There is hope for tonight

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No matter how badly you think the Habs are doing right now, there is one tiny bit of hope going into tonights game against the Ottawa Senators. The Sens are worse. And before you start on the fact that Carolina, Toronto, St. Louis, and Philly are all worse than the Habs you can rest assured that the Sens are definitely the worst at 29th place (I'm going to pretend that St. Louis is not sitting in dead last right now because they weren't that bad on Sunday). The Senators have won exactly 6 games and the only thing keeping them from being 30th is that St. Louis has played two less games than them. Did I mention that the Sens haven't won any of their last five games? The Habs have at least won two of their last five which includes blanking the Sens. So there is hope. Actually, I will scream if they lose tonight. At least they're not in the running to get the top draft pick next year! They better win something soon because I doubt very much that they'll beat Detroit later this month.... and Washington is looking good too....waaah.....

Later: More line changing set for tonight. It's like musical chairs... but with lines instead... Or something...According to the Habs Inside/Out the lines are going to be:

Guillaume Latendresse will be reunited with Saku Koivu and Alex Tanguay.
Tomas Plekanec centres Alex Kovalev and Christopher Higgins.
The third line has Robert Lang between Andrei Kostitsyn and Tom Kostopoulos.
The fourth line may be a game time decision, but it shapes up as Steve B├ęgin centring Georges Laraque and Sergei Kostitsyn.
Defence pairings stay the same.
Carey Price is in goal.

Go <here> to see the article. Well, this should be interesting to see. I guess it can't hurt too much to change things up. Again. Lets' just hope they feel inspired to win tonight instead of thinking "hey, the Sens are bottom of the league and stink. This should be easy!". Like I said, we shall see. Be back later on this.

Davis Cup Stuff: Draws have been made and David Nalbandian will start against David Ferrer tomorrow. Now, being three hours behind Argentina, the match will start at 10:00 my time which would be okay except for the fact that I will be gone all morning. Yuck. Anyway, this should be fairly easy if Nalbandian comes out all inspired. Ferrer has definitely been struggling since I've been watching him this year, and Nalbandian has displayed some good tennis since the US open. Despite being down 3-6 in career meetings against Ferrer, Nalbandian does have a slight edge when it comes to hard courts winning three of the five times. Also, they haven't played each other in over a year so there isn't any recent stuff to go on.

Following the David match, Juan Martin del Potro will take on Feliciano Lopez. If I hadn't just heard that del Potro has a toe issue and somehow managed to bite his tongue so hard that he was bleeding all over the court the other day, and if I didn't have to worry about him being tired from playing in Shanghai last week, I would say that del Potro should have this one wrapped up. The tongue thing we can live with. Just stop the bleeding, give the guy a pile of pain killers and get him back on the court. You don't need your tongue to play tennis. The toe thing is a little more worrisome in that you sort of need it to play. And being tired... well, there's such a thing called adrenaline. But anyway... in their three meetings, all on hard courts, del Potro has beaten Lopez twice and lost their most recent encounter at Miami. Now, that was before del Potro went on his winning spree and I'm certain that he is a better player now than he was in Miami. This one should be interesting for sure.

I think if all goes according to what it should on paper, then Nalbandian and del Potro will win. Saturday will be the semi boring doubles match thing with Acasuso/Calleri (ARG) vs Lopez/Verdasco (ESP). I'm going to predict a victory for Spain but I actually don't know much about the teams... I think Lopez/Verdasco lost to one of the Bryan twins/Mardy Fish in the semis of the Davis Cup but they actually didn't do terribly considering it was one of the Bryan twins...Anyway... it should be very interestng to see how this all goes.

LATER! Habs wiiiiiiiin!

And I can officially say that tonight's game was a lot better than anything I've seen since they last beat the Sens last week. Okay so they went to shootouts and there was still a little issue of turning over the puck quite a bit. But the Sens were not playing like a team ranked 29th in the league.

They were playing a lot better. Guess they were motivated to not get blankd. They opened up the scoring in the 4th or 5th minute of the game after Montreal got off to a good start. Lots of bad thoughts were being sent telepathically towards the Sens. How dare you score Heatley! Sens dominate. What happened to the Habs being good? Lots of wailing. More wailing when a shot goes through Prices legs and skids along the line. A later review states that it was a not a goal. Thank the hockey gods! Ten mins later: what's this? a boarding call for the Sens? okay, we'll take that. Now we have a chance to score. C'mon. Koivu gets the puck. Lang is in front of Auld. Koivu scores by himself anyway and Lang gets pushed into the net. Do we get two points now? We put the puck and a player in the net. Anyway, time for celebrating! Habs end first period outshooting the Sens 8-4.

