Game 2 in San Jose, start at 2230h Eastern.
I'm going to try something a bit different with this post - I've noticed the RSS feed to LJ is coming across as one blob of an entry, no continuation - I don't want to fill up friends pages, so I'm going to put this Entry Body in the Excerpt as well, see if just that gets sent to RSS readers. I don't do RSS, so those of you who read with that (I'm looking at you, Wade :) ) can hopefully let me know.
Laraque in for Dvorak (injured) and Greene in for Tarnstrom (healthy scratch). I think it's pretty clear what MacTavish's plan will be this game: give as much as they get. A bit OT, but that was one of the worst renditions of the national anthems I've heard in a while.
Peca, Moreau, and Laraque started the game against Thornton, Cheechoo, and Ekman. First check: Spacek on Roloson. I don't think that's how they wanted to start out. Looks like MacT's keeping Horcoff's line together, against the wishes of most Oilers webloggers. The Oilers get some banging going in the offensive zone, and sure enough, they got a shot on goal out of it as Smyth and Winchester delivered some hits.
Looks like Bergeron might have his shot back, he delivered a laser from the line right on target through a few bodies, nice and low (I think, missed there it went but it sounded like it hit a pad). Sharks sent the puck in to the Oilers zone, again the Oil were on the body. Pisani got utterly hammered as Torres carried the puck to the net and ran Toskala when Ehrhoff shoved him in.
Now Moreau's with Murray and Pisani again, against Thornton. Pronger's still with Smith. Spacek had a nice shot on goal on a feed from Horcoff, but then it came back the other way and eventually found its way in as the Oilers scrambled - should have been frozen but the puck took a weird bounce off the side of the net - from Marleau! - and eventually it went in. Wilson came right back out with Marleau's line. As Millen said, that 2nd line is just way fast, it's sick when Shawn Horcoff gets made to look like Cory Cross.
Hemsky made a nice pokecheck to get the puck from somebody on Thornton's line, then took the hit to try to clear it - nice to see him willing to pay the price.
Can't say that I was disappointed to see Winchester run Toskala: it really got the Sharks pissed off. Even better that he did it by ramming Joe Thornton in - so much the better that he didn't take a penalty from it too. Too bad Torres wrecked the karma by taking a call on a pick play off the faceoff.
Thornton did his best Samsonov imitation on the PP, nice pass across to Marleau (?) but they didn't convert, and again on the next sequence. Some good hard work by the Sharks to keep the puck in, and Stoll takes a hooking call on J. Thornton. Stoll was angry, not sure why - pretty blatant hook on Thornton. Maybe just frustration. Surprised J Thornton didn't shoot from near the goal line - his linemate Cheechoo did from a worse angle last game, almost put it in too.
The Oilers are doing pretty well at keeping the puck up high in the last minute of Stoll's penalty, taking away the Thornton - Marleau cycle. Toskala got run again a bit, then the Sharks bumped Roloson. I think we're going to see a fight out of one of those eventually - probably not Laraque, nobody he'd be willing to fight I think (unless he can trick one of the Thorntons into losing their temper) but Jason Smith and Ethan Moreau are pretty willing usually. Sharks bumped Roloson again, CBC showed the replay - pretty blatant interference, but the Oilers have gotten away with one and a run besides, so no harm no foul I guess.
Looks like Wilson really wants Thornton out against Hemsky and Samsonov?
Ekman shot the puck into the net long after the whistle went, and then Roloson skated out ready to hammer him, and then Torres buried him. Ekman put his hands up, I think he didn't hear the whistle, but still, pretty nasty. First time I've seen Roloson really lose his Zen-like attitude. Ekman should thank Torres, he probably saved him from getting a blocker in the face.
San Jose got the PP because of the initial call to Pronger, and again, they're looking pretty bad - Edmonton got the first shot when Thornton won the draw all the way back past his own icing line (from the Oilers zone). Does Joe Thornton ever shoot on the power play? He must drive the Sharks fans almost as wild as Hemsky drives us Oilers fans crazy.
Poor Laraque, I love him but he looks totally outclassed out there right now - slow and rusty. May the hockey gods protect Dwayne Roloson if BG ever gets out against Marleau's line. I think he's playing with Rem Murray too.
