Montreal Canadiens vs. Atlanta Thrashers
March 1, 2011, by Homme de Sept-Îles
Musings and In-Game Scribbles
My English is as good as yours, I just write these in a stream-of-consciousness mode that I insist excuses me from small things like rules of grammar or general etiquette. Let’s call it conversational English, hopped up on beans. You know what kind of beans (no, Carl Mellesmoen, not the magic ones).
Montreal Canadiens (33-22-7) visit Atlanta Thrashers (26-26-11)
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Game Sixty-Four (score posted following scribbles)
Missed it? Musings capture the game in writing. A written transcript typed during the game, posted and edited about thirty minutes afterward. Based on the RDS French telecast of the Montreal Canadiens game, Musings take about 20 minutes to read. More detailed than an article, fresher than a looping highlight and good with morning coffee. Or late-night chocolate. A unique way to re-experience the game.
click here to expand post (it looks prettier)
Dan O’Halloran is one of the refs. Carey Price and Chris Mason are the goalies.
Most of the seats are empty here.
Cammalleri chases an early puck but turns as he realises he won’t get to it first and bumps the defender.
Montreal Defenceman Paul Mara is dressed tonight after missing last game.
Lines change. Montreal is called for too many players on the ice.
Reseau des Sports play-by-play expert Pierre Houde corrects colour man Benoit Brunet saying that Don Koharski is now retired and in the role of supervisor of officials.
The rugged Travis Moen and valorous Tomas Plekanec are the first kill pairing. Mentor Hal Gill and mentee PK Subban underneath.
Second unit includes captain Brian Gionta and newcomer Brent Sopel. Sopel is very active on the low post. He’s a big presence and is more aggressive down low than most Montreal defenders.
Pass to Evander Kane and a Price save. Held. Some bumping. Mara takes no guff. Kane is the same annoying twit.
Faceoff deep right. Twenty-four seconds in the call. Subban and Gill return. Jeff Halpern and Michael Cammalleri up top.
Thrashers retrieve as the penalty ends.
Two Canadien rushes. Sopel implicates himself. Second effort by David Desharnais takes him to the net and he tries the deke, is stopped but draws a slashing penalty.
Scott Gomez and his buddy Gionta are on the first wave.
Stoppage. Dimmer lighting in this rink. Gomez, Gionta, Plekanec and lanky Max Pacioretty are together. Four forwards along with Wisniewski. A new alignment.
They work the perimeter. Thrashers have an “and-one” look. Mason is tested very low. Passes. The test.
Box and one. Kinda. It’s a formation. Well, not really.
Penalty ends with Subban retrieving. To Cammalleri. Slowed. Gives to Subban. Desharnais at the blue line. It’s all nullified and the Canadiens have to be balanced and sharp to keep things from falling apart.
Thrashers presence, nonetheless. And a shot on Price. Low crab and across with speed. He makes the save and covers the rebound.
Benoit Pouliot with an entry on the left for the visitors. High shot is arm-cradled and held.
Lotta noise for nothing, these car commercials. Buy a car! Cubed. Easily influenced continent, it would seem.
Or is it just humans, in general?
Mason’s save on Gomez was at the goalmouth, a seeming certain score but the snake is bit. Gomez slithers low in good position for the remainder of his shift and a long Gionta lobber ends his shift.
Plekanec line. Halpern and Cammalleri with him.
A shot by Plekanec at the high hash.
Montreal head coach Jacques Martin looks down in quiet horror as Plekanec is called. Interference. Legit.
Husky Dustin Byfuglien quarterbacks the Atlanta attack and then advances looking for a pass in the low slot. It hops up off Gill. Habs clear.
Back in with about forty-eight seconds in the period.
Thrashers buffle about and are unable to do much else. Halpern was sharp.
Price is being asked to safeguard the scoreboard while the team heats up. He makes a save on a torqued effort from the high circle that clears him, the net and the glass. Stoppage.
Mainstream gulag visual stream continues in the meantime.
Faceoff to Price’s left. Won by Lars Eller. Around the end boards, Gill slips it to Subban who sends it semi-long. And Atlanta returns the puck.
Defenceman James Wisniewski starts the team out wearing his wired face-cage. Still recovering from his face injury.
Crowd is nearly frozen and the teams are both searching for an excuse.
Canadiens carry the play but it stays on the perimeters.
Atlanta head coach Craig Ramsay observes and then a puff-balloon cheek exhale of air accompanies a glance up at the scoreclock. The old Sabre is bald and, one hand in pocket, maintains a schoolish demeanour.
Pass along the boards. Puck finds Pacioretty on the blue line. Pauses. Slap-shot. Finds net.
