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Game 5: Habs/Oilers

  • Sorry for the lateness of the game blog. Last game of the season opening road trip tonight against the Oilers who can certainly cause problems for most teams who visit Rexall Place. The Habs will need a big performance from Carey, and will need to forget all of what they did against the Canucks in order to compete. Nuff saud.

  1. #1 Mats Naslund says:
    October 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    A few thoughts about last night. The oilers got the kind of goaltending the Habs will need to succeed this year. The ‘Bulin’ wall wasn’t perfect last night, but when his team needed him to bail them out, he did. That is something that just can’t be said about Carey Price over the past two games. Even though pundits have noted that Carey was hung out to dry by his defense in the 7 – 1 loss to Vancouver, I can’t make that same excuse for him regarding Saturday’s loss. The Oilers only had 19 shots, and if the Habs are to win games such as this Carey and Jaro need to make saves.

    Another thought that I had was that this team is going to have to figure out how to take the puck to the net very soon. When trailing they struggle to get an offensive pressure that can either create scoring chances or powerplays. Its not going to be good enough to hope for Gionta’s heriocs every night – although he was fantastic.

    Finally – It was a huge coaching blunder to have Hal Gill out on the point with only seconds remaining in the game. He has shown time and time again that he does not possess the dextarity to handle anything but very simple offensive play. While its hard to blame him for the loss, he did mess up an incredible opportunity to score with our net empty. It was a game that a good team would have found a way to win.

  2. #2 Senet1 says:
    October 12, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    Matts I do not disagree with you very often however, Carey made some very difficult saves before he got beat on the first goal. To me his was in perfect position to defend the net he was out of his crease had the lower part of the net covered completely. Comrie made a perfect shot that I doubt any goalie could have stopped without some luck. It was a partial breakway as well which should not have happened.

    The second goal was a deflection and again Carey was in the proper position to make the save on the shot but not many goalies are going to stop that deflection unless it hits them.

    The third goal I thought was weak at first until I saw the replay and again the Edmonton forward was allowed to walk right in on goal, a give away by the defence and again he made a perfect shot. Carey may have been caught a little off guard on the give away but his position seem good in the net he just got beat by a perfect shot.

    On the other hand Khabibulin made some good saves as well but our shots were normal shots, he did not make any great saves but did get beat by a very good shot.

    I guess my point is how many great saves or good saves does our goalie have to make until we realize or give credit to the shooter and blame our defence for making the serious mistake in the first place which makes our goalie look bad.

    The first two games Carey played well made some good saves but still got beat on some good shots. Most goalies will make oue fantastic/great save each game but you cannot count on them to make fantastic saves all the time.

    Personally, I watch the entire game on saturday night and I could not fault Carey on any of the goals, we could have used a few more quality shots when we did get the chance to score, but personally I think we made Khabibulin look good.
    So sorry for disagreeing with you but although I do agree we need good goaltending we also need better quality shots on goal and better defensive zone coverage in our end, that kind of coverage makes the opposition shoot before they can take aim and make the perfect shot.

    That is how I see if anyway.

  3. #3 Avatar37 says:
    October 12, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    A few points:

    Price isn’t Khabibulin. I always thought Bulin was a highly overrated goaltender, but he’s developed into one of the elites in the league. He did so in relative obscurity. How many years did Chicago suck with Bulin in net? Edmonton is probably the highest profile hockey market he’s been in. He also has quite a few more years experience on Price. No one should expect Price to be an “Elite” goaltender for a good 3-5 years. As I said before the season started, our defense is weak. We lost Markov who is a great offensive weapon, but we’ve never really had a few good defensive defensmen. During the offseason, we downgraded by acquiring Gill, and this defense is showing it’s true colours. Brisebois finally retires, and we go out and get someone else that costs us at least one goal per game… I just don’t get it.

    In all fairness, if you look at the record, we have 2 games won by one goal, two games lost by 1 goal, and 1 blowout, where the team simply fed Price to the wolves. A two on none breakaway for Vancouver? No excuse for that. He certainly didn’t have much help with the other goals, with the team standing around watching Vancouver score, for the most part. Considering the shaky start Luongo has had, they needed a lot more offensive pressure put on him. Did you see how Vancouver would collapse and support Luongo? The Habs certainly weren’t returning the favour for Price. It was nice to see that after the Vancouver game, the coach was running lightning drills. Perhaps it’s simply a lack of conditioning? If it’s a lack of focus, lightning drills constantly will be a good way to get that focus back. It doesn’t help your goaltender when you never score the first goal, either. Going down 1-0 in every contest so far is not a good thing.