Niemenen did a good job of trying to make Torres's right knee look like Dvorak's probably does - maybe BG could tool him up. Sure enough, Bernier clipped Roloson through the crease, and Jason Smith went over to talk to him.
Watching Hrudey's replays, I see Bergeron's passing seems to be back too. Hopefully his game is back now, the Oilers sure could use it.
2nd period - Moreau made a nice play off a broken stick to go back, get a new one, and get back in the play. Lots of back and forthing for the first 5 minutes.
Torres has been skating hard this game, and he just clobbered Michalek - totally clean hit, Torres just smoked him while he was admiring his pass and down goes MM. Sorry he got hurt, but good news for the Oilers and it shut the fans up a fair bit. (Later: sounds like he'll be ok, good; but not back real soon, good again... still later, with about 5 minutes left in the 2nd I think he came back and made a nice play. Doesn't even look like he slowed down.)
BG looked like Ryan Smyth in front of the net, made a good tip attempt on the Staios shot from the line.
Some good passing by Hemsky and Samsonov on a rush, puck went back to Edmonton's zone and back out, then Winchester hammered Hannan against the boards. That's the element that was missing in the first game.
Man, Marleau can speed by even Chris Pronger. And MacLaren had BG lined up perfectly, jumped him up in the air a bit and knocked the wind out of him - what a heavy hit, and BG seemingly barely noticed. Tough guy indeed.
Speaking of tough guys, MAB owes Matt Greene a beer or dozen - he gave the puck away and Greene saved his bacon. Then they iced it, and wouldn't you know it, Greene throws it over the glass, another SJS power play. Sharks looked good on the PP, but the Oilers looked better on the PK and killed it for the rookie.
8:20 left, Hemsky threw the body in the offensive zone - didn't catch who he hit. Good to see again.
Rissmiller finally puts the Sharks on the PK as he ran a pretty bad pick play on Pisani while the Oilers were trying to clear the zone. Crucial PP for the Oilers - less than half the game left and they haven't really had a sniff yet.
Fernando Pisani got really plowed by Josh Gorges in the corner, ouch. Terrible penalty.
Oilers aren't passing it quickly enough early in the 5-3, they're taking too much time, skating too slowly - are they tired? Ryan Smyth will have nightmares about that chance he missed right at the corner as MacLaren deflected the cross-crease pass - what a blown chance. They wound up scoring anyway though - I'm not even sure how that went in. I've never seen that before, two defenders without sticks in a 5-3 PP, holy crap. Looks like Smyth was holding Toskala down a bit, but he got pushed in so too bad, San Jose. Nevertheless, a great PK by the Sharks. Hm, looking at the re-replay, Smyth was just near Toskala, not on him, so really too bad.
Staios took a trip, and on the PK Stoll lost his stick and was doing jumping jacks or something, while Thornton had the puck - pass went across, shot went in, rebound came out, and Thornton finally shot and put it in. Ah, Stoll was pissed because he says Cheechoo grabbed his stick. Then Shawn Horcoff takes another penalty - trip off the faceoff. Yeah, Cheechoo took the stick with him, all right - all the way from the top of the RHS circle down to the bottom of the LHS.
If Stoll wants revenge, I guess the best thing to do is catch Cheechoo in a corner, except he's so fast and slippery I doubt that'll happen.
Steve Staios got hurt somehow on the Horcoff penalty, then blocked shots again - what a warrior. The poor PKers looked just dead - Moreau was barely able to get up after blocking a shot. Dwayne Roloson made the save of the game to keep the score 2-1. The Oilers came off that PK energized though, Pronger almost put Joe Thornton's head through the glass. Too bad the period ended - hopefully they'll be able to keep it up for the third.
Quarter after midnight and the second period just ended: if these guys go to OT, I'm screwed. Hopefully the Oilers make the Finals so I can see games in my own TZ again, being a fan of a Western Conference team while living in the east sure is tiring. Guess it could be worse, I could still be in NB or NS.
Yup, third period started out where the second left off, with Edmonton owning the Sharks in their end - but the Sharks got the best attempt, off Marleau's stick and Roloson made a beauty save.
