ECQF | Game 2 | 5/3 | Ottawa @ Montreal | 7:00 PM ET | RDS, CBC, CNBC
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05-03-2013, 01:14 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Without getting too pessimistic about this series, I think I've been on the right side of a goaltender's duel too many times to not know when I'm on the wron side. We put 50 shots on Anderson last night, and the only two that went in were from 3 inches away. Granted Anderson's play is likely not sustainable, but its gonna be hard to win games when the other team is scoring on slapshots from outside the circle, and we have to be in the blue paint to score ours. I am not writing this series off just yet, but I'm slightly weary. Especially given the Habs apparent lack of appetite for getting to the crease area (Gallagher, Prust and Galchenyuk notwithstanding).
With that said, tonight's lineup shouldn't just be a minor retweaking, it should be an overhaul. Yes the Habs dominated play on the Sens last night, but as they have been all season, the Sens are a frustratingly opportunistic team that only needs 1 or 2 openings to make you pay. This team needs to tighten up, and that starts with the forwards. You can't let Karlsson get started. At all. Seeing as we have last change I'd go with this:
1st line: Put our three most effective players together FFS. Pleks and the kids should eat the minutes against Alfie and Michalek. Ottawa is one of the few teams that is less heralded than we are up front. We can actually match strength for strength against these guys up front and not look totally mismatched. I wrestled with the idea of putting Gallagher on the 2nd line for his backchecking abilities, but in the end if you play not to lose, you often will. Worst case scenario the rookies get some serious playoff initiation.
2nd line: Bourque was great last night, so hopefully he can anchor that 2nd line. I don't think Ryder played all that bad last night, but Therrien seems to have little faith in him. DD should not be on the ice when Karlsson or Alfie are out there. This line needs the sheltered minutes, not the rookie line.
3rd line: help shoulder the defensive load against Karlsson with the top line. Karlsson is prone to taking 1:30 shifts, and forwards shouldn't be out there for more than 45 seconds. Get lines 1 and 3 out there against him at all times. I am probably one of the few posters on here that still has faith in Moen. I think him and Prust can form an effective forecheck/puck possession tandem down low and i think Halpern has been great for us this year (great being relative). We can no longer ice three scoring lines so might as well turn this game into a defensive struggle.
4th line: Hit. Everything. Armstrong hasn't been that effective all season, but he is our best open ice hitter up front. Him and White should be doing everything they can to get the energy going for the Habs. Dumont deserves the final roster spot and can chip in defensively, as he's shown all season. It's not ideal losing three top 9 forwards, but these are the playoffs and this is what we're playing with.
Defense: Can't really change much other than to make sure Tinordi doesn't get 12 mins of icetime. Granted that 5min PP interlude probably didn't help his cause, but Diaz looked incredibly rattled for the remainder of the game following the Eller hit. I would tread carefully with him if i were Therrien and if tonight's game looks the same as yesterday's (for Diaz), i would think long and hard about Drewiskie for game 3.
The Habs were dealt a huge blow in game 1. Pretty much everything that could have gone wrong did. This is only game 2...but it feels make or break to me.
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