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» 2011 » October

  • Game 6: Habs/Pens

    Over the past few days there has been some pretty extensive discussion in the numerous other corners of the Habs’ Universe as to what exactly is wrong (or right?) with the Canadiens after 5 games. Eric Engles said something that I wanted to repeat here which was this: “Sometimes you can do 100 things right, but the two you do wrong end up biting you.” In regards to the Canadiens play over the past 2 games – I couldn’t agree more.

    Sure, the game against Colorado was sloppy. There was ample room for improvement. Still, the Habs had a 1 goal lead with about 5 minutes to go in the game when Raphael Diaz was penalized on one of the softest tripping penalties I’ve ever seen. On the ensuing PP, a seeing eye puck beat price in to the far corner: an inch either way and it hits his pad or the post. A shootout loss is what it is – a terrible way to lose a point, but reality in the modern era of hockey. In the end that game was disappointing for the fact that Montreal had out-shot the Avalanche in the 1st and 3rd periods, controlling the play for long stretches, only to fall short.

    Tuesday night Montreal dominated the Sabres. To day it was the best game of the year for the Canadiens would be an understatement. I haven’t seen a Montreal Canadiens team control the puck in the offensive zone like that in…. lets just say a long time. Max Pacioretty ended the game with 9 shots. He had a few more that missed the net. Tomas Plekanec had 5 shots, went 11-7 on face-offs and missed a wide open net when it was 1-0 which would have changed the entire dynamic of the game in the 2nd period. His line with Eller and Cole was very strong. Gomez went 14-8 on faceoffs, and while he still didn’t find the score sheet – his line ensured that there were 3 lines skating circles around the Sabres all night long. Gionta, Moen and Darche all had solid chances next to #11.

    The line of David Desharnais, AK46 and Max Pacioretty was phenomenal. They were big on the puck and generated countless scoring chances. There aren’t too many games in which your line can get 13 SOG and be held off of the score-sheet.

    Raphael Diaz scored his first NHL goal on an absolutely fantastic play by Kostitsyn.

    Alexei Emelin led all teams in hits and played a solid 15+ minutes. So did Hal Gill.

    Subban ended the night with a fantastic 4 shots and game-leading 25 minutes played. He was a -2, but that stat is unfair because he was on the ice for Josh Gorge’s mistake icing, and the final goal into an empty net.

    If those types of things happen night in and night out from this point in the season – Habs fans are going to absolutely LOVE the results.

    So the Habs are 1-3-1 after 5 games. Big whoop. Talk to me after 20. Even then, it will still be too early to make a real judgment on what this team is capable of doing.


    Pittsburgh is devastated by injury right now. They’re essentially missing their top line and top defensive pairing. That hurts. Even so, they’ve been very good considering. This is definitely an opportunity for the Canadiens to gain their second win of the season if they can play a complete game like the other night in Montreal. It would also go a long way to soothing the nerves of the jittery fan base who get on edge any time the Habs trail the Leafs in the standings.

    Go Habs Go!!!!

  • Game 5: Habs/Sabres

    There are more than a few Habs fans out there who would like to push the RESET button on this young season through 4 games. Some are already complaining about the blue screen of death… or at least the fact that the Leafs have 7 points through 4 games while we have 3.  Its certainly not a comfortable feeling sitting in 12th place – even if it is ridiculously early. Although it is entirely reasonable to be concerned with the play of the team thus far, you can at least take solace in knowing that there are other teams who are going through the same thing.

    Through 5 games the Stanley Cup Champions have only 4 points. Their opponents in last years final – the Canucks hold 5 points through 5 games. Guy Boucher’s Tampa Bay Lightning have played 6 games and only earned 4 points. Prior to the season, many pundits selected the San Jose Sharks as serious contenders for a long Cup run, and they have only managed to earn 2 points through 4 games.

    What does it all mean? Can we expect the Colorado Avalanche to continue to earn 84% of all points available? Will Washington go 82-0 for the season? Clearly no.

    Small sample sizes are just that. Its why I don’t really like to make judgments about  any team or player prior to the 10-15 game mark. We have no clue how Eric Cole will fit with this team yet. We haven’t seen enough to make a call on Alexei Emelin (he dropped the Y on his jersey!). For good or bad, we’re simply too early in the season to know anything about this team – although there are clues that are emerging.

    A few things are certain. The defense will need to be better. The sooner Andrei Markov is back – the better. The sooner PK Subban starts to “keep it simple” as he so often eluded to during the pre-season – the better. The sooner Hal Gill starts playing like the shut-down guy we need him to be – the better. The sooner the veteran core of this team starts producing – the better. Most importantly, the sooner Carey Price starts playing like last season – the better.

    The Sabres are one of a few teams who have started out of the gate quickly. They have a 3-1-0 record to start this young season. So far they’ve looked as improved as some thought they would be. As I said before though – the jury is out. It is way too soon to make any judgments about who is good and not.

    Puck drops just after 7:30. Go Habs Go!!!!