Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Game 67: Stars vs. Habs


- Scrivens gets the start, which makes all kinds of no sense, unless tanking is the main objective. 

- Lots of empty seats in the Bell Centre, at least by Montreal's standards.

- With all the missing bodies, it's kind of absurd McCarron isn't getting a top-6 slot. 

- Galchenyuk line, to noone's surprise, a very strong first shift.

- Decently strong start for the Habs, lots of young rested legs out there. Totally overmatched on paper against the Stars, but ya never know. 

- Of course Dallas scores first, off their first chance of the game. Emelin fruitlessly chasing Hemsky, while Demers is left completely unmarked in front of Scrivens, Pateryn distracted by someone or something else. Poor structural defence. Same old Habs story.

- Galchenyuk line looks like the only one even remotely capable of scoring for the Habs. Depth out there pretty razor thin.

- Really hoping somebody from the media could query Bergevin on what he saw/sees in Matteau. I don't see anything other than a very marginal fourth line plugger, of which this organization has an over abundance.

- Habs have had two strong minutes. The first two of this period. Since then, Dallas more or less skating circles around their opponent.

- Hey, ho, Habs score and guess which line it was? Guess who won the faceoff deep to help set up the goal? Therrien's past decisions looking even more ridiculous with every passing game.

- Whelp, not a catastrophe as far as periods are concerned, thin Habs lineup doing a reasonable job, although zone defensive play looks pretty shaky. One would expect with someone like Ruff behind the bench that Dallas will make the necessary adjustments moving forward to help them to convert on their scoring chances, of which they have a clear edge over Montreal. Eventually Dallas should pull away on the scoreboard.


- Scrivens special, as Spezza from along the boards, beats him clean glove side. 2-1. Scrivens continues to play poorly.

- And the beat goes on. Andrighetto with nice work along the boards, scoops the puck out front to who-know-who, the Habs tie the game up almost immediately. My observation that the Habs might have only one scoring-capable line continues to hold

- Andrighetto has a pretty decent future ahead of him, but one area he needs to improve on is receiving passes. Too many times he's missed quick passes because his blade isn't on the ice. Not a mistake you want to see by an NHL player.

- Mike Brown is in the lineup tonight, another wasted spot that could go to a young player whom actually has a future in this League.

- Woah, Habs be scoring some fierce goals, Danault banks home the puck off the backboards, and very suddenly, Montreal takes the lead. Scoring fast and furious in the period, some from hard work, some from lucky puck bounces.

- Scrivens, sometimes I wonder how he managed to crack the NHL, so undisciplined is his goaltending. Just waiting for the other shoe to drop for another iffy Dallas goal.

- Galchenyuk and his line is, quite simply, on fire. He's taken the baton of centre and has run away so fast, not even Michel Therrien dares take it away.

- McCarron hammers Demers along the boards, can't imagine how painful that must feel. One area this 6'6" frame could probably benefit from would be a bit more physicality. You hate to not use a big body like that to full effect.

- Still can't fathom Habs holding this lead. Not with Scirvens in goal. That said, it's been an excellent period for the Habs, definitely the faster and more physical team.

- Galchenyuk feelin' it. Playing with mountains of cofidence. You can see it with every shift. It looks like, maybe for the first time all season, that he's having fun while playing.

- Scirvens bleeding quite a bit from his fingers. Have no idea how that happened, or how serious his cut is. Anyway, pretty breezy period for him, really only one semi-difficult shot, that being Spezza's goal, which he should have stopped.

- Saw replay of cut on his glove hand. Looks pretty nasty. Still no idea how it happened. He's staying in.

- And there it is. Scrivens fails to cover the post, moving left to right, Hemsky with a pretty easy wrap around goal even though he carried the puck all the way around behind the net. Terrible netminding. Just terrible.

- And just like that, Habs work in getting the lead this goes poof because Scrivens can't stop simple scoring attempts. It's a demoralizing turn of events, the Habs bench almost certainly will be drained of any sense of momentum the third period. Who can blame them? Why work your butt off if your netminder can't do his own job?


- Kind of hoped Condon would get the start for the third period, but then I remember we're in tank mode. So Scrivens back in net is fine.

- Bartley is sooooo slow its agonizing. Another one of those pickups that I'd love to hear Bergevin's rationale for having interest in the first place. I'd be inclined to just bench him and rotate Barberio into the Pateryn/Emelin pairing.

- Stars continue to pick apart and exploit poor Habs structure in the neutral zone - they're gaining some pretty free-wheeling transitions and getting good looks at Scrivens, who looks really shakey with his glove hand. Once again, it seems almost inevitable that Dallas will eventually score towards sealing victory.

- One possible salvation for the Habs tonight - their powerplay, which has actually looked pretty decent (with Galchenyuk line out there). Opportunity at hand with 12 minutes left.

- Never mind. Galchenyuk gets nailed for a hook (soft call) while on the man advantage. Oh well. 

- Ruff has made the necessary adjustments, heavily deploying his checkers against the Galchenyuk line. With most everyone else MIA for Habs offence, it's pretty much nullified Canadiens' scoring chances this period. We sit, and wait for Dallas to score next.

- Quiet night for Plekanec, who's been primarily used to keep an eye on Tyler Seguin.

- Well, credit where credit is due, vastly undermanned Habs manage to squeeze a point against the Stars. So we'll give 'em that. Still, Dallas heavy favourites to take this in extra time, which are more often than not, determined by whomever has the superior goaltender.


- WIth all this open ice, pretty sure it won't take long for a goal to be scored in OT, and very sure it won't be the Habs who score it.

- Just play Galchenyuk and Pacioretty. Hey, why not. Worth a shot.

- Plekanec/Byron? Um ... ok. 

- Ooooooooh Galchenyuk to Pacioretty for a one timer. So close. Almost made me look like I know what I'm talking about. Almost.

- OH MY GAWD. Stars' Russell has his stick shatter in the defensive zone, thereby essentially making it a Habs 3-on-2, and Markov feeds Galchenyuk perfectly for the one timer, and victory! Holy crap. They won. 


- Habs don't have anyone left to play anymore. Carey Price, Jeff Petry, Tom Gilbert, Nathan Beaulieu, David Desharnais, Brendan Gallagher, Daniel Carr, Brian Flynn, Lars Eller, seven of the Bell Centre's gate attendants and the ghost of Howie Morenz (who passed away 79 years ago) are all injured and won't be in the lineup tonight. In their place are warms bodies. Anything with a pulse. Volunteers. Maybe a couple of hostages.

- No way the Stars lose tonight. No way. If they lose, Lindy Ruff should cancel Christmas of the entire Dallas lineup for the next five years.

- We ain't blogging live again tonight, in part because nobody really cares much anymore about this season, in part because my kid is in a minor league playoff game tonight (goaltending, of course).

- That said, full game blog will be posted probably late tonight, early tomorrow morning.

- Puck drops at 7:40 EST. Starting goaltender will probably be Mike Condon, or maybe the Habs will instead hammer a couple of boards across the posts.

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