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Game #37 Thu, 19 Dec 2013 Canadiens @ Blues 8:00 PM RDS


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CANADIENS (21-12-3) vs. BLUES (22-7-4)
Against the Coyotes, the Habs powerplay bailed the team out, as the Canadiens scored three unanswered goals in the third period for an important home win against on Tuesday. Now, the team is in St. Louis and hope to continue their resurgence against the Blues on Thursday night.
Carey Price was the early hero against the Coyotes, saving 14 of 15 shots faced in the first period, as the Canadiens were heavily out-played by the visiting team. Meanwhile, the Habs, despite two early breakaways, could do no better than four shots on Mike Smith. Mikkel Boedker put Phoenix in the lead by driving hard to the net in the middle of the frame.
The turning point of the game appeared to have been a perfect four-minute penalty kill by the Habs in the second period. Following the successful kill, Michel Therrien’s players regrouped, began making smart lateral plays which had been their signature most of last season, and generated a large number of odd-man rushes which left Phoenix defenders scrambling. The true breakthrough came on the man advantage, when Andrei Markov beat Smith between the legs with an accurate slapper two minutes into the third period. Max Pacioretty put the Habs up for good ten minutes later on another powerplay, and iced the victory with an empty net goal as time expired.
On the same night, the Blues went up against the high-powered San Jose Sharks and dropped a 4-2 home decision. Joe Pavelski, Matt Irwin and Brent Burns put the visiting team up by three, and oft-injured Martin Havlat closed out the win with his third of the season. Lighting the lamp for the Blues were defensemen Kevin Shattenkirk and Jay Bouwmeester. Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves on 27 shots.
Despite going scoreless in his last game, Alex Steen is still producing goals at a breakneck pace. The left-winger has 22 goals in 33 games, and is two shy of equalling his career high, realized over 68 games in 2009-10. On defense, the Blue has two of the more dependable two-way blueliners across the league in Alex Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester. The elite defensive brigade also includes offensively-inclined Kevin Shattenkirk and shutdown specialist Barret Jackman. They’ll be backed up by goaltenders Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. Halak has made the large share of starts this year, but Elliott has a lower goals-against-average and a higher saves percentage through 12 games.
Absent for the Blues are captain David Backes, who is out for a week with an upper-body injury, Jordan Leopold and Ryan Reaves. Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka are also injured, though they are day-to-day.
As for the Canadiens, George Parros is the only player out with injury, Rene Bourque having made a successful return to action on Tuesday against the Coyotes.
Thursday’s game will be the second of two matchups between Montreal and St. Louis in 2013-14. On November 9, 2013, the Blues visited the Bell Centre and came away with a 3-2 shootout win. T.J. Oshie was the lone scorer in the shootout. The Habs will be shooting for a first win in the Gateway City since November 2008.
Puck drop is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EST.








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They're goaltending is average at best. No offence to Halak, but even with that defense, he has a .908 save percentage.

Their defense and offense is another story though.

Price is way better than Halak and he'll have to play way better if we wanna win.

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At least White can kill penalties, while Briere, well,, what can he do?

I, for one, think he can center Desharnais's line better than Desharnais. But the organization already made its choice in that regard. It irritates me that they seem to want to drag DD to success at all costs, but refuse to put Briere in a position to succeed for any meaningful amount of time.

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I, for one, think he can center Desharnais's line better than Desharnais. But the organization already made its choice in that regard. It irritates me that they seem to want to drag DD to success at all costs, but refuse to put Briere in a position to succeed for any meaningful amount of time.

I agree, the little he has played I can see he's playing nervous, but he's also used his experience to make things happen the odd time he has produced. Even at his age with his nervousness, I think he's a better centre than DD. For some reason DD's getting a lot of love from the coaching staff.

Whenever i see a player who's getting preferential treatment, I always wonder how much of that is from the coaching staff or if the word is coming from higher up. MB looked pretty bad to start the season when DD was not producing. Wasn't DD's extension one of the first for MB since taking over?