Second sequence, Spacek made Toskala move fast, the puck went into the corner, and Pisani levelled SJS #42 and came out with the puck, even though he was in late - more of what was missing in the first game. Moreau pasted Carle and came out with the puck, but Greene mishandled it at the blueline (it was bouncing I think) and then the Oilers wound up having to ice it.
Hm. Edmonton's fourth line can't keep up with Marleau's, neither can Peca/Moreau/Pisani, and Smyth / Horcoff / Winchester can't either. Samsonov and Hemsky sure can though - does MacT trust them against the 8 goal man and his line?
Great shift by Murray's 4th line - Ethan Moreau played like himself, but unusually Laraque lost the puck on the cycle. But they're just not getting enough shots.
12 minutes left in the game, Laraque went over with Horcoff and Smyth - does MacT just want a more experienced player and a better cycler than Winchester? Surely can't be to speed the game up. Winchester's getting as much ice time this period as Rem Murray did last third period.
Thornton gave the puck away to Horcoff, but the Oilers coughed it up at the Sharks blueline - blown chance. More MacT blending? Horcoff was out with Torres and Laraque - maybe that was just a late change by Horc, since Smyth had been out earlier I think.
Marleau blew right by Smith on a turnover with about 4:20 left, Oilers were very lucky to not go down 3-1. San Jose's doing a good job of choking up centre ice - just what the Oilers were doing to the Wings last series.
Winchester and Moreau crashed the net, and Bernier went after Winchester - Winchester had earlier destroyed Cheechoo, who came back at Spacek. Not sure what MacT said to Winchester, maybe "you're sitting because you're not hitting, go out there and hit somebody". Winnie, next time - get Marleau, if you can.
A little over a minute left, the Oilers made the zone and Bergeron put another bullet on net. Peca had just skated throught he crease, maybe he should have hung around - somebody wearing an A for the Oilers was digging in front of the net, must have been Moreau, so maybe Peca didn't want to get hung up, but still.
Great play in the last minute of the game with Roloson on the bench - both teams were fighting hard, you know it was the playoffs with the game on the line. ... Weird, Ryan Smyth was saying 5 seconds were left on the clock, and it looked like the timekeepers were saying 4 seconds - how did that happen? (MacTavish: "what the F?" I agree.) No matter - 2-1 Sharks again, and the Oilers are in a very deep hole now.
What the Oilers did right: they got on the body better, better puck support, and traded for Roloson at the deadline. Great PK. Second line was more physically involved, especially Hemsky. Faceoffs were good.
What they did wrong: they didn't turn the support and checking into shots on goal - can't score if you don't get the shots off. Too many penalties in the first half of the game gave their PK lots of practise. Made Roloson into a star again, giving up so many shots. Poor puck support late in the third once they gained the zone - all three times! They know how to beat the trap.
What the Sharks did right: almost everything, except score more on the power play. If their PP was better, the game would have been over by the second period. Again, tight defensive game, keeping Oilers chances to a minimum.
What the Sharks did wrong: their PP could have been better, but so what? Joe Thornton needs to shoot coming off the half boards more, or else just drive to the net. Um. Anything else? Maybe they tired their arms out putting the puck on Roloson so much. Can always hope.
Another totally off-topic note: that CIBC commercial, where the man walks in on his pregnant wife looking all sad? I'm determined to come up with the *nastiest* *possible* alternative dialogue - don't worry, I won't share it here, but damn, that commercial bugs me. "Are we ready for this?" TOO LATE! Hate that one so much. I hate SUVs, but the Hyundai commercial with the cowboy and the goth types is pretty good. And the Moores ad, with the kid trying to pin the corsage on his date with the parents looking on - priceless. Almost as funny as the Leafs missing the playoffs.
If I may, a quick comment on other series. Looks like Dougie Weight was weaving a bit of magic against the Devils, and the Senators are doing their best to lose to Buffalo - again. (I still remember being at a bar in Fredericton and seeing Tugnutt let that GWG - or was it the series-winner? - basically go right through his trapper.)
My three stars: J. Thornton, Roloson, and it's hard to pick a third, but I'll go with Marleau just because he seems to make something happen every time he sees the puck.