Archive for the ‘Pittsburgh Penguins’ Tag
I’ve always liked the Mellon Arena (or Civic Arena, because it still sounds better than a random corporate name). It’s probably the best looking arena in the league, at least in my opinion. I love how unique and old and quirky it is. But tonight, the habs can close it for good. I won’t shed a tear if this ends up being the last game ever played in this venerable building.
The habs already have a miracle game 7 win against a supposedly better team behind them this season. It’s time to do it again. I’ll arrive in Montreal on sunday night, and I’ll spend the next two weeks in Quebec city and Montreal. This means there’s a chance I will directly experience the atmosphere of this crazy place during a conference final series. I don’t want to get my hopes too high because it will take yet another incredible performance to get there. But honestly, I’m really excited about this. No matter what, this has been the longest playoff run I’ve witnessed the Habs play. It’s been a great ride, and I loved every minute of it. But it’s not fucking over yet.
GO HABS GO
GO HABS GO
GO HABS GO
GO HABS GO
I love this album.
I wish I could have posted this picture after a win, but hopefully the Habs will have another chance to close out the Mellon. They need to survive tomorrow.
I hope Gill is not too seriously hurt. He’s been awesome in the playoffs so far. The injuries are really starting to take their toll on the Habs. Contrary to the Pens, where apparently players suffering season ending injuries can come back after missing a game or two. I’m not wishing harm on anyone, and I guess that’s good if Staal isn’t as seriously hurt as announced, but frankly, it is annoying to see their guy coming back so soon after a supoosedly terrible injury when our guy is still out. But anyway, enough whining.
Yesterday I liked what I saw. Of course they lost, and they will face yet another elimination game. But they created chances to score. With a few lucky bounces, this game goes to OT. The habs really need to stay away from the penalty box though. The Pens are making them pay every time something is called, and it’s killing Montreal. That might very well be the ultimate difference in this series. Surprisingly enough, Montreal leads Pittsburgh 7-6 when playing 5 on 5 in this series. But the Pens also scored 7 PP goals, compared to 3 for the Habs.
This is still a close series. Winning two in a row is going to be tough. Pittsburgh has probably more killer instinct than Washington, so this Game 6 is pretty worrying. But the habs still have their chances, and they have shown lots of resilience so far. It’s far from over yet.
Go habs go!
They’re coming, and they’re not happy.
But we have a simple answer:
Boom Shak Halak Ah!
Do the Shack Halak Halak!
No need to tell you how big this game is. Can the habs actually take a lead in this series, or will the Pens regain their home ice advantage? The Habs have been way better on the road than in the Bell Centre so far in these playoffs. Sure they won a crucial game 6 in Montreal. But when they were not directly playing to survive, they were less than impressive in their arena. As always in Montreal, the crowd will be LOUD tonight. And as always, scoring first will be huge. It will put the pressure on Pittsburgh and pump up the crowd even more. I’m not always very comfortable with Martin’s game plan in these playoffs (try to score first, trap to death, rely on Halak, pray for a lucky break and score a killer goal late in the game on a goalie that hasn’t seen the puck in 15 minutes), but it’s been very effective so far, and honestly, I’m not sure the habs can afford to play very differently against teams like Washington or Pittsburgh. But after all the Habs did win Game 2 after allowing the Pens to score first, so there is hope.
To be honest, I really wasn’t expecting much in this series. The habs have a history of playing forgettable 2nd rounds when they pull an upset in round 1. And they face the freaking pens. But Game 2 really gave me some hopes again. This team is not your usual habs team. It’s way too soon to tell if they can actually pull another big upset, but it looks like they won’t be eliminated without fighting.
If they win tonight, those tiny hopes will start to seriously grow.
GO HABS GO!
It was obvious game 1 would be hard. But it hurt more than expected.
Yep, that’s how we feel too, MAB…
Coming off huge game 7 win, having to play the Stanley Cup Champs in their arena with only a day to rest, refocus and travel was obviously not an easy task. It’s not about looking for excuses, it’s about understanding what happened. The Habs were tired (mentally and physically), and they were probably not fully ready to start climbing anoher mountain this soon. But that’s ok. It’s the playoffs. The Habs are a n°8 seed, nothing is supposed to be easy for them in the postseason.
The problem is not being down 1-0 in this series. The problem is losing your franchise defenseman in Game 1. I know the Pens lost Staal, and that is a big blow for them too. But the importance of Markov to the habs cannot be underestimated. If the habs doctors can’t find a way to get Andrei a bionic leg this weekend, Montreal is in big trouble.
Other than the Markov injury and the fatigue, I think 2 things hurt Montreal yesterday. After 7 games against Washington, the Habs had apparently forgotten that taking a penalty can actually result in a goal. The Pens were MUCH more threatening on the PP than the Caps ever were, and Montreal paid the price each time they took a penalty. The Habs also forgot what it was like to face a team actually willing to throw some big bodychecks. Sure, everyone hates Cooke, but his hit on Markov was clean, and it was just an example of the Penguins winning the muscle battle.
Things don’t look very promising after last night. But let’s not slit our wrists already. On days like this, it’s time to bring back the rosy glasses.
Prepare for some unbridled optimism.
Some stuff can give us hope:
-PK Subban is playing better and better. With Markov probably out for a while, Martin will have to rely more on him. The hype surrounding him is probably exaggerated, but he had a terrific season in Hamilton, and he is pumped up to be playing in the nhl. His enthusiasm also has to be communicative in the dressing room.