Montreal 1, Atlanta 0
Pacioretty nods to a teammate on the bench. He’s had some success in recent weeks. Will it last?
Canadiens initiate hitting on the following two shifts. Eller carries up the middle. Turns to the boards and backhands a puck to the corner for a line change.
Sudden space sees the Thrashers coast in at nearly flightless, frightful speed. But the shuddering air in wake is all the teams feel. A failed turned corner and carry results in yet another Montreal exit.
But they’re back. Low. Kane. Turning. Making Hamrlik chase left, brake, right, brake, left and around the net. Jam fails. Price holds it. Old man chasing young. And Kane got the better of it.
Reseau’s own Alton Brown; Francois Gagnon tweeted earlier today that injured Montreal defenceman Jaroslav Spacek may be back for the playoffs.
Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov likely will not be.
We resume and Pierre jokes with Benoit regarding surf and Thursday’s game against Florida.
Rob Schremp helps Price earn admiration from Houde on a sudden turn-around shot that the young goaltender stoops. No further shots.
Ninety seconds and the teams exchange hits that echo in the quiet arena in a robust brand that sees an increase in intensity as the period nears closure.
Lines change. Johnny Oduya leaves it for new Thrasher Blake Wheeler. Former bear. Knocked down as he crosses the blue and a turnover.
I smile as I think of a Bruin commenter’s invocations. Wheeler.
Rio’s opening twangs noodle through the audio system as the faceoff is won by Montreal outside the Atlanta blue. Andy Taylor. You know?
Hamrlik is cross-checked following the whistle. Houde hopes the obvious infraction will be called.
Ramsay has a lot of work to do with the Thrashers, says Brunet. Home team led 9-5 on shots.
Montreal 1, Atlanta 0
Francois entertains us with chronicles of the Atlanta bird’s exploits. Their mascot was arrested. Love it.
But it hasn’t been working, says Francois. Team has been doing better but the butts aren’t in the seats.
Montreal 1, Atlanta 0
The penalty was called, indeed. Thrashers. Against La Salle native Anthony Stewart. Useless penalty. In French, it’s inutile and much more evocative.
Four forwards again (one defenceman). Plekanec, Halpern, Cammalleri and Kostitsyn. Each does the work to stay ahead of the Thrashers on puck-bounces along the boards. And Wisniewski closes to the net on the left side and puts one home. Desharnais’ was the last pass.
Montreal 2, Atlanta 0
Pacioretty’s pretending on both forecheck and backcheck duties has resumed. Reaches languorously. Then skates with exaggerated upper body movements and allows the Thrashers to escape. This one doesn’t result in a decent possession. But one man relaxing is enough for bullies to pull men into mud.
Not many bullies on this ice tonight, though.
And now the mild Andrei Kostitsyn is called.
Thrashers have a chance. Pierre doesn’t mention a door opening for the home team.
Halpern haunts Bogosian to the side-boards and forces an errant, weak puck. Gill scoops and clears.
Again, the Thrashers are unable to create. Moen and Plekanec do the best of the remaining work. Penalty ends.
And Price takes a certain goal away. Muzzle shot on his left. Got across with speed we have gotten used to. And have begun taking for granted. On ice, this translates to the confidence to make rushes with risk.
Replay shows Thorburn fail and fail with agony. Price is remarkable in his size and speed.
Tim Stapleton through everyone. But Price. Speed of a forward, quickness of a goalie. The mongoose puck goes high and the cobra hiss is evident. Price bats the rest of the spectacular high-puck moment into the future. Ok, into the end-boards behind him.
Now another save close. Well. That was a quick clumping of quality.
Montreal penalty follows.
Nik Antropov, giant on the left. Open and through. Slow but shoots. And Price saves it as Houde nearly screams.
Antropov is parked on the hash. He’s six foot six and 245 in case you needed a reminder.
Thrashers control. But the perimeter is all that is granted them.
But with five seconds left they do get through. But for Price. One save. Two. Up and out of play. Second shot was off an advanced Byfuglien. He generated the initial shot-rebound sequence. He is verily in truth … a great player.
Penalty ends but the Atlanta momentum continues. Thrashers lead 23-6 on shots exclaims Houde.
Faceoff to Price’s right. Eller wins it.
Kostitsyn bear-pushes a man into the boards and ice. Ba-whoomp. Legal.
Subban delivers a hit. Thrashers lead 14-1 in the period on shots, extrapolates Houde.
Atlanta enters with Red Army ferocity. And Price slashes his body into exclamation, a white flash across his crease. He’s well across and the puck is shot wide. Still down. Bodies mill and blur about. Where is the puck. Where is the coverage. Puck hits something. Doesn’t find the crease. And a stoppage and penalty.
