Monday, 21 November 2016

Game 20: Sens vs. Habs



- Well, we see Max Pacioretty now playing with Plekanec and Gallagher. At least he isn't having to deal with David Desharnais.

- Both teams appear to have their legs - both are working off some decent rest, so while goals might not come fast and furious, this might actually be an entertaining game.

- Byron streaks in alone off a nifty 4-on-4 passing play. Senators other weak spot is beyond the Karlsson pairing, there's not a lot there defensively. 

- Man, Habs should just try and aim for being one short, send Byron out there, and rack up some Grade-A scoring chances.

- Is there a whinier team in the NHL than the Ottawa Senators? It's been this way with them for years. Must be part of their culture.

- Joel Hanley, I'm assuming is a nice guy, but he just can't cut NHL speed. Habs need to just move on - there are other options - Redmond, Barbario, Pateryn. 

- Early returns on this Plekanec line are not promising. At some point, Therrien, if he's trying to spark some scoring from Pacioetty, is going to need to pair him next to Galchenyuk.

- Speaking of, and on the other side of the coin, the Galchenyuk line is flying tonight, so far responsibly for pretty much all of the Habs high danger scoring chances.

- Yeah, the Sens are not a very good team shooting the puck, if this first period is any indicator. They're doing "okay" generating shot attempts, but far too many are missing the mark. 

- Brendan Gallagher hits the crossbar. An the eternal struggle to find a goal, any sort of goal, from any direction, in any way, continues.

- Poorly played period of hockey, offensively both teams did a pretty poor job passing, defensively, lots of blown assignments and poor positional play generating far too many breaks (which weren't converted). Galchenyuk line was strong, Plekaenc line was not. Sens' Pageau line had its moments, but like Gallagher, they're struggling to finish plays. Also of interest, the Phaneuf/Ceci pairing was pretty much abysmal - if the Habs bench is paying attention, they'll match Galchanyuk against them each and every opportunity that's presented.


- Habs and Sens after 20 minutes, Habs Corsi almost 70%, which is as good a sign as any why this Senators team is kind of terrible at scoring goals:

- Joel Hanley got 2 shifts, grand total of 2:05 playing time in the 1st period. Why bother putting your 6th defenseman in the lineup if you're essentially not even going to play him? Search me. But the Habs, whatever their rationale, are racking up unnecessary ice times on their blue line, specifically the wildly overplayed Markov, who's having a great season so far, but at 25+ minutes a game, it's going to take a toll as the season progresses.

- Another powerplay goal for Weber, his 7th of the season on the man advantage. Just to rub it in a little, the Sens have 5. As a team. Ouch.

- Ottawa just can't deal with Montreal puck possession, getting nailed for hooks and trips, giving Habs powerplay opportunities left and right.

- Weber scores on the powerplay, makes terrible giveaways on the powerplay. Sometimes you just gotta take the bad with the good. 

- Hoffman for the Sens on the powerplay, after Emelin makes a pretty lacklustre puck clearing attempt under zero pressure. Tie game.

- Still think Emelin is a terrible option on the PK - out there because he "hits", which is not what you want anybody to be doing killing a penalty 

- Incredible effort and goal by Radulov, basically handling the puck past all 5 Sens players, driving the net, and scoring off his own rebound. He's (in my mind at least) the Habs best player this season not named Carey Price:

- Pretty dreadful night for the Desharnais line - down a ton in possession, all while the rest of the Habs lineup are dominating. You're telling me having DD play is a better option than someone like Charles Hudon, I'm going to beg to differ.

- Weird goal for Sens Derick Brassard, tucking in a puck that's revealed to be a goal only after it's caught by NHL control in Toronto. Tie game again.

- Habs might be getting another PDO comeuppance tonight - pretty much dominating either end of the sheet, but no ahead on the scoreboard. 

- Chris Neil. Idiot extraordinaire. 

- Nathan Beaulieu took a pretty hard wrist shot to the face earlier in the period, and is now done for the night. With Hanley essentially not being played, Habs now down to four defense. 

- Habs getting Habbed again tonight, dominating the game, but even on the scoreboard. With Beaulieu out and Hanley not being played at all, it sets up a difficult 3rd period for the Habs, who ought be winning this game handily, but because of some questionable lineup and deployment decisions, are facing an uphill battle in the 3rd period.


- Habs winning the game as far as fancy stats are concerned. But those don't always equal 2 points in the standings:

- And this is noteworthy, we've been on about it all night long:

Markov (22:28)
Weber (18:47)
Petry (17:15)
Emelin (10:39)
Beaulieu (8:00)
Hanley (3:03)

Reminder, Beaulieu is out for the game, so unless the Habs are willing to start giving Hanley shifts, keeping in mind they scratched other players in order for him to play, then the Habs are going to try to go through the rest of this game with just 4 defensemen. 

- Holy crap, Habs just had a powerplay to end all powerplays. Radulov and Weber brilliant with the puck, and on his 3rd one-time try, Galchenyuk finally strikes. Absolutely brilliant man advantage right there.

- Sens flip puck in, Emelin does horrible job retrieving, puck is centred, Stone slams it home, and the Habs again cough up the lead. Also totally MIA on the play, Tomas Plekanec, who missed his mark. 

- Beaulieu was apparently rushed to the hospital. That's pretty horrible news. Hope everything is okay.

