Saturday, May 22, 2010

Flyers vs. Habs Game Four: Clawback

Notes on the third:

-I think if they lose this game, it might be time for the Habs to take their bow for the crowd. They've got nothing to be ashamed of this spring.

-It would be easier to score goals if anybody could actually complete a pass. It's amazing that they just can't connect on a simple pass.

-Flyers are doing a great job at getting their sticks in front of Habs' shots.

-Delay of game is the worst penalty in hockey, but if that's the only one the Habs can draw, I'll take it.

-I'm glad the fans aren't booing at least. That would be hard to take right now.

-I can't take the shutouts. Leighton is getting way too much credit. The Habs are handing him glory on a gold-plated, shutout platter. This is horrible.

-It's all on Martin, for not wearing the lucky tie.

-I wanted them to go down swinging. They went down with a bad case of impotence instead.

-Sigh. Curse. Sigh. Curse. Sigh. Curse...

-I take comfort from the fact that the Flyers will be destroyed by the Hawks in the Finals anyway.

Notes on the second:

-Damn fine goal by Giroux. Gill and Gorges just got outraced.

-This smells suspiciously like Game Two. Lots of forechecking by the Flyers and nobody in red driving the net. I don't know if thye're tired, but the Habs are second to every loose puck.

-Well, you knew the rookie would get burned sooner or later. Subban's gonna be great, but he's going to have some very painful growing pains.

-It'd be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the Habs to get a shot on goal. Seriously. ONE shot in twenty minutes? That's brutal.

-I'm afraid the Habs are out of miracles.

Notes on the first:

-Well, if the Habs win this one, they'll be beating the best the Flyers have to throw at them and they'll deserve it.

-Oh no! Jacques the Knife isn't wearing the lucky tie. Gulp.

-Lapierre enjoys watching the pre-game show on the big screen. I hope he likes being the hero as much.

-Easy for Laperierre to play dirty when he's wearing the full cage like that.

-Canadiens are looking a bit too hard for the perfect play, I think. They need to stop thinking about prom-queen goals and go for the raunchy stripper ones.

-It always amazes me that a little guy like Pyatt can win the puck off the boards as consistently as he does, while some huge guys can't do it.

-Pleky's looking for the giant python that took a chunk out of him sometime during the Caps series.

-Hal Gill giveth, and Hal Gill taketh away. The man is a human retaining wall.

-Nice period. First goal is going to carry immense significance.


NorCalVol said...

The penalty against MAB really shifted the momentum that the Habs didn't retain until very late in the first period.
Great pressure put on by the Habs again, but I think we're a bit lucky to have a clean sheet at this point.
A great first period, but I'm so damned nervous watching this...

Anonymous said...

Damn MAB !!!

Once again we will loose a game

NorCalVol said...

Too many giveways plus too many Flyer rushes with numbers equals a big building having the air pricked out of it.
A goal is the only way to reinject the lost air - but how are we gong to do that while being dominated?
At this point, it's going to take perseverance and a good dose or two of good luck.
A broken skate strap is just bad luck...

NorCalVol said...

The Habs had their chances in the 3rd - a delay of game flip was the luck we needed to get jump-started - but the two PPs were so inept (credit has to go to Philly on their defense)...
Very little in the way of second chances...
Three losses in this series by a total score of 12-0.
That's so hard to take.
But, as hard as it is to even think of saying, the Flyers looked like a champion today - their defense today was as tough as we've seen.
The Habs have played their best in the playoffs with their backs to the wall, but it feels like their backs are now cemented into the wall.

NorCalVol said...

P.S., we better see that lucky tie on Monday...

Paul B. said...

The main problem is not the inability of the forwards to complete passes. No Habs D's except MAB (sorry to all the bashers) can make a decent pass to a forward, with Markov gone.

We have to give some credit to the Flyers who with a third rate goalie have managed to prevent goals in three of the four games.

