Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Game 60: Habs vs. Rangers

Montreal 3, New York Rangers 2 (SO)

ALL HAIL CAREY FREAKIN' PRICE:
And for good incredible riddance, this, my friends, is a remarkable photograph:






FIRST PERIOD:

- And, this happened during warmups:
No update as of yet as to whether he's been seriously injured, but this thought which was a daily occurrence during most of last season has started to resurface: Is the season over yet?

- Here's video of the shot, courtesy Paul Byron:
- Okay, as you were:

- Pretty decent first round of shifts for the Habs - good energy, which is to be expected from a team that's played just one hockey game over the span of 9 days.

- Whelp, there it is. Habs strike courtesy some excellent forechecking by Plekanec deep in the Rangers zone, Shaw slamming in a loose puck with Lundqvist caught wide, and it's 1-0. Game plan looks pretty clear right now - high energy game, lots of forechecking by the forwards.

- Another bad play with the puck by Emelin generates high percentage scoring chance for the Rangers. We continue to wait for his inevitable demotion.

- Not sure if the Habs penalty kill will improve much even with a new coach behind the bench, with 60 games worth of bad habits developed, but one thing I know for certain, it's not good when your defenseman knees your goaltender in the head. Shea Weber making this a rough night for Carey Price.

- Habs were in control, at least until Emelin stepped on the ice, and made a mess of everything, getting routinely beat wide side by Fast, allowing for a quick pass in front to a streaking Oscar Lindberg, and the game is tied. My goodness Claude Julien. If you hadn't been getting the hint that Emelin requires a demotion, surely you're receiving now.

- This is what slow, bad defence looks like:

- Pateryn looking good. I mean, really, really strong. Why would Bergevin even think of moving him elsewhere? Are his wife's twitter comments really a deal breaker? Couldn't he find a team interested in Emelin instead?

- Wasted period. Habs got out of the gate strong, took an early lead, were essentially bagging the Rangers in their own zone, and then with one very poor play by Emelin, the lead not only vanishes, but so to momentum. Habs can ill afford to keep giving certain players slack, because it's costing this offensively-starved team goals, which is costing games.

SECOND PERIOD:

- Solid first period for the Habs, but it only takes one bad play for it all not to matter, at least as far as the scoreboard is concerned:


- Habs (actually) score on the powerplay, although the setup is underwhelming. Markov across to Weber who basically shoots through Lindqvist. We'll take the goal, but the Habs need to up their structure and creativity if they hope to make their man advantage an asset again.

- Rangers catch Habs defence (Beaulieu/Pateryn) napping, feeding puck up the middle to spring Nash on a clear-cut break. Price with an excellent save. But com'on, guys. Understand who you're playing and guard against these preventable breakdowns.

- Rangers turning the table this period, so far outworking and the better forechecking team. Price doing what he can, but it seems almost inevitable that New York will be evening things up in short order.

- I guess my warnings weren't headed, as Nash again exploits a bad Habs defensive breakdown, Markov pinching but unable to get back, Petry just watching Nash skate past to receive another breakaway pass, this time Price does not bail his defenders out, and the game, as we suspected would happen, is tied.

- Old habits die hard. Rangers still running Carey Price. Amazing the chutzpa of this hockey team.

- Unbelievable. Gallagher penalized for goaltender interference only seconds later. Guess who makes the call? Our good friend, Mr. Brad Watson.

- McCarron line has failed to register a shot attempt through nearly 2 full periods of hockey. In any situation. That's ... not ... good.

- Solid, but unspectacular game tonight for Galchenyuk - being responsible in his own zone, but not particularly dangerous in the Rangers's.

- You hate to make generalized and grandiose statements like "the season is on the line", but tonight might actually be that night, even though there are 22 games still to play after tonight. The Habs are team reeling badly from a string of loses, which has taken them from a safe, to a precarious position in their Conference. Tonight is critical for this team to get their season back on track, and they've got one period of hockey to dig deep to win two points, not only precious in keeping them in the playoff hunt, but important in boosting the moral of a team that's still skating with a fragile mentality.

THIRD PERIOD:

- Habs and Rangers through 40 minutes. Canadiens barely holding on to even strength possession, 51.8% CF cumulative:


- More ominous signs for the Habs, Rangers are the highest scoring 3rd period team in the NHL this season. So place your bets accordingly.

- Habs unquestionably the better team first 5 minutes, Lehkonen breakaway save by Lundqvist. Shaw clearly trying to amp his effort. 4th line continues to be a no show, and still waiting to see something dangerous from Galchenyuk. Early trend, however, looks promising.

- McCarron really struggling out there tonight - not playing anywhere close to his size.

- Rangers turning the tables on the Habs at the 7 minute mark, after a poor shift by the Canadiens 4th line gives New York a spark of momentum. Ice suddenly tilted in Montreal's direction. Price a couple of key saves to keep the score even.

- Habs need someone to step up and deliver here. There are plenty of potential candidates - Radulov maybe a too obvious one - but is anyone capable? That's something we haven't seen- from this team for well over a month (arguably most of this season) - someone, anyone, grabbing the game by the neck and leading his team to victory.

- Excellent backcheck by Shaw to break up a dangerous Rangers rush. Maybe we're finally seeing Shaw rounding into his "playoff form"?

- Julien effect - Habs really keen to stack their blue line guarding the rush. It's always a little risky against a speedy team like the Rangers, but like they say if you can't beat 'em, trap 'em.

