Saturday, April 26, 2008

4-26-08: Flyers 4, Canadiens 2

Fucking karma.

1. There are bad wins, and there are good losses, and all too often getting one of the former means that there’s one of the latter in your near future. If Martin Biron was playing normally, the Habs would have taken this game decisively. As it was, the puck was snuggling into his pads like a sleepy kitten all night, no matter how much force the Habs tried to get behind it. At least you can say they made Biron and the Flyers’ D work hard for this one.

2. Good things: Koivu, who’s been a force every night since he’s been back and is getting more confident, more ambitious play out of Higgins. Smolinski/Kostopolous/Begin are still way more dangerous offensively than they have any right to be. Bouillon is playing better and especially smarter than he tended to in the regular season, which is a pleasant surprise; Hamrlik remains unbelievably cool under every kind of pressure. And hey, look, another power play goal. Those are always nice.

3. Bad things: Remember back when Markov and Komisarek were our best D pairing? I miss that. The Lapierre line has yet to do anything that gives me any confidence in them. The Pleks line played well but Biron was completely on top of them all night. Price blew epically in the first and intermittently thereafter. Kostopolous marred an otherwise good game with an unfortunate suckerpunch at Timonen which was only the most successful (I use the term loosely) of a lot of attempted post-buzzer shit-fits by the Canadiens. When you’re playing the Flyers and you’re the ones with the discipline problem, that’s an inauspicious omen. Good thing the refs were in willfully-oblivious mode all night.

4. Ugly things: Every time a Hab gets one of those playoff haircuts, a small child in Bolivia dies of sheer aesthetic horror. And nothing says, ‘Celebrate too loudly and we’ll trample you to death with a large mammal’ like a cop on a horse. Good tactical move by the Montreal police, though- if anybody tries to set unattended horses on fire, PETA will be after them, and that’s way worse than having the law after you.

Somebody go ahead and point out that, the day after I said that I didn’t think Biron would slaughter us, he went out and slaughtered us. This is because every time I say something about the future with any degree of confidence, the opposite happens. Behold, I am the anti-Cassandra: I predict things inaccurately and for some reason people occasionally believe me (which, incidentally, is far more common in hockey than Cassandra-ism proper, so at least I feel included for once). So for next game, I’m going to say that the Flyers will win 3-0, getting two goals by Steve Downie, who will also decapitate Josh Gorges and ritualistically devour his glands after the game. The Habs will absolutely not win 5-2, the Plekanec line will not step up dramatically, and Price will not bounce back with a much better effort. No way.


Jeff J said...

That was a fine piece of spin by Stevens, calling the punch a' cowardly sucker'. Timonen watched Kostopoulos approach from a fair distance, and he only turned/ducked once he saw the cocked arm. There was nothing suckerish about it.

That said, it was a stupid move and the Canadiens got a huge break when the refs called coincidentals on the scrum. Makes you wonder what really was being said on the ice.

Doogie said...

Based on this video from the Rangers-Devils series, I would guess a lot of stuff like, "you're a fucking bitch."

I had taped this game because I planned to watch it this afternoon, but a friend of mine spoiled it for me last night. So I have nothing intelligent to say, since I hate watching games when I already know the result, unless it's a vintage game and nostalgia plays in.

DarkoV said...

Don't the Habs have a 9-1 record lifetime in the playoffs against the Phlyers when the game's in Philly? This series is eerily resembling the Phlyers-Caps series where Philly lost a close 1st game and then won the second game in D.C.

Not to say, it'll go Seven. I'd predicted a 4-1 Montreal win....and I'm still sticking with that, although Downnie will most probably knock someone's teeth out before the series finishes.

Hey, who's the Tie Domi of the Habs?