Montreal could easily be behind 4-2.
Tobias Enstrom is called.
Montreal power. Faceoff deep right. Plekanec on the point. Gets it. A pass to Cammalleri. Pass back. Shot.
Plekanec finds Cammalleri, now. One-timer from the hash. Does Plekanec have enough for powerful passing from the blue?
Kostitsyn is called for hooking. Prevented Thorburn from exiting.
Four on four.
Gomez and Gionta. They control. Hamrlik keeps it going. Mason makes a sudden save on a shot-deflection. Wisniewski’s long wrister and Gomez’ tap-down. Held for the faceoff.
Thirty seconds of potential for Atlanta.
They can’t set up. No rushes. Canadiens’ coverage is good. And I wonder how much talent Thrashers have left after the numerous trades in recent days.
Moen with a deep entry and medium shot. Big rebound.
Vectors are long and the goalies are magnet-plugs in their creases, the rubbery ball-peen spheres in grooves, the stars of this period.
Skating is another star.
What spaces. I wonder at the notion of larger NHL arenas. Olympic-sized. More speed. More skating.
Pacioretty, covered with outside space, shoots. Textbook result. This one is wide.
Gomez and Gionta. Gomez tries a long bang-pass to Sopel at the blue from behind Mason’s fort. Gets the puck back in Gretzky space and passes again. Canadiens retain. Thrashers are huffing. Canadiens make it look like a power-play. But a Gomez pass onto Hainsey’s stick ends it.
Thrashers carry it out and moments later play is whistled.
Twenty-four stops by Price so far. Faceoff outside the Atlanta blue.
Plekanec line. Halpern advances prior to the drop, always searching the small advantage. His opposing winger advances with him.
Antropov has 96 points in 133 games with the Thrashers. His DC Comics face is shown briefly.
Wisniewski advances again. Houde’s voice wheedles into an engine exclamation as Wisniewski is taken down and boofs the net out of position. Hainsey. Called.
Plekanec is called for interference.
In a defenceman’s position, he doesn’t have the tricks of a veteran and to stop a rush, pushes a bit too hard.
Four on four. That is one of the disadvantages of using a forward on the point.
Ninety seconds and suddenly the game seems in the balance.
Montreal turning. One shot. They swirl. Hamrlik. Open look. No. More Montreal control. Gionta goes to the net. Slashed in the face. Byfuglien. Brunet says it was an accident. His err bias. Replay shows it probably was an accident.
Cammalleri misses a certain goal on the ensuing four on three. Mason was down and the net was all we and he could see.
Puck bounced, bounced, bounced. Cammalleri got the control but lobbed it over. Atlanta led 16-8 on shots. Total is 25-13 in favour of the home team.
Ryan White is in the lineup, by the way.
Montreal 2, Atlanta 0
Joel says that Tobias Enstrom is more valuable to the Thrashers than Byfuglien. Some tape is run to support this point. Fair enough.
Joel makes some earnest points, pauses and then remembers to give a friendly smile to viewers. And they go to commercial. Fake food is shown. Unless Quebec’s laws, notoriously stricter, have forced St. Hubert to use real food in this commercial. St. Hubert has the best gravy. Better than Swiss Chalet. Or Lum’s.
Yes, Lum’s. Whatever happened to them? Or is it Lums.
There used to be one in Montreal. Maybe more.
There’s some crazy Lightfoot-Gzowski crazy in the crowd. Habs outfit. Looks about fifty-five. Thin. Double-pumping. Full beard.
Montreal 2, Atlanta 0
Twelve bench penalties this season against Montreal. Two tonight.
Thrashers all look ready to go. Except Antropov. He sits as if he’s at a family dinner. The rest are tight, hopeful and viper-eye.
Early call. Dual. Plekanec. And some long-haired dude. Thorburn. Thorburn punched Plekanec for interfering with him. Seems a bit out of proportion. Thorburn is from Sault Ste. Marie. Ah.
There’s a left-over man-advantage.
Kane. In. Across. Backhand. Speed. And quickness. Price makes it across. Puck goes wide. But what deplacement [use Houde’s accent].
Like it or not. Like him or not. He’s fun to watch.
Mason’s mask is offensively ugly. It’s as if the designer was trying on purpose.
Eller has that miffed look on his face again. It’s one of his natural expressions. Faceoff outside Atlanta ice.
Shot in. Shot out. Icing, Atlanta. The new guy touches it and then hands it to an official. Number Fifty-Five. The conscientious Brent Sopel.
White is in alone. One man. Two. Shoulders collide and sticks rise to the air. Puck escapes to the side boards. Thrashers exit.
