Scott Oake: Would you say that Eric Staal can expect to see a lot of Chris Pronger?
Craig MacTavish: *laughs* I wouldn't... I'm not going to say that. I will say that with Pronger playing 30 minutes a night, Staal will see him. (paraphrase)
MacT cracks me up.
All the reports are correct: RBC is freaking loud. A friend of mine and I were talking earlier, we both figure there won't be any blowouts these Finals; all the games are going to be 2-1, 3-2 type affairs, I think. (Although Cam Ward is the weakest link here; if he melts down, there could be a blowout. I think it's very unlikely Rolo will melt.)
First play, Hemsky ran the Hurricanes C, if I caught it correctly. (Ah, the 'cane got caught up with the ref.) First shot by Stillman, looks like maybe he broke his stick. Some clutching at centre ice, Oilers got it deep, and the pass out front looked dangerous but wound up snuffed by Ward.
Wow, Hurricane dman managed to throw BG down, although Laraque was already off balance. Some hard hits, and a hard shot by Stoll blocked, looks like that one hurt. Commodore hammered Stoll behind the net, there was a whistle, and Commodore beaks but gets the first penalty. CBC replay caught
it: Commodore was holding him all the way.
PP: Edmonton passed it around but weren't really dangerous. Carolina did a good job clogging up the passing lanes. Bergeron got a half-decent shot away but it didn't wind up on-net. Smyth had one shot. Peca hammered a 'cane in the corner just as the penalty expired. Carolina had a good chance off the rush, first shift after PP expired. #4 manhandled Moreau in the Carolina corner, could have been a penalty, but oh well. Commodore got some revenge with a heavy hit on Smyth in Edmonton's zone. Horcoff's line did a good job forechecking, Smyth knows where Ward's crease is too.
Williams knows where Roloson's crease is too; he was knocked over, but being in the crease, likely he didn't have much excuse. More bodies flying about; Torres almost went into the Carolina bench as he just missed Aaron Ward.
Edmonton crashed the net on a rush, Ward couldn't quite get his glove on the rebound, and Pisani pulled it back and threw it in. It all started as Aaron Ward couldn't quite clear it, a Hurricane deflected it a bit, and the shot came in from the point. First goal to Edmonton the opportunists, by Pisani the ultimate opportunist.
Whitney had a good chance as the 'canes crashed the net, but the Oilers cleared the zone quickly. Carolina seems to be having some trouble getting past centre ice now, mid-point of the first, although they're covering fairly well in the defensive zone. Staal got stood up just inside the Oilers zone and seemed to have a bit of trouble letting go - does he have a temper? Ouch, big hit behind the Carolina net sent some poor 'cane's head into the glass.
Edmonton took their first penalty as Steve Staios levelled somebody at centre ice, and the Carolina player's feet went wayy up. (Man, I have to learn these Carolina player numbers, although in that case it wouldn't have helped any, it was the boards closest to the camera and it was mostly behind the play.) Ah, a bit of a lowbridge hipcheck, right in front of the ref. No harm done, but it had the potential for injury so I don't mind that call.
Carolina's first good chance came about 40s in - nice shot by Staal with some traffic in front courtesy of Recchi, and the rebound bounced around a bit. Recchi and Jason Smith made acquaintances. Ward took a bit of a chance, clearing the puck past his own dman near the boards with Moreau close by. Just after, Bergeron took a bad penalty, threw #8 pretty viciously right by the net. Thought at first it was a crosscheck, so not as bad as it looked at first, but still, a penalty's a penalty.
Ethan Moreau got hauled down by Bret Hedican on a partial break, but no penalty shot - right call, he hadn't yet broken away and probably wouldn't have. Cancelled the PP though. Carolina's fast, all right - but Edmonton's faster, at least so far. Another Carolina penalty - crappy play, Wallin
threw Dvorak down. Lazy stick penalty, anybody? 4 on 3.
Pronger - Spacek, Spacek blasted a slapshot off a Carolina dman, ouch. And again - that one left Glen Wesley limping to the bench - puck caught him under the knee, twice it looks like. Carolina had the best chance of that PP though, Brind'amour went away with another player and they had a pretty good chance. Brindy made a good play on the faceoff after, shot the puck as Stoll missed it.
Hemsky got tripped up, Brind'amour got his stick around his midsection - well, the fans sure know Hemsky's name, they seem to be yelling "Hemsky Sucks!" Good way to get him fired up, he loves that. Edmonton took the timeout to get some rest.
Lots of action in the first 20 seconds of the PP, looks like Edmonton's getting a bit loose though and the puck came back into their end for another good chance on Roloson, but the shot went over the net. Edmonton threw it around in Carolina's end, had some trouble making passes - Hurricanes with
the good passblocks again. Moreau's fired up - I've no doubt that he's one of the guys the Oilers were talking about that was just itching to go out hitting somebody.