I understand our favorite octopus (Gill) is very useful when we're a man short but him and Turle O'Byrne are way too slow to compete in this league.

Kyle Roussel said...

I don't even know if we need to write post-game reviews.

At this point we can look squarely at the top-6 forwards that haven't done anything. CBC had a stat which showed that Gomez, Kostitsyn, and Plekanec had gone 42 combined games (now 45) without a goal.

I don't know if the Habs have any magic left, but I'm very disappointed that the Habs can almost completely ruin a glorious long weekend by completing their swan dive on Monday.

We've seen them come back, and they may do it again, but dear lord, does it have to be this hard? After 53 minutes of hockey, the Habs had not cracked 10 shots on goal. I don't care what excuses are trotted out there...that's not acceptable with the season virtually on the line.
When you've been shutout in 3 games in 1 series, you don't have to look much further than that. I don't give a hoot what they're doing well aside from scoring (winning faceoffs is not one of those things), they're on the top lines to generate offense and they aren't doing it, and haven't been doing it for a while.

Cammalleri, Gionta and Halak have made all the difference, with strong support from Gill, Gorges, and Moore.

If Tom Pyatt has more goals in his last 5 games than Gomez, Plekanec and AK46 have in their last 45 combined, that indicates trouble on the horizon.

Rock on the Rock said...

Ain't over yet.

Habs fan 23 said...

It was a disappointing loss to be sure but I'm not disappointed in this team. No one even expected them to make it to the playoffs let alone the Conference finals.
They may be hanging on a thread but they still have a chance and until that last buzzer sounds to signal the end, I won't give up on them.
I'm also glad they didn't salute their fans today that would have signified that they'd given up and were certain they'd not return to the Bell Centre this season.
And I agree JM had better wear his lucky tie on Monday night.

Anvilcloud said...

It appears that I picked a good time to enjoy a beautiful May day away from the tv.

Anonymous said...

Shutouts are a team stat. It's not Leighton. Boucher or Emery would have three shutouts with this Flyer team in front of them. The Hawks will light him up big time.

Anonymous said...

I wish all the MAB bashers would stop. How about that awesome save he did on an empty net???

And Gorges? BUCKLE YOUR SKATE BEFORE YOU HIT THE ICE!! MOMMY ISN'T THERE ANYMORE! I blame the game on him. He could have beat Giroux had he fixed the strap. Jeez...

MathMan said...

The better coach is handily winning this series.

Not that the Flyers are doing anything fancy -- take a lead, play the trap -- but it's completely flummoxing the Habs strategically. They literally have no answer to that. They don't have the strategy and they are making zero adjustments.

I think blaming the top six is a false problem. Gionta and Cammy have a lot of goals between them. Yes, the rest of the top six isn't putting it in... In terms of chance generation vs. goals, the Habs are, if anything, ahead of where they should be these playoffs. They are so passive, they just don't generate much.

It just so happens that Cammy and Gionta have been the guys to finish to play. This is a symptom of the real problem -- an inability to generate offense that bothers on unwillingness -- not a failing of Gomez-Pleks-AK-Pouliot. The problem is being misplaced, IMO. Those guys aren't scoring because they're not getting it done; they're not scoring because the Habs' passive approach and inability to deal with the trap prevents them from getting any opportunities, and when those lines get it -- thankfully -- the best sniper on each line takes the shot.

I don't buy that the Flyers are an elite team or that the talent gap between they and Montreal is so great. They don't have more depth because they spread their scorers around more. They're just much better-coached. The Habs are actually a talented club with a bunch of guys who are strong 5-on-5... just not with the Habs. (This is actually a long-running trend; amazing how puck possession stats go down when a guy joins the Habs, then goes back to normal when he leaves.) Basically, the Habs' players are good players that are made to look bad. They were demonstrably better before they joined the Habs, and they didn't catch "the sucks" just by putting on the bleu-blanc-rouge. It's especially sad what Martin has made to Gomez's puck possession metrics.

