Habs Goalie: Halak (L)
Opposition Goalie: Leighton (W)
Habs goalscorers: None
Opposition goalscorers: Giroux (2), Leino
Not much to speak of here, but, for a change, how about a defensive play from Bergeron. After a season of atrocity in his own end he finally made an outstanding play back there - didn't count for anything, but at least he did it. The play, of course, was the dive, swipe and crash that prevented a third (temporarily) Flyer goal. The puck looked certain to be a goal, but with great speed and a well-timed dive MAB gave Habs fans one last bit of hope.
It says a lot when your best centre is supposed to be your fourth best and when he only plays 5 minutes. Glen wasn't great tonight, but for the brief time that we saw him he did play with some life. Maybe he can teach something about face-offs against Philly players to Gomez and Pleks as they were a combined 10/38; Metro was 3/4.
Not as good as he has been, but surely he was plenty good enough. The Habs only managed 17 shots throughout this game as they were looking for cute shots rather than any old shot. It says a lot when a player who is on the ice for less than 1/4 of the game takes close to 30% of your shots (he had 5).
Camms and Pleks were shut down today, but one player that the Flyers let skate around was Andrei. He didn't manage to score that goal that we really need from him, but with 3 decent shots, in a game so bad, I can't simply overlook him. Is it time to let him loose, though, to get him on a line with Sergei? Wouldn't you rather a happy (and potentially dangerous) duo than a coach that has to prove a point?
I can trace each of the first two goals to defensive blunders committed by a total of three players. First there was Gorges who was more concerned with his skate than the play, then there was PK who, although having a bad game, thought that he could breakthrough 4 Flyers and lastly Hammer who decided a rest was more important than covering his rookie partner. Add to that the fact that O'Byrne hardly played (why exactly are we dressing him if he is to play so little?) and Bergeron was, again, horrible and you can see how I got to Gill. Oh ya, he also saved a goal and probably should have got a penalty for it, but didn't - awesome.
Jaroslav Spacek - Game Puck
Jaro was the only defenceman that I thought actually played well today the only one that I wanted to see on the ice. Once again, though, he was not used very much as his partners simply can't be trusted. There must be a way to get Spacek into the game more as I think he has shown, over the past week or so, that he has the potential to be one of our best blue-liners. For me it was his defensive play that stood out again as he did the little things right and avoided any big mistakes.
Nothing to get mad about with Halak as I thought both goals were very high-percentage chances. Saves on one or both of those would have been nice, but shouldn't be expected, not even from Jaro. It is a shame that he getting out-dueled by Leighton, though, as I firmly believe (and I think 30 GMs would concur) that he is the better of the two.
Montreal started the game well, but after about 10 minutes, or so, looked out of it. The second period was a disaster for us and then, by the third, it was too little too late. I feel that if we don't get up early we are an easy team to beat and that was clearly on display again today. Philly didn't even have to take a penalty to stop us until the third, by which time it was over for us anyway. I think that a factor may have been the start time as the Habs never, ever play at 3. Why on earth Montreal has to start their home game, their only Saturday one of the playoffs, at 3pm is beyond me. I get it, NBC want to fit in a game before prime time, thus not sacrificing their precious evening line-up, but honestly, come on. We are, once again, bowing down to people who don't even want to watch hockey anyway. It says a lot that we are catering to fans that would rather watch re-runs of Grey's Anatomy or CSI on a Saturday night than a hockey game. It would be one thing if this was a Philly home game, but there is no good reason why we should all change our routines so the NHL can line their pockets just a bit more. I am convinced that a team that plays often during this TV time-slot (because that is all that hockey is now anyway) is going to have an edge against players who are forced out of their routine for a one off. This game represents just one more example of how much of a joke this league is, how far behind every other major sport we really are.
We aren't dead yet and we certainly have the tools to get it done. Encouraging too is that I believe, with Leighton in nets, Philly has the tools to meltdown too. So, it will be tough, but we all know what can happen with a win on Monday. I think that it has been a great season, but I am all for making it that much greater. It will be interesting to see which of the Habs feel the same way as I do.