Saturday, 12 November 2016

Game 15: Wings vs. Habs


- So Desharnais actually draws in, with Brian Flynn the healthy scratch. He'll centre the 4th line with Carr and Mitchell.

- The Habs national anthems officially hurts my ears.

- Pretty fast start for the Habs, perhaps picking up where they left off against the Kings? One can hope.

- While the Habs defence struggles to feed the puck to their forwards, that issue doesn't apply to Carey Price, who's probably the team's best player at doing this. He initiates the play feeding the puck forward, creating an odd-man break for the Habs, and resulting scoring chance that's buried by Danault. Carey Price - is there anything he can't do?

- Danault scoring is only going to ratchet up the pressure on Desharnais to demonstrate he's lineup worthy.

- Kind of insane how the then offensively-starved 2014-15 Calgary Flames couldn't find one lousy spot in their lineup for Byron. Chose instead to just give him away for free. What a blunder.

- Hanley with a ground-shaking check that creates a turnover, Byron, who may very well be the fastest skater in all of the NHL, beats Howard on the resulting breakaway, and the Habs nab a stunning early 2-0 lead.

- While there are many issues this Habs team has to focus on (possession, shot allowance and zone starts), they've been remarkably good scoring at even strength so far this year - a stat that was frequently their Waterloo the past few years. Canadiens have 33 5v5 goals this year, 2nd best in the NHL (NY Rangers - 38).

- No excuse, no exclusion - even when Habs players do this. Shaw with a clear CFB on Abdelkader, sending him head first into the boards, which is the kind of play that's going to kill someone, someday. Shaw gets 2 minutes for boarding. In my mind, that should be 5 and a game.

- This is the junk the League must crack down on hard, and get rid of. Unacceptable:

- Habs big two man advantage here. Chance to drive a stake through the Wings heart.

- Took Habs 4 seconds, literally, for Montreal to convert. Weber a cannon, another man advantage goal, and it's 3-0.


- Even with man advantages excluded, still very one-sided 1st period in favour of the Habs, 62.1 CF, 70.6 Fenwick:

- Carey Price looks particularly wall-ish tonight. Wings will likely focus on trying to put in some greasy goals this period, before considering a revert to risky pinches in the 3rd.

- Really bad penalty by Joel Hanley, who surrenders the puck and then high sticks Nielsen drawing a 4 minute penalty. You can't make that kind of play as an NHL defensemen. Certainly not with someone like Greg Pateryn being a healthy scratch so that you can play.

- I will be shocked, shocked I tells ya,  if Greg Pateryn isn't playing tomorrow agains the Hawks.

- Habs revised 4th line with Desharnais at centre and Mitchell on his side has not worked out well tonight. The wing is not Mitchell's natural position, so he's struggled, while Desharnais is laying another egg, as per usual.

- Therrien clearly unhappy with 4th line tonight. It's only been given 1 shift in the 2nd period, just 6 shifts in total. Daniel Carr hasn't had a shift since midway in the 1st period, taken off the line for Gallagher. I guess Therrien is hoping Gallagher will spark something out of the underwhelming Desharnais/Mitchell duo.

- For the umpteenth time this season, Radulov does the hard work, gets the puck to the net, Byron finishes the play. Wings are appealing for goaltender interference - almost certainly won't work.

- Pretty desperate review by the Wings here, but 4-0 is pretty much game-set-match, so can't blame them for trying.

- 7 ridiculous minutes passed to make this decision, which is preposterous. The puck was lose by Howard's skate, Bryon merely poked the puck in.

- Goal disallowed, stating Bryon pushed Howard's pad, causing the puck to dribble in. I don't understand the call since the puck wasn't covered, but whatever. That's the NHL for you. With the goal not counting, Wings elect to keep Jimmy Howard in net, after initially pulling him.

- Max Pacioretty has obviously tried to be more defensively responsible this season, but it's come at a price - lack of scoring. He's still, more or less, doing the right things, being in the right places, but puck isn't coming to him, and he's not finishing his opportunities.

- Radulov and Galchenuyuk are fast becoming inseparable. Another strong shift for that duo, with Radulov doing the usual hard-nosed work, and Galchenyuk strong carrying the puck. They could end up scoring a ton this season, as long as Therrien keeps them together.

- Ericsson with a Joel Hanley-like clumsy high sticking penalty, and Habs almost immediately score with the man advantage, which is suddenly hot. Galchenuyuk one timer hits Shaw's skate, and it's 4-0.

- Without Jimmy Howard this season, Wings might already be thinking about blowing things up. Can't fathom this Detroit team qualifying for the post season, which would break their playoff qualifying streak at 27 years.

