Thursday, 31 March 2016

Game 78: Habs vs. Bolts


- Galchenyuk in full zoom mode tonight.

- Seems like every shift involving Torrey Mitchell results in some defensive misadventure. Mitchell basically playing himself into irrelevance on a team overburdened with 4th liners.

- Desharnais, playing like he has something to prove, opens the scoring off a (as he usually gives up) Bishop rebound. I guess Davey is making his auditions for the 2c spot? 

- Therrein sends out overmatched 4th line after the DD goal, Habs get hemmed in their zone for more than a minute, barely holding their early lead. Coaching!

- As period progresses, Tampa playing increasingly sloppy hockey, zone transitions are disorganized, entires mostly ineffective. Not a good sign when you're facing a bad opponent just as the playoffs are to begin.

- Beaulieu injured on the PK. Speaking of, Habs PK success rate past two weeks has been 65%. Which is just about as awful as a PK could ever be in the NHL. 

- Okay period for Habs, nice work by Galchenyuk, Eller and Desharnais. Tampa with a pretty mediocre effort - not unusual to see for a team that would look at this game and think "easy pickings". I'll expect to see more from them in the 2nd - perhaps more physical play.

- Habs nursing a two goal lead through 40 minutes, it really does feel like a very tentative game. I guess Habs have Tampa's number this season? Hockey is weird that way. Still, this doesn't take away from the Habs efforts tonight, which have been very hard working. Canadiens doing a good job clogging up the neutral zone which has helped to nullify some of Tampa's breakout speed. Still, the Lightening must be disappointed with their performance - two supposedly easy points to keep them ahead of Florida being tossed to the wind, mainly due to sloppy, one might speculate, somewhat lacidazical efforts?


- After 20 minutes, Habs CF (5v5) was 50.0%.

- Beaulieu is out for the night to injury because this team will never be allowed to be healthy ever again. The end.

- Wow. Torrey Mitchell picks up the puck at the red line, turns on the afterburners, and scores one of the prettiest solo goals you'll see. Habs take a stunning 2-0 lead.

- Tampa finally now playing with some urgency. That Mitchell goal might have woken up some dozy heads. 

- Lightening still being very careless and sloppy with the puck. Passing is very poor. Just about the last things you want to see your team doing with handful of games left on the schedule. 

- Palat splits Hanley and Pateryn, who both do a lousy job blocking the rush, with Pateryn pulling on Palat just as he's skating past. A penalty shit is (incorrectly) called, but Condon makes the save anyway. Given how atrocious Montreal's PK has been lately, it was probably a blessing in disguise.

- Tampa finding their mo, it seems. Pateryn and Emelin getting hemmed in - the loss of Beaulieu is going to make holding this lead progressively more difficult as the game progresses.

- Habs not even showing pretence of fighting fire with fire, pucks brought/shot in are being dumped out without pause. Transition game virtually ground to a halt. Full on prevent mode here, possibly because of rapidly exhausting defensive line. Could get pretty messy here if Tampa finally starts converting.


- Habs and Lightening after 40 minutes. Galchenyuk line, statistically speaking, best for the Habs tonight, both ends of the ice.

- Tampa juggling their top two lines in a bid to find some goals. Stamkos just came close. Otherwise, still shooting blanks.

- Tampa's defense continues to make poor choices with the puck, often resulting in deep zone turnovers and high percentage Habs scoring attempts. Bishop keeping his team in this game, although the mistakes are bound to burn unless and until Tampa starts scoring. 12 minutes left.

- 7 minutes left, Habs defense visibly tiring, the impact of losing Beaulieu now taking effect. Tampa, if they're ever going to score, may very well do it now - Habs icing the puck to slow the game. We'll see how that works out.

- For whatever reason, Tampa pulls Bishop at the end of a powerplay, with Danault leaving the box, and putting the puck into the empty net. And so Tampa lose again to the Habs, who with 5 defence, played a pretty gritty game resulting Ina valiant win. Florida now with grand opportunity to win their division, which just about nobody saw happening at the start of the season. Good coaching, I suppose. Our loss, their gain.


Okay, we're in south Florida. What's happening?

- Well lookie here, P.K. Subban is ... not back in the lineup tonight. Oh well. HEY, lookie here. Mike Brown is also not! Stefan Matteau will take his spot in the lineup, which I guess is okay? One guy who doesn't have an NHL future switched for another.

- Habs held a practice this morning, and Carey Price played in all of it, fully equipped. He's getting close. Maybe he'll be ready come April 10th?

- ICYMI, Ben Scrivens was placed on waivers yesterday, and today he cleared, meaning he's out in St. John's. It's unlikely Scrivens will be with the Ice Caps beyond this season, just as it's unlikely Scrivens will play in the NHL again. Bon Voyage, Ben!

- With Scrivens forever banished to the middle of nowhere, Mike Condon will take the reigns the rest of the way ... unless Price does return, of course. Habs backup tonight is the newly signed (good move by Marc Bergevin, might I add) Charlie Lindgren.

- Tampa continues to fight for the Atlantic Division crown with the Florida Panthers. So every game is meaningful for the Lightning, which means they won't exactly be "resting" their better players tonight, which means we could be witness to another scoreboard thumping.

- Tampa, much like the Habs went through from ... oh ... December unti the present, have been dealing with injuries. The Lightening recently lost defenseman Anton Stralman with a LBI that will keep him out for the next 3-4 weeks. They're also missing wingers Nikita Kucherov and Ryan Callahan. Their return is not known at this time. One (or maybe even both) might play tonight.

- Ben Bishop is in goal for Tampa, coming off a 3-0 shutout victory over the Leafs on Monday.

- Puck drops at 7:40 EST.

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