Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Game #67

Someone Had To Win; Habs Lose To Flickering Flames

Details


Date: 06/03/2012
Opponent: Flames
Location: Calgary

Loss: 4-5

Habs Goalie: Price (L)
Opposition Goalie: Kiprusoff (W)

Habs goalscorers: Plekanec, Pacioretty (2), Eller
Opposition goalscorers: Moss, Iginla (2), Giordano, Glencross



Play of the game

It was one of those games that made a blogger search for beauty. The defence was loose, the goals were scruffy. In the closing few minutes, the Habs actually were in with a chance to tie the game and get some points. With the goalie out, the virtual PP had just turned the puck over when Kaberle actually intercepted at the blueline (a PP rarity), the next move was a departure from the bleedingly obvious plays made all night long, a simple behind the back push in to a place he knew he had reinforcements. It came to nothing, but represented for me a very rare moment of successful innovation and execution.



Dome hockey team


The 6 players we're playing in a no changes, do or die contest in the dome

Forwards

Max Pacioretty
I called the goals scruffy, and they were. His first was not destined to be scored a scoring chance until it trickled in. His second was pushed in by the goalie. Still, there's something magical about the same player being the one to get these goals and many of the nice ones, and lead the team by such a large margin. It's called being a goalscorer. He didn't do as well in many of the other areas, but for the goalscoring, I'll give all that up.

Lars Eller
One gets the idea that if placed with the right sidekick, Eller's plays would lead somewhere. I'm not sure the Habs have a player to supplement him in the next few years, but one must hope they figure something out. Occasionally, even in isolation, his vim pays off. Tonight, he was the most energetic looking for long periods and scored a determined goal for reward.

Tomas Plekanec
The guy is having a trying season. But even so, he'll be among the leaders and better than Grabovski in the long haul. Tonight he shrugged off Rene Bourque's indifference and Louis Leblanc's naivete long enough to show real spark and get a goal of his own too.


Defencemen

Tomas Kaberle - Game Puck
Look, before we get too excited, all the Habs were at times pretty terrible tonight. Kaberle was a mess in his own zone occasionally too (as usual), but remarkably wasn't made to pay too heavily. The thing is, he really is half decent at making a pass. I've observed it's often because he does something simple like pass to open space for someone or pass well to an open player. It's sad that this'll get you a game puck. But it needed to be recognized in this game. Note also that each point Kaberle gets is a boon for the Habs, as his contract looks less and less untradeable by the assist. Gauthier (or whoever) might not wrest much for the Czech QB, but it'll be more than a UFA Spacek could have fetched.

Chris Campoli
I thought the defence as a whole were horrible in this game. Even when they weren't being scored on, they were making a meal of simple play. Campoli was no star, but he did not have an off night by his standards.


Goaltender

Peter Budaj
Poor Carey had little help in this game. The goals were not easy saves. But when it adds up as it did tonight to goals on a fair ratio of the complicated chances and a blatant error for another, we need to draw a line in the sand. He passed beyond what a dome selector could call acceptable. Budaj probably would have lost too, but that's not going to be a saving grace this time.


Comments


How can a game full of goals be painful to watch? I suppose if one's team is down early, down soon after tying and only rarely looking competitive, it colours one's opinion. I think primarily, I found the game to be dull for lack of quality chances created. The Habs scored on 3, if not 4, goalmouth mistakes. When even a team's highlight goals show a team content to take shots from low percentage areas, it's a bad sign.

There were minutes of excitement at the end, but no real anticipation thanks to a season of being conditioned to accept exactly what ended up happening. Our bad team faced another team that has little to take away but points from this game.

I truly look forward to the Habs next game, however. The Grigorenko Cup. It will be interesting to see just how interested each side is in winning versus the primary rival for second in the only standings that remain for each. Which goalies will start? Which new line combinations will be deployed?

Knowing the Habs, they should win in convincing fashion. Perhaps the Oilers with their multitude of frontline riches have no eye for this Russian anyway and will happily take the short-sighted win. As I speak, they are locked in a battle to defeat a team that would provide them points and their most dreaded enemy playoff life. Never know.

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