Monday, November 22, 2010

Puttin' on the foil

The Hab's 3rd line call-ups for tonight's game

It's time to do some disrespectin'.

Tonight's game in Philadelphia against the Flyers promises to be an interesting one. Already there are a number of sub-plots and questions to keep an eye on:
  1. Will the Flyers still be upset that in their last meeting the Habs broke their 10-game points streak?
  2. Will Philly Captain Mike Richards feel as though Hab rookie P.K. Subban is still disrespecting the veterans on his team?
  3. If the answer to number 2 is 'yes', will the Philly goons try to do something about it?
  4. Will Darroll Powe continue to recklessly thow his weight around?
  5. If the answer to number 4 is 'yes', who will be his victim?
  6. If the answer to number 5 is 'a Montreal Canadien', how will the Habs respond?
  7. Did a member of the Canadiens' training staff go to the hardware store this afternoon to stock up on metallic hand-wrap?
  8. Will the Philly fans continue to be boorish douchebags? (actually, we already know the question for that one)
Answers to these questions, and more, to be answered shortly after the 7:05 puck drop. 

2010-2011 Regular Season, Game 20: Montreal at Philadelphia

  • Well that didn't take long. Pronger off for a cross check in the first 30 seconds.
  • Habs have started out looking as though they could use some passing lessons
  • We need two guys to go in on the forecheck
  • Ok, starting to get a little chippy now. Briere spears Eller before the faceoff, no call. Where's Knuckles Nilan when you need him?
  • There's the Flyer goaltending that we know and love! Lapierre, a light low wrist shot as he comes across blue line fools Boucher. 1-0 Habs!
  • First Philly sustained pressure (1+ minutes on Habs zone) happens because the Habs are light in their attempts on clearing the puck, looking for the prefect breakout instead of simply clearing the puck and releiving the pressure
  • To this point, the Habs' speed has created 3 odd-man rushes against Philly
  • How about Max! His second of the game; Pouliot digs the puck out of the corner, and a shot from the slot is deflected by a Flyer right between Boucher's pads. 2-0 Habs!

A well-played road period--with some suspect Philly goaltending--gives the Habs the 2-0 lead after the first period. The game was almost seven minutes old before the Flyers mustered their first shot on goal, and only controlled the play in the Canadien's zone for one stretch of about a minute. The Habs have the edge in faceoffs (12 to 7) and shots on goal (15-9)... Max Lapierre has 5 of them.

  • Flyer powerplay to start the period, and ouch... Price stops the puck just under his mask but has the presence to cover up the loose puck for the stoppage
  • Flyers starting to assert themselves in the Habs' zone again. Smart, quick clears are what's needed.
  • Lapierre almost had the hatty as he rings one off the post... and another Flyer powerplay
  • Flyers are definitely carring the play to this point in the period, and have a 16-2 shot advantage to prove it
  • How to make Brian Boucher a good goalie: 3 shot in 14 minutes, though he almost flubbed the third one
  • Dang. Ville Leino converts a nice pass into the slot, going against the grain high in Price. 2-1 Habs.
  • Hal Gill's Mo-vember 'stache looks like vintage Larry Robinson

The Habs may have played a great road period in the 1st, but the followed it up with a horrible one in the 2nd. Outplayed for long stretches, the can thank Price for the 2-1 lead going into the locker room. Shots that period: Montreal 5 (20) and Philly 21 (30). Part of the problem is that Montreal only won 4 faceoffs that period; the Flyers now lead in that department 25-16.

  • I expect the Flyers to come out charging this period. Maybe it'll cost them a penalty or two
  • Habs start the period like they ended the 2nd: a lot of puck chasing, and it cost them. Gill misses his check, and Giroux pounces on a rebound to tie the game at 2.
  • Every powerplay the Flyers immediately send two guys to the front of the net. Habs, take note
  • 4-on-4, and the Habs again miss a check in the slot leaving a shooter alone in the slot. 3-2 Flyers
  • Price spectacular on a 2-on-1. Good thing he decided to stick around after the 1st period
  • Habs have a little over 4 minutes to find their first period form
  • Lose another faceoff, and they can't get Price out for the extra attacker

The Habs need to play that period like they did the first... and they didn't. They managed to get 11 shots at the Philly goal, but few caused any trouble. Final shot totals: Philadelphia 45, Montreal 31. And after handily controlling the faceoff circle in the opening period, the game ends with Philly dominating 38-23.


And this would have been one of his GOOD saves.  Photo courtesy Habs Inside/Out

A completely frustrating road game from the Habs: Lots of skating, and doing the little things right in the first period to give themselves a 2-0 lead, followed by two periods of "what the hell was that?" to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Apparently, not enough disrepctin' was done after the first intermission.

In the first period, the Habs won 12 faceoff while losing 7. The only won 11 over the final two periods. The net result? Spending long stretches of time chasing the puck while trying to regain possession. The Flyers turned their possession advantage into scoring chances, throwing 36 shots at Carey Price over the last 2 periods. And they make good on their opportunities: two glaring defensive breakdowns led to open Flyers and their final two goals.

Five Flyers ended the night with at least five shots: Carter (6), Hartnell (6), Pronger (6), and van Riemsdyk (5). Leading the way for the Habs: Lapeirre (6) and Plekanec (5). Good on Lapierre on having a great game, but when he's leading your offensive charge, chances are that you're not going to end the night with two points. Tonight marked the first game that the Habs didn't win this season when scoring the first goal or when leading after the second period.

Price was, again, fantastic. Through 20 starts, he's het to be scored on more than three times in regulation. He deserved the win tonight, even if most of the rest of the team didn't. And what needs to be done to get Scott Gomez out of his season-long funk? 

As for the Centre Hive Loss-Severity Indicator, it gets bumped all the way up to "Star Wars Kid" for mailing in the last two periods. The Mood Indicator after this loss? A definite "Facepalm". 

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