- More adventurous shifts by Weber/Emelin. They really put you through the ringer with unstructured, often scrambled defensive zone coverage and passing.

- 7 minutes left in the 3rd. I suppose it's worth holding on for a point, but really, the Habs very badly need a victory. They're seemingly scaling back the attack to guard against coming out of the night with nothing. Lundqvist largely untested since about the 4 minute mark.

- Emelin hit by an errant stick, and the Habs go to an incredibly important powerplay with 6 minutes left.

- Danault/Paciroetty/Gallagher 1st line powerplay. Interesting combination choice. Galchenyuk and Radulov hit the ice 2nd line.

- Good lord. Andrew Shaw nailed for a trip, while don the powerplay, with the puck deep in the Rangers zone. Beyond my ability to comment.

- Julien sends out Flynn and Mitchell during the 4-on-4 time, which is the kind of deployment that Therrien used to do (and drive the fans crazy).

- Habs survive the Shaw penalty. Less than 3 minutes are left. At this point, Montreal might as well at least hang on for that single point.

- I suppose it's a moral, if not impressive victory of sorts for the Habs to keep the Rangers off the board in the 3rd period, which we'd mentioned they've dominated in this season. But now, they must find a way of getting the extra point.

OVERTIME:

- Heros? If you're a Habs fan, you look for the usual suspects - Pacioretty, Radulov. Maybe Weber can be the person who owns this night in OT. Very, very, very big extra point being played for here.

- Julien sends out Pacioretty, Danault and Petry to start.

- Fierce wrister by Pacioretty snagged neatly by Lundqvist, who we should remind, hasn't seen a whole lot of action the past 30 minutes.

- Radulov declines to go off when he's given an opportunity, and exhausted, gets stuck in his own zone. Rangers nearly capitalize.

- Pacioretty only barely stopped by Lundqvist courtesy a great pass by Markov. Agonizingly close to victory right there.

- Can't believe the crazy good chances Pacioretty has had this OT. Excellent extra frame for him.

- Carey Price has been exceptional - 3rd period and OT especially. This is very good news for the Canadiens - it marks two straight starts of the "old" Price.

- Good god. Plekanec hits the crossbar, resulting in a 2-on-1 Rangers break, and Carey Price makes one of the great saves of the whole damn season, diving to his left to absolutely rob Miller with one second left on the clock. The incredible Carey Price - he's the Canadien who's stepped up tonight to deliver for his team.

- Coin flip shootout. What a shame.

- Flynn? In the shootout? Claude??!?!

- Radulov, a must make, and he's GOOD. What a great backhander. Habs stayin' alive.

- Stepan .... off the goalpost. And now the Habs can win - Pacioretty.

- Great glove save by Lundqvist. What a night for Pacioretty. So close so many times.

- Vesey ... great glove save by Price, returning the favour.

- Galchenyuk for the win .... HITS THE POST. Oh, god.

- Miller ... stopped again. Byron now again for the win.

- LORD BYRON. THE HABS HAVE WON. ALL IS GOOD WITH THE WORLD. CAREY PRICE IS GOD AGAIN. GOODNIGHT AND GOOD LUCK.







What a lovely couple, huh? Picture courtesy Google photo search. Thanks, Google!

























GAMEDAY PREVIEW: WHEN HOCKEY WIVES ATTACK!!!

Hey, it's game day, and it's another stiff challenge for one of the worst teams in the NHL (after 15 games) as the Habs take on the Rangers tonight from Madison Square Garden.

Not a whole lot of news to report, visa vie the Canadiens, except for this:
Now, why Pateryn is suddenly trade bait is a bit of surprise, given that since his acquisition last month, the Habs' other "6th D" Nikita Nesterov has struggled mightily in the Canadiens uniform. Add to the fact that Zach Redmond and Joel Hanley, in their short stints earlier in the season as 3rd line injury replacements also failed to make any impression that either defender was NHL-capable, only adds to Bergevin's puzzling public announcement.

Well, maybe there's other factors at play. Such as, Pateryn's wife, Stefani:



Normally, I'd embed the actual tweet, but since Ms. Pateryn's little pronouncement 3 days online, her account was taken offline. The Internet being a beast that never forgets, and never truly deletes, the damage, as they say, was done. And so, via Ms. Pateryn's rather outgoing opinions about other people, Mr. Pateryn is now awaiting his fate for a one-way ticket out of town (with Ms. Pateryn in tow, no doubt).

So it's showcase time! Greg Pateryn will start tonight it what might very well be his final game as a Montreal Canadien. 

Here's the Rangers lineup Pateryn will be facing:

Vesey/Stepan/Nash
Kreider/Zibanejad/Zuccarello
Grabner/Hayes/Miller
Buchnevich/Lindber/Fast

McDonagh/Girardi
Staal/Holden
Skjei/Klein

Henrik Lundqvist

Over on the Habs side, no changes (except for Pateryn, of course), which means Galchenyuk is back on 3rd line duty - at least to start the game. Maybe he'll get a second crack at the first line (or maybe not). Also keep your eyes peeled for how Alexei Emelin (who's been downright awful for over a month) is utilized. Will he continue to be paired with Shea Weber, or will be be shifted next to Pateryn.

Carey Price starts for the Canadiens. Puck drops at 7:10 EST.