Ouch, looked like Aaron Ward blocked a Torres snapshot with his groinal region - I guess he's grateful it wasn't a Pronger or a Stoll slapshot. Carolina did a good job killing off their penalties, and the period is over, 1-0 Edmonton.
Second period starts, Aaron Ward did a good job knocking Hemsky off the puck, who did a good job with the second effort trying to make a play.
Samsonov's showing up to play, making some moves in high traffic to get a shot away. Weight hasn't lost many steps either, he's just as crafty now as he was last time I really saw him play as an Oiler. Carolina's playing the body harder this period - they've gotten away with at least one call, but they're hitting hard. Dvorak got away with one to match, holding a Cane along the board. Oilers had to ice it twice in a row to relieve the pressure, now it's Edmonton's turn in Carolina's end and Moreau almost capitalized on rebound from a shot resulting from a Hedican missed clearing chance.
Peca took a penalty, Carolina got a great chance but Staal took a bit too long to take the shot and Roloson deflected it. Horcoff made a nice play to clear the zone, and went in with Smyth - they killed about 15 seconds in Carolina's end and got off on the change.
Refs are allowing a fair bit of holding - Staios had a 'cane all wrapped up, and the 'canes (Whitney?) have done some wrapping up themselves. I wonder how pleased NHL head office will be with this one. Hemsky got tied up too.
Horcoff's line carried the play in Carolina's end, then the Oilers kind of lost it as Peca's line came on; Bergeron broke his stick on a shot attempt, then got his foot on the puck as Adams carried it in to Edmonton's end, and Adams's foot caught Bergeron's other foot. No intent to trip, no call, but the fans sure didn't like it.
Huge scrum in front of the Hurricanes net, Moreau and Laraque buzzing, the puck abruptly came out clear and McGeough started pointing frantically - penalty shot. Chris Pronger? Why not Moreau? Weird. Is he gonna try to blow it by? Nope, *nice* wrister past Ward, and Wallin applauded. Hey man, close your hand on it and let the ref see it, what do you expect? CBC: "Pronger was the Oilers best bet, it was the Oilers fourth line on the ice." Um, Moreau's scored 20 goals. Maybe Pronger was a good bet, but it's not
like all the other Oilers on the ice were schlubs, eh? Murray's scored 20 goals too, although that was a while ago. Anyway. Can't argue with the first scoring penalty shot in SCF history.
Hurricanes were buzzing after that, but Dvorak and... somebody went away, and got a shot away. Should be an interesting rest of the second period.
Hm, what's Hemsky's icetime so far? He's looking a bit slow now (7:11 remaining of 2nd). Maybe just a long shift. He didn't move anywhere near quickly enough to jump on a loose puck with an open net.
Carolina's doing a lousy job in their own end with 6m left in the second - just can't seem to keep the Oilers from gaining the zone, even 1 on 2 or 3. BG and Torres threw some heavy hits. When they do gain Edmonton's zone, they just can't seem to get to the net - the Oilers are doing a good job of forcing them to the perimeter.
Jason Smith dumped some poor Cane behind the net. #4 having a difficult time handling Stoll in Carolina's end - some scrumming after that, and Moreau took the shot, Ward made a *perfect* tip by the other Ward, and now it's 3-0 Edmonton. Not that I'd mind being proven wrong on the games being all 1 goal games, but Carolina's making me look pretty bad on predictions again.
Ryan Smyth had a good chance taken away by some hot backchecking by Commodore, it came back the other way, 'canes took the shot; Brind'amour was Johnny on the spot as Moreau missed his check and put the rebound in the empty net.
That got Carolina hepped up; another great chance done in by a Roloson stop. Dvorak took a hooking penalty on the next sequence. Weird they called that one and not some others, but c'est la vie. Big chance for Carolina to get back in the game... the best chance in the first 20 seconds came as Ryan Smyth got sent in on a breakaway, but he couldn't convert. Good Carolina chance, then Edmonton came back, Smyth and Staios and Smyth couldn't quite put it away again. Hopefully he won't have to look back on those two missed chances and go "man, what if." And that's it for the second.
Hrm, Carolina have the right idea for the average hockey fan - very good looking young women wearing tight-fitting clothing for section cheerers, it looks like. In Edmonton, you're lucky (?!) if you see a fat man with his shirt off. Third period underway. CBC: bunch of stats about how Edmonton's 9-2 when scoring first, yadda yadda. "Fifteenth consecutive series start on the road." What? And while I was head-down, Ray Whitney cut it to 3-2 on a nifty Doug Weight feed.
Carolina swarming, Edmonton gets away, and Dvorak draws a penalty.
