Game 4 Belated Commentary

My neighbours with the unsecured wireless network didn't come through for me last night, so no posts. Sorry. I did take notes during the game.

1st Period

Nothing to report. I spent the whole period fuming over the Ryder scratch.

Background: In game #3 Streit played poorly on the blueline. For long stretches Montreal used five defensemen. Streit had to be replaced on defence but had to stay in the lineup for the PP. That means a 4th line winger had to be scratched.

My beef is that the winger scratched was not a 4th line player - it was a 2nd/3rd line forward.

Here are the behindthenet numbers, sorted by quality of opposition. Click on the image to see it in readable size.

Tonight, Carbonneau sat the team's top even strength goal scorer in the press box.

He scored more goals per minute of 5 on 5 play than anyone on the team. Taking the season net, Ryder played minutes as tough as any other forward on the club. Corsi of -4. He drew more penalties than he took. He's a RHS, which matters in board battles at your own blue line. He can play a physical game. Now, I don't think I'm a 'Ryder Fan.' The guy will never be the #1 RW on a contender. I just think he's a better option *right now* than the three following players.

On the whole, probably the worst forward this season. He played opponents one or two lines lower than those Ryder played against. Corsi of -13, worst on the team. Wes Walz was -14, realized that he sucked and retired. His GFON/60 suffered a bit from a rotten team shooting% of 6.9, but a lot of that must be due to the fact that he and his linemates were not exactly snipers. He commits twice as many penalties as he draws. This year Dandy looked like a solid vet defenseman who was unjustly and inexplicably converted to a forward. A tough situation for sure, but these are the playoffs. Team first.

Sergei Kostitsyn:
I'll get some heat for this (yes, I'm referring to you Mo). Everyone loves the kid's skills and enthusiasm. It's easy to get sucked in by what he does when he has the puck. He generates offense, but he gives up as much he gets. His Corsi of -9 is better only than Dandy and Lapierre. He played opposition weaker than Dandy's. He's high-event in terms of penalties, too, drawing a lot but taking even more. Most damning are the two rightmost columns. They are responsible for everyone's great opinion of SKost. He's led a charmed life in his brief time in Montreal. He and his mates have put up a 14% shooting rate when he's on the ice - best on the team and unsustainably high. That is luck. He's also benefitted from a high save%. If you scale his on-ice shot% and save% down to team averages, his admittedly attractive GF/GA numbers of +3.1/-2.1 drop down to +2.2/-2.5. Quite pedestrian. The kid will be a player but he's not just top 6 quality right now. The only excuse is player development.

He saw the softest icetime on the team and got outshot almost as bad as SKost. Outshot twice as bad as Ryder. It's inexcusable that Lats is in the lineup ahead of Ryder in the playoffs, unless this is about player development.

No one game will tell us whether it's a good or bad move. If the Habs win it doesn't mean Carbo made the right move, and if they get blown out (and badly out-Corsied) it won't mean I'm right.

End of 1. Shots are 12-9, and I'd say the better chances were for Boston.

2nd Period

- Early in the period we're seeing some great trapping by the good guys.

- Halfway through the 2nd the only B's line beating the Habs' is the Bruins' #4 beating Lapierre. The rest are being won by Mtl.

- There aren't many Bruins who make me sweat when they've got the puck. Schaefer is one of them.

- Carbo split the top line, shuffling Kovalev around. Julien responds, keeping Chara out vs. Kovalev. I'm not convinced this is the right move. Plek/AKost are more dangerous at EV than Kovy.

- Now this is huge - Habs draw a PP early in a shift by the top line, right after a Chara shift. Habs should be able to use the #1 PP with either a tired Chara or no Chara.

- Yeah, the Habs PP has been underwhelming all series long. That doesn't make 4 Bruins a bigger threat to score than 5 Habs, no matter what Sturm thinks. The Boston PKers heads got big, they went for a shortie and got burned. Brisebois misses the post, hits mesh, 1-0 Montreal.

- Known stand-up guy who has shown tremendous discipline for a 19 year-old, Milan Lucic, embellished the Begin trip at the end of the period. Just so you know, Mr. Julien.

3rd Period

- Trap the shit out of this one, guys.

- There are stats-heads who question the value of hits. As a stat, it's useless. Tonight the Bs physical play definitely has the Habs defence hearing footsteps, and they're making hurried plays. Hitting works.

- I hate Stephen Harper and his armed forces ads that look like they're pulled straight from some 3D shooter video game.

- The Bs have guys who won't take a hit to make a play. Savard is one of them.

- Someday, Josh Gorges is going to get a knee ruined in a hit by a forechecker. You have to admire the kid's bravery and gutsy play.

- Yet another Lapierre shift hemmed in the Mtl zone.

- Crafty play by the 22/20/6 line, icing just before the TV timeout.

- I'd like to see more pressure on Boston defensemen when they have the puck in the Montreal zone. They handle the puck like a hot potato.

- Rookie move by SKost, spin-o-rama in his own zone. What do you think of that, Carbo? I dunno. Maybe the Ryder scratches are orders from above.

- Boos from the 'road' crowd after Kostopoulos has his stick slashed from his hands. I love it.

- SKost fails to get the puck deep on the change, but gets lucky again.

- Kostopoulos deserves one of the three stars of the game.

- The media criticism of Higgins in this series is unwarranted. He's playing centre for the first time in years, he's saddled with ineffective kids and he makes nothing but smart plays. He's an effective player without elite finish.

- WHY is 74 on with 30 seconds left??

- Habs are up 3-1. I feel all warm & fuzzy knowing that Cherry is almost giving himself a stroke right now, hurling a blue streak of invective at his television set.


Anonymous mikado said...

I kept coming to this site during the intermissions last night for your commentary, and was sorely disappointed not to see it....well, better late than never! "Brisebois misses the post, hits mesh, 1-0 Montreal"<< I just loved that line! :D

Montreal had better not give away so many odd man rushes!
Well, 3-1 seems like a lock but, let's not forget 2 years ago...the Bruins could do it to us! (Not likely but, the boys had better tighten up the defense & not play TOO cocky at home tomorrow!)

4/16/2008 10:27 p.m.  

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