montreal canadiens hockey – habs blog RSS

Game 2: Habs/Flyers

  • If I’ve learned one thing in all my days of watching hockey its that when the playoffs come, fans will over-react. No matter what the situation, people who watch their club win or lose will get carried away drawing conclusions that have little to do with reality, and much to do with the optics of one single contest. I’m not going to downplay the display the Flyers put on in their 6-0 trouncing of the Canadiens on Sunday, but fans have a special way of blowing every small detail ridiculously out of proportion. A terrible game for the Canadiens is just that – one of 3 they are allowed in a series. People soon forget that Chicago was trounced 5-1 in the opener of their series with Vancouver. When does Vancouver play again? That would be October 2010. Pittsburgh jumped out to a 1-0 series lead with a deflating 6-3 victory in Game 1 of the Conference Semi-Finals, which signaled to the hockey world that the Canadiens Cinderella run was all but dead. I remember what happened in that series.

    This is not to say that the Canadiens will have an easier time tonight than they did on Sunday. The Flyers are a team that combines skill with grit and is getting some timely saves. That is a tough combo to beat – but this is a best of 7 series, and much is left to be determined. The Canadiens will have to over-haul their game in order to restore the respect they had earned in the first two rounds. It will start with getting it right between their ears. Every time the Canadiens made a mistake on Sunday, the puck found its way to the back of their net. They are going to need timely saves, and a much more efficient transition game if they are going to be able to play to the Flyer’s weaknesses.

    One game does not make or break a series, so there is no reason for the mass of reactionaries calling for a sweep on both sides of this series. That said, momentum is a dangerous thing in sports. The Flyers now know what they can do, and how to do it. Montreal needs to find a way to elevate their game tonight. If they can, we have a brand new series. If they can’t there could be trouble.

    Go Habs Go!!!

  1. #1 Mats Naslund says:
    May 19, 2010 at 9:43 am

    A demoralizing loss for a team that desperately needed something good to happen. I can not describe the fury I felt as I watched Gomez (again) negate our first powerplay of the game only to once again give up a powerplay goal to the Flyers. What happened to veteran leadership? What made us so successful in the previous two rounds was our ability to jump out to a lead. Getting the first goal allowed us to play without pressure. It was Washington and Pittsburgh who were gripping their sticks and saying “we just need one bounce…”. But that is our sad story today. If Gomez doesn’t take a stupid penalty, and the powerplay connects on an early chance, I’m not so sure that we couldn’t have won that game. Unfortunately ‘ifs’ don’t count for a whole lot in hockey, and Montreal has some soul searching to do. With the series turning back to Montreal, this much is true: The chances are there. Montreal had ample opportunities to bury some pucks. The difference right now is that loose pucks in our end have been finding the back of the net, and not in theirs. Credit Philadelphia’s strong defencemen, and some fantastic work by Leighton who absolutely robbed the Canadiens on several opportunities. Call our forwards smurfs for not being able to out muscle their way to loose pucks. It is what it is. Brian Gionta had 8 shots last night which on most nights would normally would do the trick. Cammy missed in a couple spots where he simply hasn’t all post-season. Game 3 will be critical, and thankfully played in Montreal.

    I do have one gripe which I can’t let go from last night. Martin made the call to bring SK74 back to the lineup which is fine. Sergei has all kinds of skill, was among Montreal’s best forwards in the playoffs in 07/08, and has at times this year been a boost to the third line with his ability to play a 2-way game. The move is ok by me, especially considering we are hurting for scoring. Why on earth however do you bring a guy into the lineup to play 4-5 minutes, when your team so obviously needs a physical defenceman to clear Philly’s net-crashing forwards? If Sergei was going to be limited to 5 minutes of action (name a hockeyplayer on earth who can impact a game in that time), why not dress 7 defensemen, and have Bergeron support the fourth line? Unless O’B is hurt, the situation makes zero sense. O’B is arguably Montreal’s most physical player, and was a fantastic compliment to Markov. What has changed? I cannot help but feel that we squandered an opportunity last night. You don’t always get the opportunity to play in a conference final. Its been 17 years for us, and Martin is asleep at the wheel if he thinks MAB will get the job done defensively.

Leave a Comment