E said...

jeff- i agree that 'cowardly' was hyperbolic for the situation, kostopolous being very far from that in most of his behavior. but let's face it, a punch to the back of the head is always a bad idea, even if the head in question is deserving of a punch. in general, i think the habs let the flyers get to them far too much- there's a fine line between asserting yourself and just wasting energy and emotion.

doogie- you're probably right, but i really wish hockey trash-talk was more creative. it always sounds so mundane when you actually hear it comparative to what you imagine when all you see is the reaction.

i like watching games i know the outcome of when there's a team/player involved that's of interest to me. it gives me a chance to watch for more detail than i generally do in real time, when i'm anxious about the result and tend to zero in on only that which is exciting or horrifying.

darko- that gare joyce book really helped me form a deeper hatred of downie than i'd ever had previously, his nhl conduct notwithstanding. as to tie domi, i really don't know a lot about him except for that i used to see him spouting random incoherency on tsn, and that he was once upon a time supposed to be scary. the habs, unfortunately, don't seem to have anyone either particularly scary or particularly incoherent. we're a team of fancy-pants intellectuals, we are.

Wayne said...

Next game is super important. The team needs to have any kind of win , even a sloppy, lucky, stolen win not a good loss. This is a young team that needs to prove to themselves that they can win in the playoffs.

Jeff J, it was a sucker punch. I love the way Kostopoulos has been playing but no way he should have thrown that punch.

e glad you're back. you are the best!

Jeff J said...

Jeff J, it was a sucker punch.

sucker punch
• noun an unexpected punch or blow.

Agreed, it was a bad move. My point is Timonen saw it coming a mile away. By definition, it was not a sucker. That was pure spin by Stevens to encourage a review by the league.

Doogie said...

E: Having been in a few heated discussions in my time, unfortunately, that's almost as good as it gets -- if you're really creative, you combine one profanity with one seemingly random other word to come up with something new and kind of funny, but most of it's pretty samey. English has either de-villified or hyper-villified pretty much every interesting word there is, so it's hard to really come up with anything that doesn't sound like something we've all been calling each other since the third grade.

Maybe that's why Esa Tikkanen was so damned effective. He could whip out two languages' worth of trash talk, and combine it in a way that was absolutely unintelligible to native speakers of either one, all while delivering it in a way that made you, well, want to punch him in the mouth. The fact that he could score, too, was icing on the cake, really.

Doogie said...

Oh, I missed the second part of your reply.

For me, I've always preferred the raw emotion of the game -- it's an escape from the rest of the day, you know? So if the result is already known, it's hard to get too excited one way or the other. Unless it's a game like, say, Fight Night at the Parkade (EDM-VAN, Feb. 16, 193 PIM), an exceedingly entertaining game in every facet, not just the physical one, one which really made me want to reach through the screen and punch that little son of a bitch Kesler (ahem), I can't get worked up over a game, and then I get bored. Because really, there's a lot of nothing that happens in the average hockey game. Part of what makes it exciting is the fact that you don't know it's going to be "nothing" until after the fact. Hope also sustains you during a losing game, and when you know you're going to lose anyway, it's difficult to get invested in the outcome, which again makes it difficult to get fully "into" the game.

I don't know if this makes me sound like a bad fan or not, but I'm sure I'm not alone in needing to have some sort of investment in a game in order to get the most out of it. That's not to say I can't watch a game that's already taped, to which I know the outcome, or that I can't watch a game involving two teams I don't ordinarily give a flying crap about, but it's got to be a much better game in order to really captivate me the way even a weak game that I've never seen before involving one of my teams does.

Jaybird said...

Well Timonen got what was coming. You don't rub in goals in the playoffs and act like assholes in another team's building when you have a sure victory. I loved what Carbonneau said in his press conference today I agree with our coach 100%. Kostopoulos has heart and won't stand up for that absolute nonsense.

saskhab said...

No one is talking about the fact that Umberger, by whacking Price's glove, actually committed goaltender interference on that goal, but in the end it wouldn't have mattered. Biron looked like he used to against us when we sucked and he was on a similar sucky team in Buffalo pre-lockout.

If Brisebois isn't good to go, I'd put Streit back on D with Hamrlik instead of O'Byrne. Rhino played very little and the Habs could use a guy on the point that can get shots through. And then I'd put Latendresse out there and tell him to park his ass in front of the net.