Subban turns it over behind his net. To the column. Shot. Off a stick. High and out.
Thrashers win it. A shot. Rebound. Lingering, lingering. Shot. Price has the right pad out.
Subban falls in the corner. Slow. Too slow. Finally up. Thrashers effect pressure. Muzzle shot. Another. Price is in place. Subban gets in on the action.
Montreal has been fortunate. Best work and play has been Atlanta’s for most of the evening. Thirty-one shots for Atlanta says Houde as the clock hits fifteen left, or so.
Kane knocked Subban down, we are shown on the replay. Brunet forgives it. Compliments the sullen Atlanta forward. Unsavoury, I might add. Just watch and see. He’s earned it.
Montreal is struggling on defence. Thrashers control. Mara moves in slow motion to the corner. Bad passes and turnovers by Atlanta have saved Montreal to some degree.
People love knocking down Max Pacioretty. Wouldn’t you?
He’s taken down close to Mason and it goes uncalled. His shot is controlled by the Red Deer, Alberta native. Mason’s thirty-four. Time. Time. Oy.
Four Thrashers. Gionta gets back to make it three Habs. A fourth. Habs make a wall.
Deep left faceoff. Plekanec wins it.
In the corner. Bumping. Puck lolls free.
And it’s out. Still in Montreal possession. Blasted in.
Moen water-buffaloes down the left. Two Thrashers prevent him from advancing far but his shot needs a Mason glove.
Eller deep left. Chases it into the corner. Gets support from Kostitsyn. They play well together, these two. Kostitsyn seems to support Eller consistently. Moen is with them. It’s a line that’s been together for four games or so. They’ve had success in all aspects of the game.
Desharnais, White and Pouliot. Pouliot finds an opening. Fires through it. Mason finds it.
Kostitsyn is not hiding in his glove. Watches. Arm across the boards and leaning forward, slouched nearly fully forward, really. Some guys just take time. I’d given up on the kid. Good thing I’m not relevant.
Nine and a half.
Gionta intercepts and burns in. Loses it just as quickly.
Plekanec intercepts. The usual good speed. Two back. They stay with him. Tries his screened shot. The usual save.
Plekanec is not a feared shooter. He has his moments. He’s decent as a shooter. Just doesn’t have the repertoire or the force.
Yes, I’m thinking of Kovalev.
Stoppage after some up and down. Thrashers are losing their nerve.
Desharnais is manhandled by Zach Bogosian. Uncalled. Pouliot immediately finds Bogosian and bashes him around legally. Some of these lines have types of cohesion that I find appealing.
Pacioretty is through. Alone. Tries the top shelf. Misses the net.
Houde says that Pacioretty has to be watched carefully. Brunet says that he’s the fastest Canadien.
On the other end. Antropov scores.
Montreal 2, Atlanta 1
Ok, high shot over Price’s glove. More if I feel like it.
What a waste of Price’s shutout effort.
Some happy guy with an acoustic guitar annoys me. He won’t stop being happy. Ah. It’s a Tim Horton’s commercial. In French. No wonder. My disdain for the falsely anointed franchise deepens.
How can Pacioretty be the fastest guy with that horrendous skating stride? Hey. It’s possible.
Four and a half.
Byfuglien at the point. Shoots. Advances. Canadiens chase. Not enough. Cammalleri is again one of the guilty parties.
Antropov in the corner. Smooth pass for a big athlete. To the crease. No sticks reply.
Bogosian and Hainsey pass back and forth under their blue line. Waiting for personnel.
Eller jams a man deep. Enstrom with a shot. Price has it. Price saw it.
An NBA player couldn’t survive in an NHL slot. All that flopping would just get you penalized, besides. Except Reggie. Maybe he’d get away with it.
Eighty seconds. Kane shoots. Advanced from the hash to the slot. Just wide. Like a shotgun blast. Goalie is out of the net.
Thrashers lose control at the blue. Gionta. Gets to the puck first. Shoots. Scores.
Montreal 3, Atlanta 1
Gomez has kind words for his captain. Gionta is on the bench, out of breath somewhat and mouthguard out. Brunet expresses his fondness for the tough winger and former Devil. Hey, I like him, says the colour man.
Time drains. Ramsay calls a timeout. Martin writes on the pad of paper. His big ring is on.
Ramsay does most of the talking.
About nineteen. Atlanta.
Enstrom. On the right point. Empty net. Pushed out.
One entry. Siren. Price earns his 29th win.
HDS Stars: Carey Price, Tobias Enstrom, Jeff Halpern
RDS Stars: Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, James Wisniewski
And you there, the Flame … Bonne Fete! Don’t say we have bad memories. Or is it ex-Flame.