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» 2011 » December

  • Game 26: Habs/Kings

    The Canadiens play an incredibly early game today by hockey standards: 12:30 Pacific time (3:30 Eastern). It seems odd to make me stay up to 1:30 am on a weeknight to watch a shoot out loss, only to play an early game on a day when I could easily sleep in. I guess that they don’t take my sleeping schedule into consideration when they create the NHL schedule. You never know what kind of crazy thing will happen in these types of games and as such the Canadiens would be best served to come out skating hard and playing a smart neutral zone game for the first 10 minutes.

    This is an important game for the Habs as a win could salvage a trip that thus far has been mostly disappointing. Montreal has held a lead in each of its last 4 losses. They have been letting points slip away which could have a very bad impact come the end of the season.

    This could be our last chance to see Louis Leblanc in a Habs uniform as Pacioretty’s suspension ends with today’s game. I’ve loved him on a line with Moen and Eller, and if anything can be gleaned from the small sample that we’ve seen, it’s that Louis is headed back to the NHL sooner than some people may have predicted.
    Jump on them early!

    Go Habs go!!!

  • Game 26: Habs/Sharks

    The last thing you want to run into when you’re hemorrhaging is a shark.

    The Canadiens are bleeding points right now as though they were bleeding pints. The Habs are broken by injuries, drowning in media scrutiny, and seem to lack the will to survive. And now, the team is perilously floating in the midst of an area known as the “Red Triangle”, between San Francisco and Monterrey, Mexico – home to the largest quantity of man-eaters on Earth.

    Some species of shark have a sense of smell so keen that they can smell blood in sea-water as small as one single part per million.

    I don’t think these Sharks need to be so precise to understand they are dealing with a wounded animal.

    Last night the Canadiens lost to a team that is second-to-last in goals scored per game and 22nd in goals against. The Habs lost to a team that was 1-8-1 in their last 10 games – a team that is currently being led in +/- by George Parros (+2!).  By every conceivable standard, the Canadiens should have been able to exploit the Ducks and build positive momentum for the rest of their trip out west. That didn’t happen though. The Habs scored a quick goal off of some good work by a new first line – and then proceeded to fire blanks on three consecutive powerplays in the first period totalling almost 6 continuous minutes of play with the man advantage. The Habs were able to muster 3 shots in 6 minutes.

    If that doesn’t kill a team I don’t know what will.

    Anaheim was able to score a late goal with less than 20 seconds remaining in the first period -  and from that point on, the Canadiens played like a team in crisis.

    At the risk of carrying a bad metaphor too far… Sharks can sense panic.

    But the 10/11 San Jose Sharks have enough to worry about in their own respect.

    Currently they sit in 9th place on the outside of the very competitive Western Conference playoff race. To their benefit is the fact that they’ve played less games than anyone else above them in the standings. The only problem is that they’ll need to beat a very desperate Montreal Canadiens team to stop their own 2 game losing streak from getting any worse.

    Still, without Max Pacioretty the Habs feature only one player with more than 15 points on the year – Thomas Plekanec. Ultimately this is the crux of the Montreal’s problems. With all of the money that they pay Michael Cammalleri, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez, and even Eric Cole – they’re not scoring goals. You simply cannot survive in the NHL if your top money making players do not produce. Its wonderful to get contributions from youngsters on the cheap, but if guys who are making more than 4 million dollars don’t put up points – your team is in deep trouble. Last night Thomas Plekanec and Michael Cammalleri combined for 0 shots on net. Its tough to score if you don’t get a puck on net.

    My guess is that the team comes out with some energy tonight after a pretty pathetic effort last evening. At least if the team is diligent on their strengths, the forecheck and neutral zone game, they will at least give themselves a chance.

    Carey Price gets the start tonight.

    Go Habs Go!!!