He's going to want to give DD every opportunity to succeed so he can salvage some of his credibility. He was siting in his office with egg on his face at the 20 game mark.

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Whenever i see a player who's getting preferential treatment, I always wonder how much of that is from the coaching staff or if the word is coming from higher up. MB looked pretty bad to start the season when DD was not producing. Wasn't DD's extension one of the first for MB since taking over?

He's going to want to give DD every opportunity to succeed so he can salvage some of his credibility. He was siting in his office with egg on his face at the 20 game mark.

But every bit of salvaging DD that's happened is at the expense of Briere, which was his big UFA signing this summer. MB looks bad either way, unless both of them are playing well, which hasn't happened. This whole situation is just a mess. I mean, we're not at Toronto or Winnipeg levels yet, but this whole thing is just....ugh.

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I agree, the little he has played I can see he's playing nervous, but he's also used his experience to make things happen the odd time he has produced. Even at his age with his nervousness, I think he's a better centre than DD. For some reason DD's getting a lot of love from the coaching staff.

Whenever i see a player who's getting preferential treatment, I always wonder how much of that is from the coaching staff or if the word is coming from higher up. MB looked pretty bad to start the season when DD was not producing. Wasn't DD's extension one of the first for MB since taking over?

He's going to want to give DD every opportunity to succeed so he can salvage some of his credibility. He was siting in his office with egg on his face at the 20 game mark.

Hope he gets a little love at home as well. Cause no matter how well he plays he gets none on here.

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To get back to the topic.

Ryan White will take Brière’s spot on the fourth line with Michael Bournival and Travis Moen. The other three lines should look like this:

Pacioretty – Desharnais – Gallagher
Galchenyuk – Plekanec – Gionta
Bourque – Eller – Prust

Therrien also confirmed that Carey Price will start in goal for the Canadiens. Former Hab Jaroslav Halak will be in goal for the Blues.

Price has a 16-10-2 record with two shutouts, a 1.96 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage. Halak has a 16-6-2 record with two shutouts, a 2.35 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage.

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If those are the lines tonight, I'll again question why we continue to play Prust on an offensively-capable trio while Bournival languishes on the 4th line. It seems to me to make more sense to put your offensively-creative players together and your grinders on your 4th line:

Bournival-Eller-Bourque

Prust-White-Moen

No?

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If those are the lines tonight, I'll again question why we continue to play Prust on an offensively-capable trio while Bournival languishes on the 4th line. It seems to me to make more sense to put your offensively-creative players together and your grinders on your 4th line:

Bournival-Eller-Bourque

Prust-White-Moen

No?

Exactly what I thought when I saw the lines. Bourque can play RW so there's no issue and all three are good in their own zone so that shouldn't be a problem either.

If we play tonight like we played the 3rd period against the Coyotes,I think we have a good chance of winning, especially since the Blues have been struggling recently.

Easier said than done though.

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Habs have the 2nd best road PP, and the best road PK. :)

Quite a stat. Surprising, actually, considering how anemic our PP can look at times. And the best road PK? Hmmm....maybe being non-aggressive and spending the entire 2:00 in our D zone is good after all?

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I still firmly believe that last season's success was not unsustainable, and that the team is closer to being a #2/#3/#4 seed in the east than a #7/#8/#9. But the preparation, execution, and tactical maneuvering has not been there recently even in wins. Snoozing through the first half of games has cost us points against severely substandard competition—the Florida Panthers, Toronto, Philadelphia, etc. Not playing a proper game up to the ability of the roster has cost us games against teams on our level and better than us. It nearly cost us against Phoenix, and very well could've had Max not turned into a monster and saved the day yet again. We can't afford either of those things against teams like the Blues who are so much better than us.

Can we win this? Absolutely. Will we? I'm really not comfortable saying yes, given how schizophrenic the team has been lately. I'll be watching, though. :)

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