- It's a route here, Danault tips in a nice pass/effort by Pacioretty, Wings defence extremely soft, and it's 5-0.

- Wings 4th liners trying to sucker Habs into fights, because they've got little else to play for. Habs would be wise just to skate away and save their energy for a much better Hawks team tomorrow night.

- Another strong period for the Habs, whose powerplay is suddenly hot, and an insurmountable scoreboard lead. Therrien pretty much benched the 4th line since midway in the 1st period, may give them a few shifts in the 3rd, because there's no point exhausting your top 3 lines with a 5 goal lead, and another game in less than 24 hours.


- Habs dominating through 40 minutes, 65.6% CF (SA 5v5), 76.9% Fenwick:

- It's nice to have a 5-0 lead:

- Canadiens doing their best to slow the game to a crawl - will make for a pretty boring final 20 minutes. Both teams more or less going through the motions.

- Jimmy Howard, who was pulled to start the 3rd period, saw his League-best SC% drop from .961 to .943. Ouch. Carey Price, at the moment, owns the League's best.

- I guess Therrien is outright pissed at Desharnais and, apparently also Mitchell? Barely played in the 2nd period, they've each received 1 shift in the 3rd, 8 minutes gone. Daniel Carr, who's also seen limited time, played with Plekanec and Gallagher, which is likely a sign the coach isn't happy with what he's seen from Andrighetto. Lots of unhappiness behind the bench for a team up 5 goals.

- Carey Price is playing at a level the sport of hockey has likely never seen, and may never see again.

- Max Pacioretty ... doing what he's supposed to do. Coming close. The goals will arrive - it's inevitable.

- Habs PK improving? Still think they're a little too loosey-goosey with the passing lanes, Weber does a nice job guarding the crease, and of course Price is his own human wall, but still there's room for improvement.

- Desharnais with a rare shift, and probably sensing his time is fast running out, plays an aggressive forecheck, making things happen. Too little, too late, though?

- Atrocious shift by Desharnais line late in the 3rd, nearly costing Carey Price his shutout.

- Another impressive win for the Habs, as they set a team record for home wins to start the season (10-0-0). Danault looked excellent again as he settles into the centre position, Radulov another strong outing as per usual, and Carey Price was doing the same old. Habs pretty strong in their own zone, which was a nice little boost to help Price get the shutout. The big questions heading into tomorrow night's game - will Desharnais get another chance? (likely not). What about Andrighetto? And Carr? Therrien not happy with what those three did tonight, so there could be a few more lineup changes before everything settles.


Alright, let's get the lineups out first, because there's some important stuff to note:

First, Detroit:

- Larkin/Zetterberg/Nyguist
- Sheahan/Helm/Abdelkader

- Tatar/Nielsen/Mantha
- Bertuzzi/Glendening/Ott


Jimmy Howard

Key here for the Wings are the returns of Anthony Mantha to Detroit's red line in place of the recently injured Andreas Athanasiou. Meanwhile, over in Habsland it's all systems the same:

- Byron/Galchenyuk/Radulov
- Andrighetto/Plekanec/Gallagher
- Pacioretty/Danault/Shaw
- Carr/Mitchell/Flynn


Carey Price

Once more David Desharnais and Greg Pateryn are healthy scratches - which is kind of difficult to argue against given that the Habs are coming off what was likely their best game of the season to date, where they controlled a pretty good L.A. Kings team to a relatively straightforward 4-1 victory.

Meanwhile the Wings enter tonight's game riding a two game winning streak, largely due to some very impressive backstopping by Jimmy Howard (2-0-0 .950). If he's spot on again tonight, it could make for a pretty interesting battle between himself and Carey Price, thereby leaving few margins for error.

Both teams have played very well at even strength this season, the Habs 2nd in the League with 31 goals 5v5, while Detroit are ranked 7th with 29. We're highlighting 5v5 prowess because both teams bring what could only be described as mediocre powerplays - it's very likely speciality teams will not weigh heavily into the outcome.

Another area of comparable weakness for each team are shots allowed - Habs are ranked 28th in the NHL, while Detroit is ranked dead loss. These are two teams that don't have an issue with leaning on their goaltending as a means towards victory.

Habs are aiming for their greatest home record start in franchise history. If they win tonight, they'll improve to 10-0-0.

Puck drops at 7:10 EST.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome, even anonymously. All I ask is that you behave, and in support of good taste, avoid the use of course language, or express opinions that are just plain silly (racist, sexist, etc.)