Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Game 7: Habs vs. Islanders



- A spirited start to the game, both teams look like they have plenty of legs - both netminders could be busy tonight.

- Desharnais line continues to surprise with their strong performance - chemistry continuing to build between DD and Shaw and Byron. Meanwhile, we're still waiting on Plekanec to make an appearance this season. Hasn't been very good getting himself into good shooting/scoring positions.

- Emelin falls down along the boards trying to retrieve the puck. We've mentioned the awful ice conditions at the Barclays Center - the worst areas of bad ice are most often found along the boards.

- If you watch closely, you'll notice the puck on edge quite often, which is a sign the ice is too soft. Makes passing and stick handling very difficult. 

- This hasn't been an issue that's gained much notice, but Habs are having far too many faceoffs deep in their zone this season, in part because the defence hasn't done a good job in transitioning the puck, in part because this team ices a lot, in part because Montoya likes to freeze the play. So far tonight 13 faceoffs, 8 deep in the Habs zone. Only 3 have been on Islanders' side of centre.

- So I predicted a busy night for the goaltenders. Yeah, that's really working out brilliantly. 

- The first 3 minutes of the game were pretty intense, very fast, and then the game just kind of fell off the cliff. Really think the ice conditions are playing havoc with both team's ability to organize effective rushes - shot totals were just 8-6 for New York, with maybe 1 or 2 of those shots remotely posing scoring danger. Looks like this game will be a grind to the finish. Grab a pillow and sneak some Z's. 


- Habs CF (5v5) after 20 minutes was 51.5%. To sum up a pretty bad period of hockey, here were the scoring chances:

Do you see them? Yeah I know, it's hard to tell. But there were two. That's all, folks.

- There's a good case to be made that Radulov removed, Paul Byron has been the Habs best playing forward this season. So it only seems fitting he opens the scoring off the rebound of a Gallagher shot. 1-0 Habs.

- Just not happening for Plekanec. But he's doing the right things. Puck luck has been dreadful.

- Galchenyuk line, it appears to have risen. Habs are dominating this period - Islanders are very fortunate to be only trailing 1-0.

- He's been turning heads for his scoring, but one of the real talents, if not his biggest hockey skill, is Radulov's passing. So sharp, so often pinpoint accurate. We knew his signing was important, but so far, it's looking huge.

- Islanders are getting destroyed in the neutral zone. It's allowing the Habs to carry the puck in flying. Montreal firing all cylinders this period, but still only lead 1-0.

- If Greiss doesn't bring is A game tonight (as he has), the score might well already be out of reach. Habs pluggers have been delivering on the scoresheet, while the big guys, Pacioretty, Galchenyuk and Plekanec, can't seem to finish.

- Hoo boy, Islanders get first powerplay in the game, have only scored once with man advantage this season, and tie the game after Emelin flubs an easy clear in front of Montoya. 

- Well, the Habs are getting Habbed tonight. Totally dominating the 2nd period, and all they have to show for it is a 1-1 tie, mainly because the team hasn't finished (bad puck luck - it had to come the other way!), a great performance in net by Greiss, and simple mistakes - Emelin's poor puck play on the PK. What goes around, comes around, I guess.


- Ah, the hockey gods be cruel to the Canadiens in that 2nd period, where they had 80+% SA CF (5v5), 2 period total of 67.9%:

- Greiss doing a most excellent Carey Price impersonation, robbing Beaulieu off a Weber rebound. Seconds later, Beaulieu hits the goalpost. Literally five seconds after that, Gallagher hits iron. Habs puck luck has been atrocious. Their PDO is going to tumble after this one is done.

- One could easily argue the Habs almost certainly don't deserve their 5-0-1 record, because they've had exceptional goaltending and an unsustainable shooting percentage. Tonight, though, they deserve a much better fate. Hockey is like that. Impossible to figure out.

- Beaulieu might have had a little taste of the doghouse the past week, but tonight he's been pretty much spectacular. Therrien appears to have recognized that, and has him top pairing.

- Well, since the big guns can't seem to do the job, it's up to the 4th line. Fine grinding work by Mitchell to push the Islanders zone, working the puck on goal, and Danault picking up a juicy rebound to drill it home past a sprawling Greiss. Habs, mercifully, justifiably, take the lead. 

