Saturday, 8 April 2017

Game 82: Habs vs. Wings

Montreal 3, Detroit 2 (OT):


- Well this is really baffling. With literally half the regular lineup not playing tonight, you'd have figured Galchenyuk would be a cinch to be playing up the middle tonight. But, nope:



- Hockey is going to be dreadful in this game tonight. I should get hazard pay for watching this.

- Mrazek robs Galchenyuk, who crashes the Wings netminder hard. Early on, Galchenyuk playing with a little meanness. Wonder what might be inspiring that ...

- Not sure how it's even possible, but Habs have been more dangerous tonight than at any point last night against Tampa. Maybe the Habs issues Friday were too many players going through the motions. Doesn't appear to be the case early on.

- Oof shift by Ott and Martinsen, the Wings storm the Habs zone, and after incompetent puck movement, finally Nielsen tucks the puck past Lindgren. 1-0. We're just getting started.

- Just have to keep reminding myself, this is just one of those stupid games we have to muddle our way through watching, and that Ott and Martinsen and Flynn aren't going to be playing next week. At least, they better not be playing (or we're hooped).

- This is horrible hockey. Not even AHL-level quality. Not even midland AHL level quality. To Detroit's credit, they're playing a lot of their kids tonight, but the net result is a game with little flow or intensity.

- The game is beyond any sort of criticism or analysis. It's mainly consisting of broken plays, bad passes, players falling, pucks dumped - it's a B-level beer league scrimmage.

- 20 minutes in the books. I guess the Habs aren't going to lose 12-0 tonight? With a lineup consisting of too many mediocre or bad hockey players, we're getting exactly what we expected. Wings only slightly less bad than the Canadiens. No way else to describe it.


- Habs first period CF just over 42% (as anticipated, bad). Galchenyuk/Ott/Martinsen line a putrid 16% combined. Heat map stuff, scoring chances were 11-4 Detroit (again, bad):

- Habs powerplay finds the back of the net, and it's Nathan Beaulieu, which is nice to see. There are a handful of players on this Canadiens roster who will need to elevate their game for the playoffs, and Beaulieu might be at the very top of the list - at least, if Montreal wants to go very far in the post-season.

- Lernout a little more self-contained tonight - maybe he's playing with less nervousness. Mistakes have been notably reduced.

- Mike McCarron needs to score one tonight - at least for the family in the stands. He's put up with a lot being shuffled in and out of the lineup to make way for nobodies like Martinsen, Ott and King. I the hockey gods be watching, let this happen.

- Habs send out fresh 4th line, who promptly get caught badly up-ice, Larkin a one timer that eats Lindgren up 5 hole to make it 2-1.

- Lehkonen ties it up off a Nesterov shot. That's his 18th goal of the season, which is extremely impressive for a rookie winger who's been shuffled around the Habs lineup most of the season.

- Better second period for the Habs than the first, which is to say the Wings are pretty awful. Gonna be long 3-4 years ahead for Detroit hockey fans. For the Habs, it's one more period to endure.


- Habs bounce back 2nd period, CF at even strength was 63%, high danger scoring chances 5-0 for the Canadiens:

- Lehkonen putting up some excellent possession stats tonight, and this is with two line mates he's had very little time playing with this season. I'm not sure if Habs fans, generally speaking, have grasped just how good he's been this rookie season.

- Lindgren doing lots of flopping, Beaulieu swoops in to sweep the puck away as it's entering the net. An exciting play! That just happened!!

- I mean, good grief, why even give him the start instead of a night off? This is ... abysmal:

- Charlie Lindgren still has lots to learn about playing in the NHL - which includes it's generally a bad idea to come out 20 feet to stop a shot attempt from the point:

- Last 2 minutes were actually enjoyable. Good end to end action. The rest of the game? Thank god it's over.


- Gonna be interesting, I suppose - with the Habs barely any capable forwards playing tonight. 

- Let's just let the Wings win this, for the fans. 

- Brutal give away by Green to Nesterov, who feeds Galchenyuk for the game winner. How ironic. Habs win the final game of the season, and Charlie Lindgren has never lost a game in the NHL.


Yay. Game 82. No more regular season pregames to write. No more game blogging. Just syrupy anticipation for the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

That is, unless, you're a Detroit Red Wings fan. Your season, in fact, your arena, has just two games left in an otherwise miserable year.

For whatever reason, the NHL saw fit to have the Wings play their final game at Joe Lewis Arena against the New Jersey Devils, the League's most boring team, instead of a rival or original six team. Seems almost a crime they're going to shutter the doors after playing Jersey. What about Toronto? I mean, com'on NHL. Think about it.

Anyway, the Habs, after rolling out the red carpet last night for the Tampa Bay Lightening behind a Canadiens defence that bore a distinct resemblance to anorexia nervosa, will put forward an even more pathetic lineup tonight against Detroit. This means, no Shea Weber, Jordie Benn, Alexei Emelin, Carey Price, Tomas Plekanec, Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov AND Alex Radulov.

That hardly any regulars will be playing tonight also means opportunity for others to get some NHL game time. This includes Charlie Lindgren, who'll get his second start of the season with Al (Tony) Montoya as backup. It also means one more game experience for blue chip prospect Mikhail Sergachev, who'll play his first game since October 20th of last year.

So with all of these players out of the lineup ... I'm guessing Alex Galchenyuk will get to play centre again, and ... really, it's anyone's guess at this point how Claude Julien will craft a lineup out of whatever's left over.

The only thing we can say with great confidence is that Lindgren will see plenty of puck tonight. Let's hope the final score isn't too much of a humiliation.

Puck drops at 7:10 EST.

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