Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Time for the Blue Mile?
Stoll scores OT winner, Oilers take series lead

The GAME of the night: Oilers 4, Red Wings 3 (2OT)
Edmonton leads series 2-1

“Now he shows a lot of poise and he puts an emphasis on speed. He's so good at moving the puck.”
- Edmonton Oilers centre Mike Peca
opines on Chris Pronger

What a game. With all of the increased scoring and power plays in overtime, I'd have thought the chances we'd see so many long overtime games thus far would have been nill. As we've seen, however, that hasn't been the case.

This one went 8:44 into the second overtime before youngster Jarret Stoll beat Manny Legace on a play that had a whole whack of Red Wings standing around watching. It was the end of what must have been quite the rollercoaster of emotions experience for fans at Rexall Place tonight, after a Jason Williams shot from an impossible angle appeared to beat Oilers netminder Dwayne Roloson in the first overtime. (The puck actually went underneath the net and the 'goal' was disallowed.)

I think one of the best stories so far in the playoffs is the play of Roloson, who took some heat early on following the deadline deal that brough him to Edmonton, but is playing phenomenally so far in these playoffs. I always liked Roloson when he played for the Wild, but that's really a tough team to root for or watch all that often. Not so for the Oilers.

Roloson, 36, was a journeyman for most of his career — basically right up until he caught on with the Wild in 2001-02 at age 32. Two years later, and just three removed from spending an entire year in the AHL with the Worcester IceCats, Roloson played in the NHL all-star game.

He's one goalie that never really got enough credit for how good he was because of the team he played for, so it's great to see him finally getting his due. Roloson's a great guy — humble, and a dedicated family man — so here's hoping he's got a few years in front of him in an Oilers uni.

He's also why I'm rooting for Edmonton to go deep in the playoffs this year. (Well, that and I've got Shawn Horcoff in my hockey pool.)

Senators 8, Lightning 4
Ottawa leads series 2-1

That magic that a lot of these guys have, you could see it in the first and even in the third. When we got chances, we buried them."
- Ottawa Senators goaltender Ray Emery

Magic's a good word for how a few Sens played last night, including Martin Havlat, who scored his 3rd and 4th goals of the postseason. This guy looks like the best sniper in the playoffs — even though he played just 18 games in the regular season. (Perhaps he and the Devils' Patrik Elias are both benefitting from their abbreviated seasons.)

Given that these are two 'finesse' teams who are from different divisions, this wasn't a series I expected fireworks in, but there were some last night. The Zdeno Chara v. Vincent Lecavalier bout was particularly interesting, especially considering that it was Chara who held off laying a pounding until Lecavalier (foolishly) threw a punch at the 6-foot-9 giant. (Didn't he see when Bryan McCabe tried that?)

Lecavalier should have gotten a misconduct for not having his tie-downs done up.

Sharks 4, Predators 1
San Jose leads series 2-1

"But they are penalties, if you want to go the letter of the law. On some of them, I'm not exactly sure what the rules are. They're different rules for him, I guess."
- Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz
Joe Thornton has his own rulebook

One kid to definitely watch in this series is 21-year-old Steve Bernier, who closed out the regular season with 13 goals in the last 23 games of the year. Bernier got the game winner here tonight on the power play, and, along with Patrick Marleau, is one of the reasons San Jose is getting some secondary scoring.

Jonathan Cheechoo and Joe Thornton have been solid, but not dominant, as the Predators have defensive forwards like Greg Johnson who excel in shutdown roles. Whoever wins this series is going to get great efforts from their second and third lines, and right now, that's the Sharks. (And Tom Preissing has been excellent with four assists in three games, all with big minutes.)

Flames 5, Ducks 2
Calgary leads series 2-1

"If they are going to call this many penalties, it's going to put a lot of pressure on goalies during this series."
- Calgary Flames coach Darryl Sutter

You know, I didn't see a ton of this game, but I've got a feeling whoever comes out of this series is going to be with us for quite a while through these playoffs. What Anaheim really needs here is for Andy McDonald and Teemu Selanne, the Ducks only legitimate scoring threats, to score some goals.

If the Flames continue to hold those two without a goal, it could be a short series.



At 11:16 a.m., April 26, 2006, Blogger Nick said...

The way the wings played the first two periods, they deserved to lose. They rallied in the 3rd and kept some momentum through overtime, but it was too late. They're not playing how they should. Hopefully they can pull it together for game four.

This is the third playoff run in a row that they've struggled against an opponent that they should be able to beat... In the past those teams have gone on to the finals. As a Detroiter, I'm hoping we don't see that again.


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