 Lousy, lousy shift by ... guess who, the Habs 4th line, and also Emelin, who was in a daze leaving his goaltender out to dry. Seidenberg with a one-timer through a screen to tie this game. Glaring mistakes, just a few here and  there, killing the Habs.

- Shaw, two breakaways in the 3rd, zero shots on goal. Yeah. Never use in the shootout. Ever.

- What a crazy 3rd period. Weber with an absolute howitzer from 45 feet that Greiss could only wave at. Annnnnnd the Habs take the lead again. 3 minutes left.

- Islanders haven't been able to muster much of an attack since the Weber goal, but now Gallagher takes a high stick penalty with 25 seconds left. Sooooo .... we're not quite there yet.

- Habs kill the clock, and pull out a win that they richly deserved. SA CD (5v5) for this one was 59.2%, the 2nd period one of the most one-sided frames you'll see in hockey. Habs powerplay converted their only chance to win the game, which will be a huge confidence boost to that unit. Meanwhile, Habs saw fine performances by Beaulieu, Byron and Weber, and Montoya was steady and sturdy when needed. Habs head home to face their eastern rivals, the Lightening, tomorrow night, looking to improve on what has been a very impressive start to their regular season.


The Montreal Canadiens are hitting the road to play the first of back-to-back games, starting tonight in Brooklyn, where they'll face the New York Islanders, and tomorrow back home, against the Tampa Bay Lightening.

Speaking of Brooklyn, the Barclays Center is the brand-spankin' new home for the Islanders, the greatest, most wonderful sporting arena in the history of sporting arenas. Check out those sight lines! Look at centre ice. How it glows! For whatever reason, some of the paying customers are complaining! Yeah, I don't get it either - you can see more than half the ice! That's like ... more than 50%! Yet still the locals moan, moan, moan. Joe Swicicki of Levittown complains "I didn't know it would be this bad. They need to do something about it". Yeah, yeah, we've heard it all before Joe. Why don't you do us all a favour and knock off an "ick" or two from your name? It's way too hard to type. Let's let "cdenigris" take the microphone. She'll set you straight. Cdenigris? Floor is yours:

I've been to arena's all over the country. I live on Long Island and used o drive to NJ for Nets games. I was looking forward to this place for the Nets but it is horrible. The Islanders are now moving there and it is even worse. Not only do I have to shell out 43 bucks for an off peak train for me and my fiance to get to the arena on the railroad but it is DARK, CRAMPED and downright unpleasant with the worst angles ever! Especially for Hockey, half of the arena is obstructed view. It hurts me cause she hates it so much she won't even go and this is where my teams play now. I am going to miss my 15 min drives to Nassau Coliseum where I could park my car. The good days are surely over in NY and I am inline for the move to NC between losing my team and the jobs here. The Prudential Center in NJ is much nicer and wider. Everyone moved out of Brooklyn in the 50's and honestly they should have stayed out unless they planned on bulldozing it and building some parking lots and nice modern facilities.
Okay, never mind. That one kind of meandered ... but wow. WHAT AN INGRATE. You people are awful. Let's let Barclays Centre CEO Brett Yormark set you proletariats straight:

Our seating capacity is over 15,700. Within that capacity there's a lot of great seats. Do we have some obstructed seats? Yes we do. Are fans aware of those obstructed seats before they purchase them? Yes they are. There's really nothing we're going to do from a capital improvement standpoint. You can watch the game on your mobile device. 


Oh yeah, Yormark has one other thing to say about actual playing conditions at this awesome new venue:
"We've brought on board an ice technician to really manage the ice. I think we're getting really good marks from the players."
Ahhh ... kay? Well ... just to be sure, let's ask the players. Hey, Cal Clutterbuck? How's the ice surface at your home rink?



So maybe they'll have ice tonight - or maybe not. Regardless, the Habs are going to rest Carey Price, which means it's Al Montoya!! BRING ME HIS HEAD.

Puck drops on ice - or maybe hardened grey surface concrete ... whatever, at 7:10 EST.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your tireless efforts in blogging these games! I look forward to these posts very much!


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