Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Game 71: Habs vs. Sabres


- Soooo ... Habs defence is thusly tonight:

Pateryn/Bartley (another wasted opportunity giving time to a kid who might actually have an NHL future).

Let's check out the "offence":

Pacioretty/Galchenyuk/Andrighetto (yup)
Eller/Plekanec/Byron (okay).
Lessio/McCarron/Mitchell (um ... I guess ...)
De La Rose/Danault/Brown (and there we have it, again another game wasted spot taken up by Mike Brown. Sigh).

- first half of the period done, this game is as expected, pretty horrible.

- Habs again with poor transition out of their zone, another sloppy puck turnover, Kane with a snap shot that Scrivens' whiffs at, post comes to his rescue. For now.

- Gary Galley on Sportsnet heaping praise on Michel Therrien, and how he's "done quite a job." This is what happens when casual viewers of hockey are provided access to a microphone.

- Canadiens have spent most of this period treating the puck like a live grenade, which I guess qualifies as a system? Anyway, formula for losing is more apt.

- Bartley takes a penalty because he can't skate very well. But he's getting played. For some reason.

- Of course, Sabres score - although it looks like puck was hit in with a high stick. Yup it's a goal. Bogosian. SABRES TAKE THE LEAD WOOT.

- I don't care if this is the Habs "C" roster, no team should play this poorly under any circumstances.

- Galchenyuk gets hammered 10 times with sticks and face punches after being in the Sabres crease. Habs get penalized. Because, of course.

- Is P.K. Subban really that good? Since he's gone down to injury, this team has become totally and completely inept, save for maybe the Galchenyuk line. Good grief.

- Truly awful. No other way of describing the Habs in that period. Once again, even considering the injuries, no NHL team should play this badly. Taking Galchenyuk line out, perhaps some of the worst hockey I've ever seen a Montreal Canadiens team play in 40 years.


- Here's the ugly 1st period line, Habs CF was a stunning 31.0%. Against the Buffalo Sabres. Remarkable.

- Well, if any Canadiens player was to score tonight, then let if be Greg Pateryn, eh? His very first goal in the NHL. Congratulations! Frame that puck asap.

- That was quite a blast of a slapper by Pateryn, who does have a relatively underrated hard shot. So that it's taken this long to score his first goal is a little surprising.

- Habs powerplay, like just about everything else, firmly back to being terrible. Not nearly enough movement by the unit, which now stands 1 for its last 23 in its last 9 games.

- Andrighetto pulled from the Galchenyuk line, for ... get ready for it ... Mike Brown. 

- Barberio hurt somewhere, missed it. Done for the night. Add 'em to the list.

- Brown gets nailed for a double minor. Making his NHL contributions. You might have the impression that the Habs are having a better 2nd period because they've scored the only goal. The assumption, however, would be incorrect. The underlying numbers are essentially the same compared to the first period. Still awful.

- Awful game spinning out of control, a semi-line brawl with Lehner sucker punching McCarron, and everyone grabs a partner. Can we just call the game, and go home?

- We'll never go home. This game started almost 2 hours ago, and we haven't even finished the 2nd period. The hockey gods are merciless. 

- Markov scores off the, believe it or not, resulting powerplay. Point shot deflects and knuckles in. Habs, incredibly, take a 2-1 lead. And the period ends. Finally. 20 more minutes left to endure.


- Habs and Sabres after 40 minutes: Habs CF (5v5) is 38.8%.

- Seems like Danault/De La Rose/Brown hit the ice, the ice suddenly tilts at a 30 degree angle and the puck slides into the Habs zone. And stays there.

- Emelin with the play of his year, keeping the puck barely in the Sabres zone, deking out two defenders, and slipping the puck to Andrighetto who had a WIDE OPEN NET. Somehow, he misses. Do'h.

- Evander Kane continues to make stupid, selfish plays, this time getting nailed for 4 minutes crosschecking Byron to the head, and then getting 2 more for mouthing off. So much stupid, the Habs can now (possibly) finish this game off. 

- Ha ha. Habs manage to screw it all up anyway. A line change that takes forever and a day, Legwand simply skates over to a loose puck, picks it up, and snaps it past Scrivens. A bush league play by a less-than bush-league hockey team.

- Watched the reply of that powerplay "line change". Sure looks like whatever line was supposed on, somehow didn't know they were supposed to go on. So while players were getting off their shift, nobody was getting on for at least five seconds. That's incredibly bad bench management.

- Trying to envision the silly way the Habs will find to lose this game. The possibilities are endless. 

- Markov is gonna get 30+ minutes tonight because of the early Barberio injury and the Beaulieu misconduct. He's definitely lagging out there right now - Habs incredibly vulnerable when he's on the ice.

- And there you have it, Markov loses his judgement and hits Foligno in the head with his elbow on an attempted body check. A player not exhausted doesn't make that stupid mistake. Sabres to the powerplay to win the game.

- Sabres can't convert. Oh well. Longest three periods of hockey this year, both literally and figuratively, now goes to overtime, just to torture viewers all the more. Habs screw up getting the Sabres to within 3 points in the standings. Now best Buffalo can do to close the gap is 4.


- Beaulieu on the ice for this overtime would be obvious, but instead Therrien is going with Emelin.

- Eichel making Emelin look pretty terrible off an end to end rush. Easily breezing past him wide off the wing.

- Brian Gionta hasn't lost his old Habs touch, missing a wide open cage off a Scrivens rebound.

- Beaulieu gets a shift. Finally. With 2 minutes left in OT.

- Markov just got tossed from the game, presumably from informing the officials his displeasure over continuously getting blungened by Buffalo Sabres sticks. There goes one very tired and frustrated hockey player. Sad.

- Mitchell puts it home off a nice pass from Byron off a 2-on-1, and this game mercifully ends.

- Oops, hold that, Byron's pass goes in off a Sabres stick for the winner. Anyway, mission not accomplish tonight - Habs hopes of being overtaken by the Sabres in the standings are pretty much zero now. 


Where to even begin? Tonight's game is utterly meaningless, unless you're fascinated by the June lottery draft, in which case I would highly recommend you seek professional counselling.

So ... Habs stuff. Lars Eller will play tonight. So will Nathan Beaulieu. That means the defence has too many bodies, which normally would mean the obvious sit-out would be the (on the best of days) marginal fill-in Victor Bartley. But nopes, it's Darren Dietz who gets the ride the pine. Actually, it's even worse for Dietz. He gets a one-way ticket back to Newfoundland so that he might enjoy the lovely March weather.

What else do we have. Well, I guess we're hoping desperately for a Sabres win tonight because a Buffalo victory would pull them to (it's hard to believe, but yet, it isn't) a mere 3 points of the Canadiens.


I guess we'll blog this one tonight. Ben Scrivens will start in net for the Habs because ... aw screw it - nobody cares.

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