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» 2010 » December

  • Game 32: Habs/Bruins

    I have to quickly speak about the game last night. I think we saw a team that is good enough to win when it doesn’t play its best. I saw a team that has so much scoring depth that they have a top 9 better than most team’s top 6. The Flyers are legit. The knock has always been goaltending for them, and now that they have Boucher and Bob going nuts keeping pucks out of the net, there is really no holes in the armour. They can be beaten – anyone in the NHL is vulnerable with the league wide parity – but you have to be at your best.

    The Canadiens were not at their best last night. They had plenty of puck possession, loads of shots, and much quicker feet than their opponents. But the Montreal Canadiens are not a team that can easily overcome the bad play of certain players on the team. If Price isn’t at his best – the Habs are in trouble. If the top 6 doesn’t score, we’re in trouble. If our defenders cause turnovers, were in big trouble. Last night had elements of each. The defense caused way too many turnovers. Price didn’t bail the team out. In fact, he probably had his worst game of the year (which says a lot considering he wasn’t THAT bad). The offense scored some timely goals, but took a long time to get there.

    There was a lot of bad to look at. PK turned the puck over which ended in 2 goals – not that the rest of the team couldn’t have helped. His partner Alex Picard played his worst game as a Hab. Hal Gill was fairly brutal. AK46 looked at times utterly confused, coughing up pucks that he usually wouldn’t – and missing a wide-open net near the end of the game.

    Still, with a game to play tonight against a determined Bruins squad, its better to look at what the Habs did well. Max Pac was absolutely what the Habs needed last night – evidenced best by the first Canadiens goal – with Patches screening the goalie while PK’s shot found twine. I thought there was good flow to the offense, with smooth transitions – especially in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Benoit Pouliot, Plex, Gionta, and even Gomez had solid games.

    The Habs have to have a short memory. For the first time this season they have lost 3 consecutive games in regulation. A win tonight will reset the clock and keep the hungry Bruins behind us in the standings. A loss will add another to the streak – right before an extended road swing. Tonight, the Habs need a 60 minute effort. We need to cut down on the turnovers, and keep the offensive pressure high. The Bruins are a great defensive team – it won’t be easy.

    Go Habs Go!!!

  • Game 31: Habs/Flyers

    There was no sense at any point last season that the Montreal Canadiens were in a “good position” with regards to making the playoffs. I remember writing a lot of game blogs that centred around how critical each point was – that extended streaks of either kind could have a profound influence on their chances. Its the difference between being 3rd in the standings and 8 through 10. For the first time this season, however, I caught myself looking at the standings this morning while checking up to see if the Canadiens players would return from injury. Gomez and Spacek will by the way.

    The Habs are in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference by virtue of leading the Northeast Division. With 38 points, the Habs trail Philly and the Pens who are the class of the East in the early going by 7 and 6 points respectively. Though the Habs are in no danger of falling out of a playoff spot (Ottawa trails by 9 points), there is a log jam of teams WSH, MON, ATL, NYR, BOS, and TB who all have 36-39 points. Clearly, a stretch of winning or losing could go a long way to ensuring which side of that pile you are on.

    It is far too early to suggest that a game against the Flyers is in some way “critical”. The Habs are currently suffering their longest losing streak of the year – 2 games. The team clearly has a lot to be proud of as far as consistency goes. If the Canadiens can find a way to win tonight, not only will they keep the Flyers from separating themselves form the pack, but they will ensure that they remain in favorable playoff position.

    I’m sure we’ll all be watching Patches intently tonight. I’ll also be very interested in how long Travis Moen lasts on a line with Cammy and Plex. You have to believe that Kostitsyn serves that line better (given the history that those three have already this season).

    Go Habs Go!