- Habs again do sloppy job clearing the puck from their zone, Hanley far out of position at the blue line, and Karklsson with a softie shot that Price somehow fails to pick up, and suddenly the Sens take the lead. The Habs PDO correction continues unabated. 

- Hanley gets a shift half way through the period, but really, the damage has already been done with ice allocations. Sens 4th goal could very much be attributed to a Habs defense that was bagged, because Therrien has been double shifting some of his players. 

- Habs really pushing the puck hard into the Ottawa zone, but aren't generating very many high quality scoring chances, at least not yet.

- Byron has had a pretty strong game, with at least three glorious scoring chances. Anderson just a little bit better.

- Plekanec line really good strong shift, he and Gallagher really pushing the crease looking for the loose puck, which Anderson, who's been really strong this period, barely manages to cover before it's fired in. So close.

- Pacioretty sprung loose for a break, Anderson makes the save (I'm sure much to Pacioretty's unbelievable drought frustration), and then takes a suspect goaltending interference penalty. Hard to tell for certain, but sure looked like he was (at least partly) tied up on the back check by Methot. Tough call.

- Nifty save by Anderson on Radulov backhander to keep the Sens ahead. Anderson the difference maker in this period, and really for that matter, the big reason why Ottawa is likely to win this game. 

- Montreal more or less peters out at the end, losing with much more of a whimper than a bang. Tough loss for the Habs, who outplayed the Sens, a team that for whatever reason, seems to have Montreal's number of late. Carey Price was good, but not great - which is kind of what we've come to know this Habs team to be - when Carey isn't great, the Habs are more likely to lose than win, which means that the team is likely fundamentally flawed. The scoring slumps for both Gallagher and Pacioretty continue, which is also concerning, because when they're not producing, it makes winning even more challenging. Habs big home stand is winding up before they hit the road for a huge, extended trip, where the losses might really start piling up, if some of these troubling issues aren't resolved, and quickly.


We have little bits and sorts of news and facts and stats and whatever else required to prep for tonight's game. Attention class, they are as follows:

- Charles Hudon. SCRATCHED. Sigh. Daniel Carr will get a start tonight. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted.

- Bobby Ryan. SCRATCHED (A kind reader has pointed out to me that Ryan is injured - so never mind HIS lack of scoring. The same criticism of the Sens, however, still applies). Woah, what's happened with Ryan? It was just a few years ago that Ryan was a premier goal scorer in the NHL, and now he's being removed from the lineup? I suppose this is a bottom-line issue, since Ryan has only scored 3 times in 17 games for the Senators, which brings us to the next important point:

- Here are the November results for Ottawa, which this month, have posted an "ok" 5-4-1 record:

Ottawa 2, Carolina 1 (OT)
Ottawa 1, Vancouver 0
Ottawa 1, Buffalo 2
Ottawa 1, Minnesota 2 (OT)
Ottawa 3, Philadelphia 2 (SO)
Ottawa 1, Nashville 5
Ottawa 1, Florida 4

Spot the trend? In case you hadn't, I'll spell it out that you're not going to win very many games when you're averaging 1.1 GP60. So while head coach Guy Boucher might feel inclined to send messaged to Ryan that he expects better production, Ryan is not the problem in Ottawa. Their problem is systematic:

- CF (5v5): 48.7% (22nd)
- GF60: 1.65 (28th)
- SF60: 31.2 (4th)

WHOOP. Hold on there. 4th overall in shots taken, and 28th overall in goal production? I think we've found our problem.

SH%: 5.31 (29th).

Against a Carey Price, this lack of deliverance will not favour the Sens tonight.

- Senators lineup tonight:




Craig Anderson

- Here's a cool stat to wrap your mind around about how badly the Senators are struggling in the goal-scoring department - Shea Weber has scored 6 goals this season for the Canadiens. The Ottawa Senators, as a team, have scored 5.

Speaking of defence, Joel Hanley will play 6th D tonight, in place of the scratched Greg Pateryn.

Puck drops at 6:40, EST.


Hey, the Senators are in town! Relive their glorious Stanley Cup history - because they were winning a bunch of those back before the Titanic was being built (actually true). If you want to be all nit-picky and technical about it, the Senators, when they were a completely different franchise, last won the "championship of the world" way back in nineteen ought twenty and seven. The good ol' days!

Anyway, we have some Monday stuff for you, so get ready.

- Habs practice lines this morning - and just to let you know totally in advance, these were the actual lines:


Lolz. Torrey Mitchell is centring one of the fastest, most productive scoring wingers the Habs have owned in a generation. Lolz.

Oh, but there's more. Oh yes my pretties, there is more:

Ah, pass-the-buck Therrien is back to his good'ol'ways again today. GEE COACH, THAT'S SUCH A PENETRATING OBSERVATION.  Your star winger isn't scoring. WHY DON'T YOU TRY GIVING HIM A CENTER WHO CAN SKATE MORE THAN 5 MPH, AND, YA' KNOW, STICK WITH IT?

So far this still short season, Pacioretty has been centred by Alex Galchenyuk, Tomas Plekanec, David Desharnais, Phillip Danault and now, Torrey-0.24-PP60-0.012-GP60-Mitchell.

Yeah, that'll get your problem solved. For sure.

Has Kirk Muller finished his french lessons yet?

More, later.

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