The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Montreal 1-3 Tampa Bay: An Ode to Complacency

There’s a funny little show on the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim block called Metalocalypse. The Scandinavian guitar player would describe anything he doesn’t like as being “dildos”. My friends, this game was fucking dildos squared.

I suppose when trying to look objectively, this was the sort of banana-peel game tailor-made for a complacent performance – at the end of an epically-long and successful homestand against an opponent riding a nine-game losing streak. Still, these are points that a good team picks up along the course of the season. Seriously, how often do the Red Wings lose games like this? How many times do you think the Sharks are going to entertain a bottom-feeder like this and play 6 minutes of competent hockey? The answer is rarely or never, which is why they are legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, and we I fear are not.

Despite the return of Sergei Kostitsyn, Ryan O’Byrne and Guiallme Latendresse to the lineup, things still looked good in the beginning. In the opposing net stood Olaf Kolzig, sporting a hilariously-bad 4+ GAA and a save percentage in the .880s somewhere. Jaroslav Halak got the start for us again, as Carey Price was out with the flu.

The first 6 minutes saw our boys play like gods. Francis Bouillon won a fight against a much bigger guy, the energy line had a wonderful shift (highlighted by Maxim Lapierre’s dazzling rush right up the gut of the Tampa defense), and the other lines also won every physical battle. The Lightning were DREADFUL. Immediately after the Bolts took a penalty, Alex Kovalev found Patrice Brisebois on the point. His soft wrist shot eluded Kolzig through the five-hole, and at that moment I would have bet money on a 5-0 or 5-1 finish.

Alas, the team fell victim to one of the worst momentum-killers in all of hockey – having your goalie give up a bad goal directly after the opposition had gifted you one. It’s too bad, because the note I had written in my pad right before the goal reads: “Halak ROBS Lecavalier! His glove hand is amazing.” Sure enough, a Martin St. Louis slapper from the far side of the faceoff circle hit the heel of Jaro’s glove, and trickled through his legs. Dammit, dammit, sonofabitch. I don’t want to give off the impression that I’m picking on the goalie, though. Andrei Markov was 1-on-1 with St. Louis and stood too far off of him. But, in his defense, he had to come over to help because O’Liability was caught up ice in no-man’s land. No, really, take a second to recover from the fucking shock.

After the goal, the rest of the game played out in the inverse of the first 6 minutes. Now, it was the Canadiens who rotated poorly on defense, were second to most loose pucks, who couldn’t find good scoring chances. Now, it was the Lightning who were playing with urgency, who were fighting for every 50-50 opportunity. Sure enough, a wacky deflection went through Halak’s legs, and rebounded off to the side. Lecavalier was right there for the tap-in, and the Habs were a dead team walking the rest of the way.

It could have been different in the beginning of the second. On the PP, Tomas Plekanec was on the side of the net, and he tried to feed a wide-open Lats on the back post. The pass sailed well out of Gui’s reach, and that was that. Pleks is AWFUL right now, and if I were Carbo, I’d consider giving him a game in the press box. He rebounded to have a good shift the next time, but right now is he giving us anything Kyle Chipchura wouldn’t? It’s something to ponder, anyway.

Any hope of a comeback was in practice dashed while we were on a PP. It’s one thing to have it be ineffective, it’s quite another to concede a back-breaking shorthanded goal on it. A clear from the sideboards took a bit of a wacky deflection, but it was right up the middle of the ice and NO ONE picked up St. Louis. Markov and Breeze were a pair of statues on the point, and sure enough, the prick made no mistake and beat Jaro with one hell of a snap shot. Game over.

The third period played out and we had some half-chances, but we weren’t in any real danger of scoring until Markov hit the post late. Kolzig was pretty good, but the announcers exaggerated his performance – then again, when your GAA is north of 4, I suppose just doing your job competently is cause for celebration.

Meanwhile, Kovy continued his frigid run of form, and the frustration is obviously getting to him. He wasted a breakaway chance by shovelling the puck weakly into Kolzig’s breadbasket, then took a tremendously awful o-zone penalty with just 3:42 left. I have a feeling the floodgates are going to open soon, and hopefully that’s not just wishful thinking.

Anyway, I’m done talking about this game. Dildos, dildos, dildos…I’m talking one so big you can harpoon a great white with it.

DO BETTER NEXT TIME.

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December 11, 2008 - Posted by | Montreal Canadiens

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