot 6 inch Mike McCarron will get a start tonight, as will (probably) defenseman Morgan Ellis.

Key for the Habs tonight? PLAY THE KIDS. Also, there should be no excuse for a loss since this Leafs team would have a pretty tough time beating their affiliate, the Marlies. That's not a joke, by the way. Toronto's roster really is that thin.

Mike Condon will start in net tonight for the Habs. Puck drops at 7:15 EST.

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