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» 2011 » January

  • Game 44: Habs/Pens

    The Crosby-less Penguins are waiting in Montreal in ambush of our Habs for their game at the Bell Centre tonight. Fresh off of a squeeker win against the NY Rangers, The Habs will need to summon the energy necessary to skate with a very good team that is for the first time this season showing cracks of vulnerability going 4-4-2 in their last 10 games.

    The Habs did a good job last night in earning 2 critical points. The win allowed them to vault over the Thrashers into 7th place in the East, and also helped to pull the Habs within 2 points of the Rangers. They can pull even tonight if they are able to win once more. The standings have tightened over the last month – with teams 2 through 8 all within 4 points of each other. Wins now are critical to how the standings will end up in the Spring.

    For the Habs to make the playoffs they will need to continue being defensively stingy. But they will also need some of their younger offensive stars to pick up the scoring slack that their veterans seem to be incapable of. Pouliot has been enormous over the past few games. Pacioretti has been very good as well. The Habs need more out of Ak46, and Lars Eller.

    Eller was inserted into the top line after a 3 game stint as a healthy scratch – only to be benched in 6 minutes of action. I can’t really understand Martin’s approach on this one. Eller has skill that the Canadiens desperately need, and yet – at every single turn his mistakes are blown out of proportion. For a guy to be benched after a marginal penalty in the first period is questionable. When that player plays for on of the most penalized teams in the league – you really have to wonder.

    Wouldn’t the team be better served by having a 21 year old play through his mistakes? If the team cannot afford this – shouldn’t he be in the AHL? One thing is for certain – Montreal will not turn him into a Claude Giroux, or James Neal by playing him 6 minutes per night. Confidence is everything for young players – and the Habs have blasted the confidence of this young man. And he’s not the only one.

    PK seems to have turned a corner. You have to wonder if the fact that he simple CANNOT be benched has allowed him to play through the minor mistakes that all young (and old) players make. Ryan O’Byrne has surely shown that if a team is willing to show you some confidence – it makes a big difference. Guillaume Latendresse’s pace through 55 games in Minnesota last year (and this year until he got hurt) show that confidence is the MAJOR contributing factor to a player’s success (along with ice time).

    We won’t see good things from Eller in limited minutes. There are only a handful of players in the league who could succeed in that short a span – and none of them are 21 years of age.

    I want to see 60 minutes of balanced hockey tonight. Hopefully the Habs have something left in the tank after all of these come-from-behind games of late.

    Go Habs Go!!!

  • Game 43: Habs/Rangers

    The Candiens will be without the services of Michael Cammalleri tonight when they face the blue-shirts at MSG. Cammy was pulled out of the previous game against the Bruins with an apparent flu-bug, although this remains unconfirmed by the team. Taking his place in the lineup will be Lars Eller who will look to spark the offensive game of Andrei Kostitsyn and Tomas Plekanec who are both struggling of late to produce offensively. Eller, who has been scratched the past three games will need to keep things simple, as his linemates have been guilty of trying overly- difficult passes in traffic. The best possible solution for the top line is to get back to basics. No more dangerous passing at the blueline, and perimeter shots. Tonight it will take Lars Eller driving to the net while Plex and AK46 shoot as often as possible. They need to get back to the basics in order to open up the kind of creative, dangerous offense they are capable of – because right now, they are far too easy to defend.

    Alex Auld gets the start tonight with the Canadiens heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow to take on the Crosby-less Pens. This stretch of the schedule is dangerous for the Habs – but could provide the kind of rallying point that the team needs. A good or bad stretch of 5 games could be make or break as far as our playoff chances are concerned, as we sit 3 points ahead of Carolina for 8th place and 2 points behind Boston for 3rd.  Both teams have a game in hand.

    The only thing you can do is win Habs fans. If you win, you solve problems. Brilliant.. I know.

    Go Habs Go!!!!