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Game 69: Habs/Oilers

  • I reminded myself of the greatest sports video game in history:  ’Blades of Steel’ yesterday while ranting about loser points. In tribute we have the pic above which is clearly the Montreal Canadiens vs Edmonton Oilers… no wait… Montreal was orange and red while Edmonton was green and yellow. But use your imagination.

    Montreal is entering a weird stretch of winnable games. They play Edmonton tonight and Boston on Saturday. After that they will play the Rangers on Tuesday before they pause to face the Leafs next Saturday night. During this stretch the Habs will let the rest of the league catch up in games played. It will be time for Mike Cammalleri and MAB to rest up before returning to the lineup for a final run.

    Thanks to some great wins, the Canadiens find themselves in command of 7th place in the East. No team other than Boston (ahem.. loser points), can pass the Canadiens with games in hand, although losses in the next two games could change that scenario quickly.  This means that Montreal does have a sliver of breathing room in the standings. However, given the ‘easy’ schedule they have upcoming, Montreal had better make full use of excellent play from Jaro, Gomez, Markov among others to ensure that we’re watching hockey deep into the spring. It always gets wild this time of year, with teams out of the playoffs playing without pressure (and for jobs next season) looking to spoil the fun of those still in contention.

    Early start tonight – shortly after 7.

    Go Habs Go!!!!

  1. #1 Senet1 says:
    March 11, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    We all have the right to be skeptical when it comes to our habs because of the way they play so good one game and so bad the next. We have witnessed 5 straight games where they have played well with the exception of two periods. And because of that they have put themselves in a good position. However, that is where the skeptism comes into play,which team will show up against the lowly Oilers?

  2. #2 Mats Naslund says:
    March 12, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Wow. We all saw it coming, but I’m not sure I wanted to see it go down like that. At least it almost did. The Habs were one circus save in a SO to losing to one of the worst teams in recent history. There is no excuse. No one played particularly good throughout the game. Even though it could have been an easy win if Markov and AK46 had hit open nets, the Habs did nothing to help themselves last night. Thats why they call it hockey and not “could’ve”.

    There were bright spots however. A PK in the second by Dominic Moore, Gionta, Gomez and Sergei was an absolute beauty. There was fantastic movement on the PP. The first line is playing the best hockey of the season. I thought that Markov (+3) and O’B (+2) were solid, and could have chemistry in the long term on our blueline. (I for one can’t wait to see Subban next to Hamrlik in our top 4!). Sergei and Travis Moen both got the goal monkey off of their backs with a 2 point nights respectively. That line has done some very good work since Moore was added to the mix.

    There was a lot more that left you shaking your head however. Jaro was bad last night – both of them. Halak redeemed himself somewhat by closing the door in the SO, but it never should have got there. No reason to panic – but he’s had two sub-par outings in a row. I still think he’s the guy, but his rebound control is terrible right now, and he has needed all the run support we can muster lately.
    Specek (-2) was completely ineffective lastnight. It was never as apparent as during the final EDM goal where Dustin Penner literally had his way with him.
    The Canadiens powerplay moved the puck like magicians last night but were entirely inept when it came to firing shots. Great passing is one thing, but when you have a rookie goalie who hasn’t won a game in the NHL, and a team in front of him who has given up SO MANY PP goals – you shoot the puck. Time after time the Habs passed (literally) up opportunities in favour of back door plays. Every time our powerplay suffers we see the same thing. Our success comes from shots – lots of them, because at some point the law of averages kicks in and the goalie misses one, or we get a rebound. Our love for passing kills valuable time on the PP for the opposition. In our first 6 attempts we had 8 shots. Thats the game story right there.

    Boston Saturday should be crazy. Its another game that could have HUGE impact on where we are in the playoff race going forward. A loss would put us in 8th. A win would preserve our 7th place position and give us a chance (however slim) at 6th.

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    March 12, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Not sure what it is about the habs playing to the level of their competition but the entire team from the goalie outlacked the jump they needed. But this also show us how important the goaltender is to the momentum of the team. Eacg tume we got a lead Halak let in a weak goal, and it is hard to feel good about your accomplishment when it is wiped out by a weak goal. In some ways you have to give the team some credit for rebounding each time they had to in order to stay in the game. Halak reprived himself in the shootout. This team showed again this week that even when they do not have their “A” game going they found a way to win. Now that sound odd when the opposition is the Oilers, but every team is as dangerous and another team this time of year. In fact many times we would be better off playing a playoff opponent and an non playoff team. These guys are playing for their jobs, so it is not just a game.

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