Price had some more wonderful saves in the second. I get a scare when the Sens appeared to have scored at the end the second. After much celebrating the refs then burst their bubble and said that they didn't get a goal because Montreal got called for a penalty and the puck got touched by a Hab before it went past Price. Lots of cheering. Yes, cheering. There was booing too, but the billion Habs fans that flooded the arena drowned them all out. Anyway, instead of a goal the Sens got a nice powerplay which they blew completely. I've never been so happy to see Montreal get a penalty before. "Would you rather a goal or a powerplay, Ottawa? Goal? Well, too bad, you get a powerplay. Have fun!"

Onto the third period. The third went sort of like the first. Sens got a weird a goal early on. I don't know what happened exactly. Price seemed to have it but apparently he let it go before being slammed into the net by a Sen. The puck went sliding into the net and was called a goal. I guess the ref was feeling bad that the Sens didn't get the last goal. It was definitely bash Price night again. I promptly ran around the room, trying not to freak out completely. I mean, hadnt we seen this before? Habs get goal. Habs get outshot. Habs get outscored. Habs lose. But Markov decided that that was not going to happen. Right when I was saying that the Habs needed a goal, WHAM! Markov scores after his initial attempt hit a Sens stick. He grabbed the rebound and shot it. Sens went flying and Auld seemed like he would stop it, but it was a futile task. Markov saves the Habs! The dude who is the most underappreciated guy in the entire NHL just saved us.

To OT we go! OT was freaky because the Habs had to kill off part of a penalty left over from regulation by Latendresse. Apparently he whacked someone in the face with his stick. Oops. Anyway, Sens outshoot Habs 4-1 in five mins but no goal scoring for them. Haha!

On to shootouts! Very scary but we all know that Price is good in shootouts so we cross our fingers and wait. First up is Spezza. I can only like Spezza when he plays for Team Canada and even then, he's not my favorite Canadian around. Sorry dude. Anyway, Spezza skates towards Price. Price moves. Price is too slow and Spezza shoots the puck over his left shoulder. Goal! NO! Lots of screaming and cursing. Never ever, will I cheer for Spezza!* Next up Kovalev who saved the Habs against the Blues on Sunday. I thought Kovalev was bad in shootouts though? More eye covering. Eyes open just in time to see Kovalev hit the post. No score. More screaming. Ottawa sends out Alfredsson. I thought he was supposed to be bad at this too? Proof is soon offered up as the Sens captain gives it right to Price. No goal. HAHA! Alright, Habs have a chance now. Send out Tanguay! ...hello? That's not Tanguay. That's Markov. Can he even score in shootouts? Hello? Carbo, what are you doing? Can't watch.... can't watch.... OMG! Markov scores! Markov keeps the Habs alive in the shootouts! Dude, we love you right now! Ruutu's up next for the Sens. Boo, we don't like Ruutu for hitting Lapierre upside the head last game. Ruutu skates forward, he moves to Price's left. He shoots. Surely Price can't stop that? No need to stop it. Ruutu put it right in his glove and Price goes flying backwards. I can see the headlines now "Flying Price stops Sens". HAHA! Okay, Koivu comes on the ice. Time to finish the game. Or not. Auld stops it. BOOOOOO! Another round of shootouts. Ottawa is starting. OH NO! Vermette starts for the Sens. I freak out and peer through my fingers as he skates forward and....... he misses completely. OH YES! More cheering. Now it's Tanguay's term. For real this time. C'mon dude, we're counting on you! And Tanguay puts it away. Not sure how. It looked like it went right through Auld but unless Auld is a ghost then that is impossible. Anyway, whatever, doesn't matter in the least. HABS WIN! I can rest easily tonight safe with the knowledge that the Habs prove that they are better than the Sens.

The first thing I noticed was they actually worked hard tonight. Even if the puck ended up in their end a lot, they worked to keep it out, they worked hard to try to score - even if there were some bad turnovers. Habs working = better outcome. Yes, they could have perhaps worked a bit harder to keep it more in the Sens' zone but the Sens were definitely not playing like a team who was at the bottom of the league. They were playing much harder. They were energetic and were definitely looking to avenge that defeat last week. So instead of saying the Habs stink for going to shootouts against a bad team, we need to give credit to the Sens for not playing like a bad team and more like their former better selves. Their coach should be happy. Speaking of happy, you should have seen Carbo when they won. He looked like Federer after beating Andreev in the fourth round of the US Open. yes, everything comes back to Federer. Anyway, the second thing that I noticed was that the Habs didn't get too many penalties. They had 7 to Ottawa's 3 with most of both team's penalties coming in the second period. Less time in the penalty box = more time spent trying to score. The Habs did catch a few lucky breaks though when some of the Sens shots either just hugged the line or hit the post. The Sens seemed to be having a lot of trouble finding the net. Not my problem though. The Habs had a lot of other good opportunities to score. All in all, I think the Habs can be happy with this win tonight. They played hard, they tried a lot harder, and they definitely reduced the amount of stupid penalties (I'm totally not going to complain about Kovalev's tripping penalty. It saved us!)Beating Ottawa any way is always nice ^___^ now we just need for find a way to beat a very good Boston....

*any words spoken or thoughts expressed during a shootout cannot be held against me at a later period in time

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