Broken stick off the faceoff, a bit of overpassing and Spacek actually got a good shot away that Ward had to be fast to get a glove on. Now Edmonton's PP looks like Carolina's 5 on 5 - all perimeter. Penalty over, but on the ensuing sequence something got called - Moreau almost got his (helmetless) head driven into the ice but took a penalty - crosschecked Wesley. Weird what calls they're making.
Another broken stick off this faceoff, not sure whose - a Carolina player I think. Some good puck movement by the 'canes, and now it's a 3-3 game as Whitney got his second of the game. Damn you, Ron Low, for being a Whitney-hater.
(Um, ok, earlier what I said about shirtless fat men? Shot of 3 male fans dressed up sorta as cheerleaders. I take half of it back. Disturbing.)
Beauty chance at about 13m left - Carolina couldn't quite convert, Ray Whitney again. Maybe MacT needs to put Pronger out for Staal still, but he needs to think about Whitney too. Beauty save by Cam Ward to keep it tied at 12:30 left, Dvorak couldn't quite put it away. Some sustained Oilers pressure led to a Carolina penalty - Edmonton needs to score on this one, otherwise I think this is a 3 beer game. Hedican hooked Moreau - I don't think that was really a penalty, but I'll take it.
What the heck are they thinking? WAY too many passes. Best chance came off the rush, Cam Ward made a great save. Staios gave Williams a breakaway at the blueline, and now it's 4-3 Carolina. MacT took a drink from his bottle, and I did from mine. At least I was treated to a Carolina cheerleader. Lots of time left, but the 'canes now are looking like the Oilers did against San Jose: outshot, outplayed, but opportunistic. Maybe Pisani's leaving gave the mojo over to Carolina.
Ward came out to play the puck behind the net and wanted to play like a defenceman, so finally Horcoff put him down, but Ward got revenge by making a what the hell was that?! stop with his glove hand. So far, Roloson's played pretty well, but Ward's made that one (two, actually) extra stop.
Edmonton's got another chance on the PP, as Staal very stupidly high-sticked Pronger in the face. No joke now, Edmonton needs to score or they're done this game. Hemsky danced in, and... boom, put it in then tripped on Wesley's stick and hammered his leg on the post.
First shift after, Edmonton on the rush, but Carolina came back and Bergeron hammered Ladd into Roloson's right shoulder, and that went against the post. Rolo's down - if he's badly hurt, the Hurricanes get a Buffalo-losing 3-of-their-top-4 defencemen-esque type chance. (Holy hyphenation, Batman!) It actually appears to be Rolo's knee though - Conklin gets his very first playoff minute in a tie game in the Stanley Cup Finals, and he hasn't played since mid-April. Oilers fans quake. No pressure Ty, just... don't let in a goal. For the rest of the game, however long that is, but at least 6 minutes.
No shots on Conklin yet, Torres had a good chance with \~3.5m left, but Ward got his glove on it - he's fast. If Carolina loses this game, it won't likely be his fault. 2m34s left, Conklin gets his first shot, a nice one by Williams and a good leg save on a rolling puck. Talk about cold though - he didn't even get a warmup.
Minute left, crowd buzzing, linesman blew the play dead offside late, and Staal shot the puck just as the whistle went and almost got Pronger's fist in his face for his trouble. Carolina offside again - some late-game jitters? Two offsides in a row.
Conklin goes behind the net, tries to play the puck and put it off Smith's stick out front, and Brind'amour was Johnny on the spot again - into the empty net, and that's that, 5-4 Carolina. Hemsky and Horcoff tried to have something to say about that though - Cam Ward had to make about 3 great saves in a row. Ward stole the game Conklin gave away - not really Conk's fault, that was all not having played in two months, but... he screwed up, gave it away, and that was the GWG. Too bad, so sad. He wasn't in net while the Oilers were busy coughing up the 3-0 lead though. All in all, they played pretty well, but not anywhere near well enough, that shouldn't have been a 3-3 game in the first place.
Don Cherry sez it was Bergeron's fault, the 4-3 goal: hm. Don't know if I entirely agree, but it's arguable - he should have had Williams, sez Cherry. MacLean: "Horcoff should have had a penalty, taking him [Ward] out behind the net." No, Ron, sorry - goalies can't run pick plays. If I can't do it as a dman or forward, I sure as heck can't do it as a goalie! He was running interference behind the net.
Ray Whitney: "some vocal words were said." Ryan Smyth school of post-game interviews.
Post-game, MacT: "Goalie's not good. He won't be back for the series." Edmonton's in some serious trouble now - Conklin and Markannen were sub-standard all season, as any reader of this is likely to know.
MacT's mid-answer, and the CBC cuts him off with an ad, and then The National. WTF? I mean yeah, the alleged terrorist arrests are important news, but dang, that's just *rude*.