Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Game 81: Habs vs. 'Canes


- First NHL game in Charlie Lindgren's life, first shot, and ... first goal allowed. That's quite the trifecta. 1-0 'Canes.

- Lindgren, FWIW, is being given the once-over to see how well he'd play in St. John's next year. His career might very well not go beyond that, but he's contractually obliged to be played in the NHL this season, so that the Habs can avoid waivers when he's returned to the rock. 

- After a pretty poor start, Habs have owned the period since the 10:00 mark, Galchenyuk line (as seemingly usual) the best Montreal has to offer, Alex hitting a post. 

- Nice effort so far by Markov, trying to end the season on a high note, no doubt. Whether he'll be around for another season in a Habs uniform remains to be seen.

- Habs guilty of some pretty wretched defensive breakdowns here late in the period, very poor coverage in the slot, Carolina basically granted numerous scoring opportunities because of some chaotic/unstructured defensive structure. Pretty inexcusable play by a supposedly professional hockey team.

- Dietz with his first NHL goal, and absolute bullet top corner that would make P.K. Subban blush, and the Habs tie the game late.

- Two bad teams clash, makes for a pretty poor quality period of hockey. Sloppy, unstructured, not a low of flow, lots of defensive breakdowns. More or less torture to watch. Habs probably the slightly better team in the period, they had more zone pressure than did Carolina, but Ward vs. Lindgren over the long haul of three periods, you'd have to take the former over the later.


- Habs and 'Canes after 20 minutes, Habs with majority puck possession (60.0%), the Galchenyuk line with an impressive 71.4% CF (5v5).

- Lindgren shows nice lateral movement, is one of the observations I have (albeit admittedly limited). That certainly separates him considerably from Mike Condon, whose lateral movement is, to be charitable, below average for an NHL goaltender.

- 4th line does Keystone Kops impersonation, Hanifin eventually blasting one past a totally hung-out-to-dry Lindgren. More dysfunctional hockey burns the Habs - for about that gazillionth time this season. 2-1 Carolina.

- He's trying, but Desharnais will never amount to anything better than a 3rd line winger. That's about all he's ultimately capable of contributing, properly deployed as a winger, of course.

- Cam Ward muffs up a relatively routine wrister by Pacioretty, and the game is tied. Can Max reach 30 in a season playing on a very terrible hockey team? It's gonna be close.

- While Max scores, all of our nightmares are coming into fruition:

- Yay, another year of Michel Therrien! If you hadn't yet, best get right on planning the parade.

- Carr scores, off a deflected Plekanec shot, Habs get a very lucky bounce, and a 3-2 lead. More-or-less just, the Canadiens have controlled much of the game tempo since the 'Canes pulled ahead 2-1. Nice little demonstration of some bounce-back, I suppose.

- A 75 game season for Daniel Carr is going to make this Habs team a whole lot better. In retrospect,  he was the big positive addition of the year for the Habs. 

- 'Canes definitely going through all of the motions tonight, they look even more in a hurry to see this season done and over with than the Canadiens. Habs pretty much controlling the game, Carolina has a very small handful of scoring chances, and if not for some bad structural breakdowns, are fortunate to have 2 goals on the board. Really can't see how the Habs will lose this game if the pattern continues as is, through the 3rd period.


- Habs and Canes after 40 minutes, Habs with 67.4% SA CF, which tells you all you need to know about Carolina's effort tonight (perhaps more telling is they were only able to muster up 4 scoring chances in the first two periods).

- Desharnais, open net, fires the puck, misses. 5 seconds later gets the puck, open net, passes the puck away. This is why he doesn't produce, can't produce. Terrible hockey intelligence.

- Lars Eller with insurance, Ward with a juicy rebound, but still totally let down by his defence. 4-2. Canadiens frittering away a precious spot on the standings, overtaking the Sabres.

- I guess the Habs were overdue to play against a terrible goaltender, and be gifted a game. Still, it's frustrating to see this team lose a place in the draft standings for the sake of a nothing victory.

- Habs win, played a pretty decent game, aided by a pretty poor effort by Carolina, assisted by questionable net minding by Cam Ward. Just one more game left to endure before we can mercifully put this season to bed, and look forward to another year of Marc Bergevin and Michel Therrien in charge. 


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