The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Florida 2-5 Montreal: That’s what we want!

There’s a chant used at English soccer games for matches as uncompetitive as this that I think applies here:

“Can we play you every week?
Can we play you, can we play you,
Can we play you every week?”

Man oh man, was Florida dreadful tonight or what? Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take it, but I wish we had actually turned the screw even more and beaten them even more comprehensively. This was a game that maybe could have been won 7-0 or 8-1, but perhaps it’s best that the boys conserved their energies for more taxing opponents. Honestly, the only reason it was even this close was that the Habs kind of let the Panthers back into it on several occasions.

Even when the Canadiens conceded the first goal, I wasn’t super-worried. The Habs started brightly, parking themselves in the Florida zone from the opening whistle. Kosto had the first good chance when he was parked on the back post, but Craig “Even my own family doesn’t know who I am” Anderson absolutely robbed him. Great pass from Lats to get it there, though (foreshadowing!). Not that much later, Lang found Tanguay on the back post, but this time the shooter couldn’t connect. Still, it was obvious already that Florida wasn’t closing down the passing lanes and were vulnerable to the back-door pass. It was only a matter of time.

That’s what made it more frustrating when the Panthers went up 1-0. Frolik came down the side of the ice, and he clearly decided “what the hell, no one is up in support, I’ll just throw it on net”. He did his part in propagating the corresponding cliche, as it caught Price napping and beat him five-hole. Awful, awful goal to concede, and I was admittedly afraid at the time how it would change the momentum of the game.

Our young keeper did fight the puck for a little bit after, but the Panthers were generous enough to give us a 5-on-3 PP in short order. Sure enough, Kovalev’s brilliant pass to Tanguay in the slot went in off a defender’s skate. Kovy ended up getting credit for the goal, which is just desserts after his horrendous luck during that 19-game scoreless streak.

After the goal, the defense did a wonderful job keeping Florida’s shots to no-hopers from the perimeter, and did so pretty much for the rest of the game. Price was good when he had to be, but he didn’t have a wonder save to make for the rest of the game afterward. All in all, it was a strong performance from our blueliners.

The second goal was coming, but not in the first period. Kovy did very well to spring Markov for a glorious chance, but he over-elaborated and the defender bravely dived at his feet. Early in the second period though, the Habs got the goal they deserved. Out of nothing (and short-handed to boot!), Pleks TORCHED Bryan McCabe down the side of the ice. He cut inside, and shot up high against the grain to the short side, beating Anderson over the blocker. What a fucking finish that was…just absolutely brilliant. Keep it going, Tomas! This blogger is rooting for you.

Unfortunately, after a few minutes of nothing-doing hockey, it turned out that Sergei Kostitsyn was in a generous mood. His brain-dead back-pass to no one in particular ended up on the stick of David Booth, and he beat Price before the poor guy knew what happened. Again, what an awful goal to give up.

Right after, Steve Begin fought big ol’ Anthony Stewart. It looked like the mighty mite had won a decision after he took him down, but the penalty-box shot showed a big mouse under his eye. Ugly stuff, but I think it was timely in that it kind of killed any momentum the Panthers had after the goal. Or, it would have if Komisarek hadn’t taken a dumb penalty to gift the Cats a 5-on-3. Luckily, Hammer has rejoined the land of the living, and made a key clearance to kill it off. Well done, Roman.

Remember how I said the goal was coming before? It was again, as the Habs kept threatening. Karlis Skrastins had to scramble to deflect away another open back-post chance on a Habs PP, but while that didn’t pan out, the energy line gave us the lead soon after. Max Lapierre couldn’t beat Anderson on the short side, but took his own rebound, went around the other side of the net, and roofed it over the prone goalie (who took ages to recover from the initial shot). Great goal, clever goal, and fucking hell was it ever an energy-line tally if I’ve ever seen one.

That’s the thing with 3rd or 4th-line goals…they can deflate the opposition entirely, and that was the case here. I don’t remember another serious Florida chance after we went up 3-2.

Actually, we were ALL OVER the Panthers after that. AK46 missed another glorious chance after Kovalev did yeoman work to create it, but Lapierre effectively ended the game early in the third. Lats (who also had a strong game) stole the puck from Nick Boynton at the blueline, and waddled up ice as fast as he could. He came up with a cheeky back-pass to Max, who cut in and beat Anderson over the glove. Awesome, AWESOME goal, and it actually sent old Anderson to the bench in favor of Tomas Vokoun. Stellar.

After that, we missed a few more chances to further humiliate these nimrods in front of what was practically a home crowd. Lats set up Lapierre again, but a defender barely broke it up at the last second. Kovy did great work down the right, but Pleks was robbed by Vokoun. Florida got a little frisky after that, but couldn’t create any chances of note.

Finally, Lapierre got the hat trick his effort deserved. With the net empty, he stole the puck off the stick of a Florida D-man and strolled in to slide it into the unguarded cage. 5-2 was about right, and hopefully the Habs can do just about the same to the fucking Lightning tomorrow night. Match report will be here as always sometime after.

TSBS Three Stars of the Game:

1. Maxim Lapierre
2. Tomas Plekanec
3. Guillaume Latendresse

December 30, 2008 - Posted by | Montreal Canadiens

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