Friday, 25 November 2011

Game 23: Montreal 1, Philadelphia 3

The Canadiens might have seemed poised for a win against the Flyers this afternoon, seeing as they were missing Chris Pronger, James van Riemsdyk and Jaromir Jagr, but one look at the Glorieux's roster showed that they were going to play short one line, seeing as they had Frédéric St-Denis playing wing on the fourth line, and along with Aaron Palushaj would frame Petteri Nokelainen.

Using a defenceman on the wing has been a frequent practice lately in Montreal, with Marc Streit, Marc-André Bergeron and Yannick Weber being stashed on the fourth line so they could be available for the powerplay. Plugging Mr. St-Denis there however is incontrovertible evidence of the lack of depth of our club. He doesn't bring any specialist skills to our lineup, but our organization is so devoid of NHL-ready players that he was used to ineffectively plug a roster hole. Meanwhile, at the start of the game, RDS of course focused on Maxime Talbot, who was acquired as a free agent this summer by the Flyers, for a relatively affordable contract, especially considering he is only 27. Which made it even more clear that Ian Pulver, who stated that his client Scott Gomez's contract was not hindering the Canadiens, is full, just chock full to the point of bursting at the seams full of shit.

The game itself began on a lethargic note, with both teams seemingly intent to prove the point that former players made during RDS' pregame show, which is that they didn't like afternoon games, since they disrupted their routine and were hard to get ready and motivated for. As it unfolded, the ice progressively tilted in the Flyers' favour, as their superior talent became more and more evident. Carey Price's excellent performance was not enough to neutralize the Flyers' edge, and our methodical penalty kill was neutered by our impotent powerplay. For the Canadiens to beat the Flyers in Philly, they needed to be inspired and to fly up the ice, but instead they were disappointingly anemic.

Alexei Emelin has by now I believe proven his worth, and does not need me to continue to advocate for him, Mr. Martin has obviously read my posts and taken them to heart. More importantly, he has allowed himself to be convinced by Alexei's play, as he continues to hit hard and block shots, and his offensive creativity slowly emerges while his confidence and playing time increases.

P.K. Subban is still trying to find his bearings. He was hooked today, and again, infuriatingly, stopped playing, swiveled his head to the referee and did his palms-up shrug, to no avail as he didn't get the call. In sharp contrast, David Desharnais was hooked in the second period but skated through it and continued to fight for the puck in the offensive zone. His focus and determination earned the Canadiens a whistle and a man advantage, whereas P.K.'s jeremiads increasingly convince the zebras to look the other way. Mr. Ladouceur, please, hold the intervention. Sit him down and show him the video, he's a smart boy, it'll sink in. Tell him about Ryan Kesler who decided to shut up and just play hard last season, and was rewarded with a career-high 41 goals, an All-Star Game appearance and the Selke Trophy.

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