Another One Bites the Dust
The Montreal Canadiens were at home against the Florida Panthers this evening. The result is becoming an all too familiar story for the Habs, who are winless at home in this season from Hades. Over the years, the Habs have found ways to win. This season, they are now finding more and more ways to lose.
The game was featured each team's backup goalies. The Panthers' young prospect and backup to Jose Theodore, Jacob Markstrom, played well and got a couple of quick whistles - including one that was put behind him after the whistle blew.
As for the Canadiens, there seemed to be a lack of communication on a few plays as the defense was not used to playing in front of Peter Budaj. Both the Panthers goals were scored through the five hole on the goaltender. I believe this outing bu Budaj will encourage the coach to play him more often than Auld was played last year - as least I hope so, as Price was way over-used last season.
In the first period, the teams traded power play goals. It was the first power play goal of the season for the Canadiens and was scored by none other than high profile and controversial summer acquisition Eric Cole. Unfortunately, when it was scored it was given to Max Pacioretty so Cole did not receive the ovation from the fans to boost his confidence. Cole was dominant for the first time this season and played on the power play.
The Panthers played well, dominating the smurf line - one put together through the Martini blender I am sure. Gionta with Cammalleri and Plekanec made for a fast line, and there was some chemistry there, BUT they are small and fairly easy to control for the bigger lines. The Panthers played a very disciplined game and capitalized on their chances.
The good news for the Habs is that the effort was there, if not the results. Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and nuclear weapons. The Panthers are not a robust team, not much hitting and there was some end to end action. I expect the Flyers and the Bruins to put up a more physical game than these Panthers. It will not be pretty.
There was an injury to Max Pacioretty near the end of the second period when he fell awkwardly in the corner and he did not return. Hopefully it is not serious enough to keep him out of the lineup and he is back on Wednesday.
Update 11AM Tuesday: By the sound of it, it's a broken wrist. NOT good news for the Habs.
Zombie Jacques was quiet most of the night, although this time he did speak to his hundred coaches behind the bench. During a time out, Cunneyworth was diagramming plays for the players. Usually Perry Pearn is the coach who talks to the media during the game on RDS - tonight it was Cunneyworth. Hopefully Geoff Molson has seen enough as the Habs are now last in the division and have less than a 24% chance to make the playoffs.
The next three games this week are against the Flyers who beat the Leafs tonight and are firing on all cylinders and the two against the Bruins. As Benoit Brunet would say oy-yoy-yoy-yoy-yoy. - Are we done yet?