Friday, 16 December 2016

Game 30: Sharks vs. Habs:

San Jose 4, Montreal 2:


- McCarron in!! Like we had any doubts ...

- Big key to the game will be staying out of the penalty bo ... annnnnd Mitchell gets called for interference. Nice!

- Byron to the box now. Habs playing an unintelligent game. They know Tim Peel is not a Canadiens-friendly official, never has been, never will be. So throwing caution to the wind, assuming borderline plays won't get called is dumb, dumb, dumb.

- And the Sharks strike off the powerplay. San Jose able to stack traffic in front of Price with little effort, and Schlemko scores his first of the season to make it 1-0. 

- And Mitchell just does it again, walks Thornton off the face-off circle with a high stick, and right back to the powerplay go the Sharks.

- Marleau from Thornton, Habs PK coverage around Price simply atrocious. 2-0. Just so many poor plays and decisions being made by this team, which is already in a pretty deep hole.

- Speaking of the PK, it's been at best, inconsistent, at worst, downright incompetent and disorganized for the Habs this season. It's also J.J. Daigneault's portfolio this year - wherein last year he was responsible for the Habs powerplay, which had one of its worst ever seasons. Are we detecting a pattern here?

- Meier makes it 3-0, his first NHL goal with his first NHL shot in his first NHL period. Not too shabby. The Habs defence simply atrocious. Price totally hung up to dry, Therrien might as well toss Montoya in there, and give Price the start tomorrow night. This game is already pretty much a write-off.

- LOL. Weber to the box. The stupidity this period is amazing. 

- Absolutely awful awful awful terrible not good very very bad period for the Habs. Completely unacceptable considering this team had four days of rest leading up to the game. Sharks basically passing and shooting at will, virtually no defence in and around the Habs slot and crease area, the Sharks are probably pinching themselves how easy that period was for them. If this is the current status of the Montreal Canadiens as a functional hockey team, they're going to face a week of hockey hell that started tonight. 


- Behold!!!! BAD Habs hockey in all its glory in chart form!!

- With a loss tonight, which at this point is almost certain, Habs record for Friday night games this season will drop to 0-5. So far they've been outscored Friday nights 18-3, and we're not even close to being done this game.

- Joe Thronton is the best. THE BEST.

- Habs announce Andrighetto out for the night, UBI. ADD IT TO THE LIST. Christ.

- McCarran almost scores while on the powerplay, hey, there's a novelty. Jones forced to make a difficult save, something he might have figured he wouldn't have to do.

- With bodies falling every conceivable direction, big opportunity for the Habs to take a look at the kids from Newfoundland. Problem is, some of the leading lights there are hurt too. Oy.

- Make it four to nothing. Price mercifully yanked, which means it's not out of the question he starts tomorrow night in Washington. Anyway, more squishy soft Habs defence, Haley scores his 3rd of the season.  

- Wow, Price is pissed, pissed. pissed coming off the ice. Almost appears as though he was staring down Michel Therrien? It sure looked like he was shooting his glance in Therrien's direction.

- Price's stare down. He's definitely looking at someone behind the players on the bench. Therrien? Muller???
- Hockey game is not even a factor at this point, twitterverse is currently going nuts over the Price skate off and stare down. Sure looks like it's Therrien he was glaring at. Likely, he was peeved about getting yanked, which is something that hasn't happened to him in three years. So he's likely hurt, upset, almost certainly mad, and the coach is going to take the brunt since Therrien makes the call. Whether or not this just ends after a few minutes of contemplation, or continues past tonight, we'll have to wait and see.

- For what it's worth, Pacioretty left the bench shortly after the goaltending switch, and the first thought was "oh great, another injury." Now I'm wondering if he left to talk things over with Carey, just to settle things down. It's possible because Pacioretty is back on the bench, he looks fine.

- Habs not completely humiliated in the 2nd period like they were in the 1st, but plenty of drama involving their franchise player. The media are going to have plenty to write about after the dust settles from this game. Stay tuned.


- Habs with a decent 2nd period, at least in comparison to the 1st, although a good chunk of their shots and attempts was garbage time, after the Sharks took a 4-0 lead:

- Little point in analyzing the 3rd period - the Habs were roundly routed tonight, the game pretty must lost within 25 minutes. Great performance by Joe Thornton tonight, he's hardly looking his age the way he's playing right now. Horrible performance by the Habs, in particular the defence. And Carey Price with the stare down of Michel Therrien after he was pulled creating drama that's part and parcel of following this hockey team. We'll see where everything settles tonight and tomorrow. I'm pretty sure Price was mad at his coach, has thought about it, calmed down, and has moved on. I'll be very surprised if he doesn't get the start tomorrow night in Washington.



**UPDATE** No Andrew Shaw tonight, a consequence of the head shot he took Monday night. Add another to the wounded list.

Shaw's scratch begs the question, what happens to the first line powerplay, and how much will it now improve now that Shaw's off it??


Hey, the Habs are playing. Not kidding! It's been awhile, hasn't it? A nice four day siesta to help a battered and bruised team gear up for a pretty challenging few days of hockey. The tough road starts tonight at home, as the Canadiens take on Star Wars cast member and this season's Norris trophy winner Brent Burns, and the Pacific Division leading San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks are but one component of pretty heady week for Montreal, who will get on a plane after tonight's game and head to Washington to face the Caps tomorrow night. After that, the Canadiens will face some of the best playing teams in the NHL, including games against the Ducks, Wild and Blue Jackets over the next week. Yikes.

Meanwhile, the Sharks, winners of three straight entering tonight's game, not only share the distinction of holding the top spot in their Division, but also share some strikingly similar stat lines as the Habs:

CF % (5v5)
Sharks: 52.0%
Habs: 52.0%

Sharks: 2.00
Habs: 2.74

Sharks: 1.83
Habs: 1.74

Sharks 16.7
Habs: 20.4

Sharks: 81.0
Habs: 81.9

The line, as you can see, is pretty close - and if you factor in that the Sharks play in a much stronger Division than the Habs, especially for defence, the slight offensive deficiency the Sharks have in goal scoring is arguably dead-on even.

If there is one significant discrepancy between the two, it's in even strength performance - the Habs have tallied 63 goals this year while playing 5v5, while San Jose has scored 48 at even strength. That's something to consider heading into tonight's game - can the Habs, who currently have a struggling powerplay, produce offence at even terms? It might be their best hope in squeezing out two points.

Not final word on what the Habs lineup will be tonight - there's lots of speculation that Mike McCarron will get his first start of the season - although as of posting this afternoon, there's been coy responses so far from both Michel Therrien and McCarron himself.

Meanwhile, the Sharks have made a couple of adjustments for tonight's game, with the struggling Joel Ward being a healthy scratch tonight, making room for prospect Timo Meier, in what will be his first NHL game. Look for Meier to play along side Christ Tierney and Joonas Donskoi on the Sharks 3rd line.

Martin Jones will be in the net for San Jose, Carey Price starts for the Habs.

Puck drops tonight at 7:40 EST.

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