    It was a long road trip, but I’m not anticipating that playing at home in front of a hostile crowd with no patience is going to do the team much good either. Gionta never stops impressing me. Out of all the forwards we got, I expected the least from him, and he’s delivering the most. That line is great, but they can’t carry the team. We’ll have to see how the rest of the month goes.

  4. #4 Senet1 says:
    October 13, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    Well I thought we played very well in four of the first five games and with any luck we would have won the Calgary game. Unfortunately, we gave that start to Halak and personally I say we stay with Carey because he had won two straight and this confidence was growing, which in my opinion is what he needs most right now. We knew Gill was slow unfortunately Martin has not adjusted his defence to deal with that issue. Gill played exceptionaly well for Pittsburg and he was their shut down guy in the playoffs. But he like most slower defenceman need support from the wingers and his defensive partner, therefore you need to have a good skater as his partner to get back when he can’t. Personally, I feel our defence is better this year than last year but it still has problems especially when we loose Markov. As far as Khabibulin is concerned he is steady but we made him look good the other night, we only had one quality shot on goal and it went in. Edmonton had four or five on us and Carey could not stop three of them. That being said 99% of the goalies in the League wouold not have stopped any of those shots. We need our second and third lines producing more especially the second line. AK46 so far has not shown up, maybe he wants to be traded with his brother???? So we ship the two of them and a prospect and sweeten the pot if necessary to get a top four defenceman and a scoring winger. I understand there are a few out there to be had, some teams need quality and some want future. There are quite a few teams in cap trouble. Chicago have some quality players available, Dallas not in cap trouble but, Florida, Tampa, Atlanta, and a few more all need to move players eventually. I like our first line, I like our third line although we need more from them. I do not like our second line. We need something to produce a more balance scoring threat. That is how I see it anyway.

  5. #5 Mats Naslund says:
    October 13, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Senet1: I agree with you in your analysis of Price’s game. I’m not slagging on him, but the reality is that he let in 3 goals on 12 shots in the first two periods. Good or bad, that really broke the Canadiens on Saturday night. In some games he’ll steal the show, in others he can’t make the stop when he really needs to. The break away was a great shot, but an elite goaltender bails his team out when they need to. Its hard to blame the Canadiens defense on a night when they hold a team to 19 shots. Price wasn’t the better goalie on the night – and while the Canadiens controled much of the play, they were not able to grind out the win.

    On to Thursday: Shawn Belle has been called up to replace Weber who clearly could not handle his defensive responsibilities. MA Bergeron isn’t ready yet, so we’ll see how Belle handles things until that time. I have thought he was the better choice due to his training camp – and the Habs need for simplicity while the regulars heal. The Habs just got a lot tougher on D.

  6. #6 Senet1 says:
    October 14, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Matt’s one last thought although I agree that a goalie has to come up with some big saves at the right times in a game my only point was that the shots that went in I doubt could have been stopped any any goalie. Perfect shot, deflection, and forward allowed to walk in on a giveaway and take aim an shoot before the goalie has a chance to position himself for the shot. The only way any goalie stops a defection is by it hitting him. Mostly that is luck and good positioning. In this case Price was in the right place to play the shot, there was no chance on the deflection. The only goal he may have had a chance on was the third but again due to the giveaway there was little time to adjust to the shooter. That is why I cannot fault Price on any of the goals, because I do not believe anyone goalie could have stopped the first two and the third well??
    19 shots is not the measuring stick but the quality of the shots is and Edmonton had the better qualify shots in this game.

  7. #7 Senet1 says:
    October 14, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    It will be interesting to see how Belle does, I have not seen him play much so I will be following his moves and how he handles himself, I hope I can get the game on TV. Is there any word on when Bergeron is going to be called up? Is he out of shape or was he a depth addition rather than someone to fill the Markov hole?

  8. #8 Mats Naslund says:
    October 14, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Bergeron will still be a few games away at best case scenario. He sat out the preseason waitin for a contract and will be a step slow for the first few. As for filling Markov’w role, I’m not sure its possible, but he does have a good shot from the point, and is most dangerous on the powerplay. He is not a very physical guy.

    Belle will replace O’Byrne in the roster as a guy who is physical and benefits from a very symple defensive structure. If he’s effective for Montreal then he’ll be clearing the bodies and rebounds in front of the net. If he tries to do too much, he may be back in the AHL soon. This is a guy who was drafted 30th overall in 2003, so there is huge upside if he can find his game.

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