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Game 81: Habs/Hurricanes

  • Its understandable that in the Habs universe you take nothing for granted. For all that we’ve been through in the past 24 months, it is entirely predictable that we should feel uneasy as to what the outcome of the next 2-9 games will be. All week I’ve been reading from bloggers, posters and journalists alike: It is still possible that the Habs don’t make the playoffs. The scenario exists, however improbable, that the 2009/10 Canadiens will not be in the post-season. For those willing to be a little bold it is still a difficult task to muster the courage to verbalize what might happen once we get to the playoffs. As I said, we’ve earned the right to apprehension.

    24 Months ago, the Habs ended a Cinderella regular season in which they clinched the Conference title, only to nearly lose in the playoffs against the Bruins whom they had beaten 8 straight times that year, and eventually falter to the Flyers.  12 Months ago the Habs backed into the last playoff spot only to be swept by the Bruins in the first round. It was enough tumult to make those riding the SS Canadiens seasick.

    Now, After 24 months of elating highs and dark lows, it is difficult to put your blind faith in the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge.  There are very few shouting “this is our year!” from the tops of Montreal rooftops. There are probably more ready to jump. That said, Montreal has the opportunity to eliminate the impact of a terrifying deja-vu rendezvous with those Laffs who seem bent on screwing us, even if it only means losing to every single playoff rival we have during the final 5 games of their season. There isn’t a Habs fan out there that wants to see ANY of our valuable assets out against the Leafs in a do-or-die final game of the regular season.

    The game tonight is yet another opportunity for the Canadiens to seize the playoffs for themselves, as well as ensure they have a chance at being ranked in 6th place which could come in handy should miracles happen in the first round and the Habs eventually run into a lower ranked opponent in the post season. A win in regulation will do it. A loss in over-time is not preferable, but will also do it. A loss in regulation allows for the nightmare scenario to continue.

    I’m cheering for a win tonight (as always). If for nothing else than piece of mind over the weekend. Go Habs Go!!!

  1. #1 Senet1 says:
    April 8, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Although I agree that we are not out of the woods just yet, the most important thing to do first is to get into the playoff. But lets say we do get into the playoffs. What is the next important thing. Well we would all like to see our habs win a round or two, but the most important part of this process is getting experience for our players and in particular our goalies and young defenceman. Because win or lose the most important thing to do is get prepared to win when we are ready to win it all.

  2. #2 Mats Naslund says:
    April 9, 2010 at 9:48 am

    When I woke up this morning, my first thoughts were “f@cking habs…”. Last night sucked. The team was terrible. The funny thing is, I still question the coach’s decision to bench Pouliot, SK74, and O’B from the second period on. What do you gain by cutting 3 players from your lineup? The result was that by the time the Habs needed a big PK for a push in the third period, the only live legs left on the bench were “learning a lesson” in game 81 of the regular season with the playoffs on the line. I haven’t been among those who have dumped on Martin this season, because I do think he brings intangibles to the position that Carbo couldn’t.. but the leeway I had been giving is gone. Martin didn’t cause the loss – there is no one to blame for that but the players on the ice. But Martin didn’t give his team its best chance for a win last night.

    The Habs were beat by a team who will probably send 4 of its defensemen back to the AHL once the NHL year is done. They needed to create pressure on those young guys by having a strong forcheck and SMART pinching by the defense. They weren’t able to do so, and I cant even count the amount of stupid turnovers and missed opportunities that were caused by careless dumping and passing. When our game is going well, we are making short passes to guys moving their feet. It causes defensive breakdowns for the other team and allows us puck possession and space. We didn’t see any of that last evening. What we saw was a team struggling to find a way to do the simple things in the game effectively. Thats a bad sign.

    I said a few games ago that it was more important to be playing well going into the playoffs than who they ended up playing once they got there. These things can turn on a dime in the NHL. The Habs are out of 2nd chances. Regardless of what happens between now and Saturday night, the Habs have one shot to get things going right, and to secure a birth in the post-season. The NHL couldn’t have scripted it better. Habs-Leafs in a contest that matters (for us and maybe the Bruins lol).

  3. #3 Jackslat says:
    April 11, 2010 at 12:13 am

    I just hope we dont have to face washington. GO RANGERS! beat Philly PLEASE!!! If we do face New Jersey we will have a pretty good chance. Although they have way more stars like Kovalchuk, Parise, Brodeur, Langenbrunner, Zajac, Elias, and so on down the list…. but we have an outside dark horse chance!

  4. #4 Senet1 says:
    April 11, 2010 at 12:36 am

    Well it is a sad state of affairs when you team does not seem to be in shape by the end of the season, but to me that is what they look like. They do not seem to generate much more than about 10 minutes of good play in most periods especially the third period.

    Tonight in the Leafs game it was the first time I saw them actually skate for most of the game. Halak been on his game it would have been an easy win. However, we take the one point that we needed and move on to the PO. Winning is good but playing in the playoffs is also good because it gives your young players experience that they need to improve. Halak also needs some of that experience but don’t be surprised if he continues to be off his game that Price gets a chance to shine.

  5. #5 Senet1 says:
    April 11, 2010 at 11:53 am

    So what is the state of our team from the Goal out.
    First let me say I am glad we are finished playing these non playoff teams because they gave us more trouble than the playoff contenders, I bet if you look at our record within the conference we had as good a record against the good teams as we did the bad teams.And these non playoff teams play loose whereas you could see the tension in the habs all night last night against the leafs.

    A week ago I would have said we had no trouble in goal but Halak played poorly the lasts three games and as I said earlier I feel he was probably tired and I blame Martin for not starting Price at least once in the last three games to give him a rest. I just hope he did not lose his confidence, because if he has then we have Price who has not played in almost two weeks. So I am concerned about our goaltending.

    Our defence has probably been our weakest link all year, but when we were on that 6 game winning streak our defence played well, so with the playoffs hopefully it will get their attention and they will play better. Having Spacek back will help Hamrlik. Obryne needs this playoffs to help complete his development and hopefully markov will provide that leadership to help him through some tougher situations. Gil and Gorges are also playing a good team and as long as we can get Gil to play defence instead of offense we should be ok.

    Our offense I think showed signs of improvement in the Leafs game and Cammy had a good game although he still did not score, he needs a goal to get the monkey off his back. Pouliot needs to find his touch as well, he also played better against the Leafs so hopefully he is starting to get his act together.
    In the playoffs it is important that we get our third line contributing to our offence because with closer playoff checking their production is important.

    That leaves our special teams. Our PK has stayed pretty strong during our final few games, so I am not too worried about the PK. Our PP showed some signs of breaking out againt in the Leafs games, hopefully that is a positive sign.

    Overall I can see us giving NJ and or Pitts trouble especially if their goaltending continues to struggle and if by chance we play Washington, it will all depend on the controling Ovechkin and how well Theodore plays. I still think they can be had if we get good goaltending.

    That leaves one unknown factor, how will our coaching react to the teams we face???? To be honest, that is one thing I have little confidence in. HOPE I AM WRONG!

    To be realistic if we win two games in the first round that would be a good showing but as a habs fan I have both hope and faith in the team that we will win it all!

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