- The habs were not outmatched on 5 on 5. That’s a big change from the Caps series where the Habs mostly barely survived thanks to their defense, their goaltending and their special teams.
- Montreal scored first once again. That’s one of the main reason they upset Washington: they almost never trailed in that series. If the Habs want to have a chance against Pittsburgh, they have to keep this great habit of scoring first.
- WHalak being the current #1 goalie, Price is a more than reliable backup, and that could hopefully give Jaro some time to rest and refocus a little. I really wouldn’t mind seeing Carey in Game 2, especially if Martin makes it clear it’s not a sanction on Jaro.
- Just like against Washington, no one gives Montreal a chance. This is logical given the situation. But this puts them in a no-one-believed-in-us position again. And with leaders like Gionta and Cammalleri aboard, that’s likely a great source of motivation.
- And finally, it’s just a 1-0 deficit in a 7 games series. Once again, no one expects Montreal to win in 5 games. The longer this goes, the better chance they’ll have of another upset. Game 2 will be hard, but if the Habs somehow win it, everything is possible.
GO HABS GO.
I’m really happy about my habs right now. They keep on playing well in spite of all the injuries and the adversity, and now they’ve just called up David Desharnais from Hamilton. David is yet another small centerman, but he’s playing really hard in Hamilton, and I remember he was pretty impressive during training camp. I’m really happy for him, and I hope he’ll stay for more than just a cup of coffee.
But that’s not good news for everyone. Chipchura played less than 4 minutes yesterday. If I hear anyone else say that Latendresse didn’t get a fair chance in Montreal, I’ll puke. Latendresse got waaaay more chances to prove himself than Chips. It looks less and less likely that Kyle has a future in Montreal. Martin doesn’t seem to trust him at all. He played for a little while, he seemed to look better and better, but then White and Pyatt arrived. Since then, Chips has only played very sparsely. And since Pouliot can play center and Desharnais is now in Montreal too (even if that’s not for long), it looks like Chips is being leapfrogged again in the depth chart.
Speaking about that, Stewie also looks like he won’t be back to Montreal soon. Apparently, while everyone was looking at Lats and Pouliot, Stewie cleared waivers. Which means his “conditioning stint” in Hamilton is now simply a demotion to the AHL.
That’s a lot of roster moves in a few weeks for the habs. White, Pyatt, Pouliot, Wyman, Sergei K and Desharnais in, Latendresse and Stewart out, Leach claimed on waivers, Carle in and out, Laraque suspended, Spacek, Gio, Gomez, D’agostini injured (and apparently, Andrei Kostitsyn is hurt too today), O’Byrne back… It’s getting really difficult to follow.
Chipchura tries to make it through the habs revolving door
Apparently, as I just mentioned, Andrei K is also hurt, and he could miss tonight’s game… Seriously, it’s getting really weird now. This must be a karmic retribution of some sort, although I’m not sure what the habs did to deserve that!
If Andrei is out and replaced by Desharnais, the habs lineup could feature 8 players who have played less than 100 nhl games in their career, including 4 who have played less than 10. Those 8 players (O’Byrne, Chipchura, Pacioretty, Leach, White, Pyatt, Wyman and Desharnais) have combined for 250 NHL games… That’s clearly a perfect time to face Crosby, Malkin and the rest of the Stanley Cup champions on the road.
At the same time, the habs are very surprising these days. I thought they’d lose against Washington and they won. I thought they’d lose against Detroit and they got a point. I thought they’d lose against Columbus, and they won again. Just to be safe, I’m fully expecting a loss tonight against Pittsburgh.
How can you win a game when the opposition has such an intimidating captain?
The most photoshopped man in the History of hockey. By far.
And he deserves it. 3 goals yesterday. Nothing to say about the game, the Pens are the Stanley Cup Champs, the Habs are a .500 team without their only legit All Star player (and I’m not talking about Price). It was pretty clear yesterday.
But let’s not get too depressed. Bad nights like that happen in a 82 games schedule. The habs have shown some character this season, I want to see that on Friday in Chicago.
Here it is. I’m home in Paris, after a fantastic month in Montréal. It was very special for me to be back in this very special place. I spent arguably the best year of my life there, 6 years ago. I made true and durable friendships there. This city, and that year changed me. I’m in love with Montréal, its atmosphere, its two (and many more) languages, its bars, its hockey team, its sounds, its metro, its parks, its streets, and of course its people.
I’m happy because I was able to quench a bit my hockey thirst while I was there. Which is nice, because it completely reconciled me with the habs, after a bad season and a difficult summer. I visited the Bell centre, I watched a preseason game in a bar, and of course, I actually went to a game in person. All of this with EP, which made it even better. By the way, it was the first time I met someone in person because of this blog, and it was awesome!
It’s more than late, but I promised it, so here is a short pictures recap of the game I attended a week ago (already!?), against the Pens. (click the pictures to enlarge them. And sorry about the first picture of the post also showing up in the photo gallery, let’s just blame wordpress for this, instead of my own ineptitude)
The view from our seats
There is still a little room for more banners
During the anthems
Carey gets ready
McCreary’s famous moustache can be seen from the very last rows…
The good guys
Habs score, the place goes nuts
At the end of the game, EP and I were pretty happy
à bientôt Montréal!
3 – 1
And yet, Pittsburgh gets the cup.
Congrats to the Penguins. They are the new rulers of the league.
All hail the Penguin!
Uh oh, it looks like the Octopus is giving the Penguins a hard time