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» 2013 » February

  • Game 15: Habs/Canes

    The Habs host the Hurricanes tonight before leaving after the game for Long-Island to face the Islanders and for the first time this season, the Habs are a suffering a little by the injury and flu bug. Carey Price didn’t play Saturday due to flu and is expected to sit once again tonight in favor of Peter Budaj. PK Subban was sent home from practice Sunday with flu-like symptoms, though he could be in the lineup tonight. On the more serious side, Brendan Gallagher sustained a concussion when his head was checked into the boards on Saturday by Luke Schenn. There is no word yet on how serious the symptoms have been for Gallagher, though he has only had one reported concussion prior to this one, so here is hoping that he can avoid the disastrous side-effects that have kept players out for extended periods of time. Max Pacioretty was cut near his ribs by a skate in the third period of the Flyers game, and Colby Armstrong left after he was hit in the head with a puck. For details on all of the injuries you can read Pat Hickey’s report in the Gazette.

    Its not like this team hasn’t had adversity this season. All of the players had to deal with the absence of PK Subban to start the season, and some line juggling as they adapted to a new coach with a different philosophy to the one they endured under Pierre Gauthier and Jacques Martin. But tonight’s game against the Hurricanes will be the first time in a while that the Habs will be forced to play without a few key individuals. It will be up to players like Budaj, Eller, White, Emelin, and whomever is likely to replace PK Subban (Kaberle?) to step up and contribute. Personally, I’d love to see Eric Cole step up tonight and lead the team with solid play. The big forward is a notorious slow-starter, but this season has been brutal for him, tallying only 4 points in 14 games and sitting 12th in team scoring, tied with Francis Bouillon. That is simply not good enough for a veteran who should be able to recognize the need  to figure out ways to contribute when you’ve lost your scoring mojo. His advanced metrics are terrible – not even worth getting into. Eric Cole is a fantastic player who needs to start playing a better overall game. Once he does so, the scoring will come too.

    Go Habs Go!!!

    ~Mats

  • Game 13: Habs/Panthers

    The idea heading into Tuesday’s game was that Montreal needed a win – 2 points – to move on from the horrible loss suffered on Hockey Day in Canada against the Leafs. Well.. They got the 2 points, but does anyone feel comfortable with the way this team has played in the last 5 games? Let’s not forget that Montreal’s afternoon victory on Sunday  versus Ottawa, was a game that Montreal had to furiously fight off Ottawa’s attack, and were lucky to have a goal early in the 3rd negated by a phantom goaltender interference call against the Sens.

    If you count that game (because honestly – that goal should have counted), Montreal has blown leads in 4 of 5. The one game in which they did not blow a lead, they lost by 6. From that perspective there is no way anyone could be comfortable with the team moving forward.

    And yet – if you look at the game without the defensive lapses, and frankly terrible luck resulting in the 2nd and 3rd goals, you have to admit that the Canadiens actually played a heck of a game keeping Tampa to limited chances, and burying theirs when they got them. While the trend of blowing leads is nothing if not alarming, I have to keep reminding myself that this team has had leads to lose, and if they can cut out these crazy short periods where they completely collapse, they’ve still been playing decent hockey. They may have been good enough to beat the Bruins. They were definitely good enough to beat both Buffalo and Tampa. Its not all bad news – even if the mood isn’t sunshine and roses this Valentines Day.