The Habs' system is this: try to take leads then try to sit on it, hoping the goalie holds on. If any of this doesn't happen, the system breaks down. It's no coincidence that, despite strong starts by the Habs in 4 games, the Flyers have had shutouts whenever they've scored first and gotten pummeled when they give up the first goal. The Habs have the horses; they just keep them leashed.

Enjoy these playoffs, guys. There may very well not be any next year. Halak dragged Martin to the playoffs and then to the ECFs so that's bought the coach some immunity, but the miracle circumstances (superhuman goalie, absurdly weak East) that got an otherwise-talented Habs club into the playoffs are not likely to happen two years in a row.

Anonymous said...

I agree it might be the last we see of them this season, but they can't bow out to the crowd. That would be admitting what we see in their eyes, that they don't believe they can beat the Flyers.

If you could trade Kostitsyn for Hartnell would you? And therein is the answer. Gagne, Richards, Carter, Grioux, are better players. They bring it every game.

Montreal is a couple wingers and a big center away from contending, but gosh they made the season end with a bang rather than the usual whimper. You can't fault them for not being able to beat a team that is playing well and has their eye on the cup.

Hang in there. Maybe the Flyers will get fancy, or do something that stirs the Habs up. They have melted down before. But I don't think so, not this year. Pronger brings more than size to that team.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you JT,
Anyone watching yesterday's game with even a bit of hockey intelligence, would have seen that their showing had nothing to do with a lack of effort. The effort was there but what was very evident was their poor management of the puck from their goal line out.

Time after time, play after play, the defence would gain control in their end and make a good first pass to a winger on the half boards. What transpired next was that the forwards repeatedly failed to make a solid, tape-to-tape second pass from their own half-boards to the neutral zone. The end result was watching the Flyers gobble up that errant 2nd pass and turn it back up ice to start their attack. If any of you have the luxury of video tape or a PVR you'll see exactly what I'm talking about.

The Habs inability to make that clean 2nd pass, killed any forward momentum and made it impossible to get the puck in behind the slow-footed Flyer defence. That lead to further frustration by the defence and caused them to just chip it out off the boards or glass to take the pressure off. That's ok once in a while but when that becomes your defacto break out, then you are in big trouble. Forwards (no matter how skilled) can't be expected to pick up a shoulder high chip pass with any kind of control. That second pass is maybe even more critical than than a good first pass, particularly if they want to be able to back the opposition's defence up and use their vaunted speed. You can't "get it in deep" if you don't have control of it.

It amazes me that million dollar players can't grasp the concept of making passes that go tape-to-tape. At the price they are paid, I don't think its unreasonable to expect them to be able to make passes that aren't 2 feet behind the recipient, in his skates or four feet off the ice. It was really frustrating to witness the number of broken plays and missed opportunities caused by their lack of attention to that one, most fundamental detail. Even the Peewee team I coached this year understood the importance of good passes. I'm sorry but for that kind of money, there's no excuse.

Just sayin...

doug winspear said...

now, I don't want to take any credit away from the Flyers, but we have to remember that the only reason they're playing the Habs is due to a monumental melt-down by the Bruins. Now, if you've been watching the whole season like I have, I noticed that the Habs handled the Bruins pretty well this season...and they played well against Washington and Pittsburg...but, Philly gave them trouble, along with Toronto. Go figure, as Jay Leno would say. And the Bruins almost iced it in four straight...then there was the game seven choke. So, needless to say, I was pretty disappointed when the Bruins threw away the series. They'd had a couple of key injuries, and would have been easy pickings. I think that Montreal would have made for a much more interesting series with Chicago. And yes, I felt that if the Habs didn't go all the way this year, it's going to be a while before they're going to have the chance to go deep into the play-offs. It's too bad the Habs power play fizzled and they had wait for a five on three in the last minute of a game they had in the bag before scoring. But, we have to tip our tuques to the team for giving us some moments of play-off magic.