Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Habs host cakemakers

Better call Saul! I think that someone should be lawyerin'-up

If I were the folks at Vachon, I'd be checking to see if any of my ex-graphic artists had been hired by the Canucks.

I know that there a lot of coincidences in this world, such as two people looking alike even though they're not related, but the Canuck's "Johnny Canuck" secondary logo bares an uncanny, almost spooky resemblance to Vachon's chef logo. Not that it's entirely surprising; the 'Nucks have a history of "borrowing" a good similarity. Heck, they even have two guys named Sedin on their team. Yeah, I know that they're twins, but Johnny Canuck and Mr. Vachon look like their from the same gene pool, too. And Vachon and Vancouver both start with the letter 'V'. There's definitely something fishy goin' on here. We'll get the crack Centre Hice research team to do some digging.

And yes, Centre Hice is well aware of the irony of ragging on some corporate hack graphic designer for pilfering a logo, while at the same time using someone else's kindergarten photoshop talents to illustrate our point. Hey, at least we're honest about it. 

The Canucks come into tonight's game riding a six-game winning streak, though six of their eight wins come on home ice. Vancouver hold the edge in both goals scored (40 vs. 34) and goals against (32 vs. 33), but the biggest difference is undoubtedly the powerplay, where the Habs sit dead last in the league at a minuscule 6.4% of crappiness, while Vancouver is humming along at 29.4%, good for first in the entire league. If I'm coach Jacques Martin, my pre-game comments include a stern warning about staying out of the penalty box. Interestingly, the Canucks are 4-0-1 when getting outshot.

2010-2011 Regular Seaon, Game 15: Vancouver at Montreal

  • I'm not sure what to think of Price's Movember catepillar moustache. But he's the Molson Cup winner for October (presented before the game) so who am I to argue?
  • Gomez: no points in the last 7, and Cammalleri none in his last 6. Yikes! Secondary scoring is nice, but Vancouver is a Cup threat. The big guys need to play a big game against a big team
  • Subban with a nice hit along the boards to start. I want to see more the the physical part of his game
  • I'd be surprised if Price doesn't see 40 shots tonight
  • Luongo: ugliest mask in the league? 
  • How did that go in? Markov with his 1st of the season, a rebound from a foot out shoveled past Luongo. Stinky, but I'll take it. 1-o Habs!
  • What's this? Another ineffective Hab powerplay? 
  • Even in a great shooting position, Gomez will still pass to a man who's covered.
  • I've never seen a puck-over-the glass penalty for the puck going out of play at the far end of the rink.

Not a bad period be the Habs against a team that figures to play a prominent role in the Western Conference playoff race, holding an 11-8 advantage in faceoffs and a 10-6 lead in shots. Hal Gill lead the team with 7:33 of ice time.

  • Aaaand... the kill off the holdover penalty from the first period
  • Ouch! Darche takes a blatant cross-check to the face. Check the ice for teeth! Four-minute powerplay coming up which means that the Habs will get to not score twice
  • Price has to stone a short-handed 3-on-1. You'd think that with all of this powerplay practice that they'd actually get good at it
  • No goal on the 4-minute powerplay, and dominated right after in their own end.
  • Shots halfway through the game: 14-12 for the Habs
  • Crummy passing from both sides. It's like watching the Timbits scrum during intermission.
  • Price has had to come up big a number of times
  • They've kept the #1 powerplay off the board... so far

No goals in the second period, with shots split at 9 apiece. Still, the Canucks have started to take the bulk of the action into Hab territory, helped by a couple of borderline penalty calls. Josh Gorges leads the way with 3 shots on goal for the Habs. Did Lars Eller get more than a shift that period? He's only played 3:44.

  • Just like the second, Habs will start the third period killing a penalty
  • Why is the tint on RDS always so far off? I have to adjust my TV every time I watch a game
  • Great! Killed it off, and the Canucks take a delay of game penalty. Can the Habs refuse it?
  • A Cammalleri shot goes wide, But Hamrlik is there to slam it home as it comes out from behind the other side of the net... and a powerplay goal to boot! 2-0 Habs!
  • Leafs losing 4-0 to Tampa Bay. Shame, that.
  • Price has had to bail out his defense more than a few times tonight
  • Getting pressure in the Vancouver zone would be a sound defensive strategy for the rest of the game
  • Gio and Cammy are getting some chances, but 45-footers unscreened aren't high-percentage plays
  • 'Nucks pull their goalie with 2:15 left
  • Price snuffs 'em out with a couple of huge stops at the end, then loads up for a shot on the Vancouver goal. I'll bet my house that he scores at least one during his career

Markov's game-winning goal gets ready to cross the goal line. Photo courtesy Habs Inside/Out

Montreal was outshot 20-10 in the 3rd period, but Carey Price was the main story as he shut the door against a pressing Vancouver offence to earned his second shutout of the season while stopping Vancouver's winning streak at six games. Jaroslav Spacek also played a solid game. Gionta and Plekanec each accounted for 4 shots and an assist, and Andrei Markov, with his first goal of the season (and game winner) led the Hab skaters with 24:53 of ice time. Lars Eller was only on for 4:24, but his 2 shots we still more than the 0 of Kostitsyn and Pouliot, though AK46 generated a couple of decent scoring chances for himself. Hal Gill was the only other Hab not to register a shot on goal.

The biggest story of the night was the Montreal penalty kill, which held Vancouver's top-rated powerplay (35% on the road coming into the game) off of the scoresheet, going 0-for-4. What's odd for the Canucks is that even with such a smoking road powerplay, their record away from home has only been worth two wins.

Overall, a much better effort by the Habs tonight. Let's see if the same sort of effort makes an appearance Thursday night against Tim Thomas and the Bruins' stifling defense. In his career versus Boston, Price is 9-2-2 with a GAA of 2.39 and a SV% of 9.23. His corresponding road numbers this year: 4-2-0, 1.84 and .931. 

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