Start time, approx 2000h Eastern, Edmonton.
Sorry Wade, I meant to reply to your comments but I got busy.
Not much needs to be said, I think, except Edmonton needs to do pretty much the opposite of what they've managed to do the last couple of games. They need pressure in front of Cam Ward, they need to stop giving up odd man rushes, and they especially need to stop the giveaways at centre ice and at Carolina's blueline - which will help stop the odd man rushes. I made a change too - I had a beer with supper before the game started, so I'm one up - if they get blown away again, I won't care as much.
In the crowd, USA vs Canada tshirt - guess the jingoism isn't the sole domain of Yanks. Hey guys - Carolina's best players so far (Brind'amour and Ward) are Canadian, and Edmonton's best this series is a Czech.
Marc Andre Bergeron gets the axe and Peca's now a "second line" centre and on the PP, Markkanen stays in. I can't really disagree with Peca or Jussi - the goaltending wasn't the problem in G2, and they need to do something with the forwards. Tarnstrom seems like a mercy-hook for Bergeron, who hasn't been at his most effective anyway. Good shot of Joey Moss belting out the anthem for Paul L and the Mounties singing along too. I guess Edmonton have a new playoff tradition: sing along with both anthems (louder for the Canadian, of course).
Hey Harry - they're blue jerseys, not black. Thought that was well-established a coupole of seasons ago.
First shot came quick as Edmonton won the faceoff to Pronger, across to Smith, up to Smyth who gloved it down and steamed in for a shot. Second sequence saw Carolina set up briefly though, then the Oilers cleared and Samsonov almost set up Dvorak - not even a minute and a half in and a good scoring chance for the Oilers, as well as a couple of shots. Horcoff's line went right back to work - guess Murray's line likely won't see much ice tonight, unless they need a lift. It paid off - Edmonton smoked their first goal past Ward in 4 (5?) periods. Hemsky -> Spacek, shot from the blue line, and Horcoff tipped it 5 hole.
Carolina coughed it up at the Oilers line for a change, Aaron Ward looked safe with it in his own end off the shootin but Torres muscled him off and Pisani nearly got loose with the puck when he stripped Williams of it. Puck came back to Edmonton's end, they had a near-chance (didn't see if they actually got a shot on), but couldn't do much.
Brind'amour actually lost a faceoff - Peca beat him. Carolina came away with a rush, Williams is fast but Pronger forced him wide, Edmonton had a rush and the 'canes took possession, then Williams got away on a bad change, but shot it high. Carolina got away with some interference and got another decent chance too. Heh, subsequent faceoff looked like Weight is switching to untucking the whole front of his jersey as well.
Moreau got hauled down in the corner in Carolina's end, got up and cuffed a 'cane, and then Weight took an interference penalty - thought at first Moreau had taken a retalation penalty. So far, everything's going more or less Edmonton's way, breakaway excepted and they didn't score anyway. Ah, I thought so - it was Weight that Moreau cuffed, because Weight backed up to interfere with him.
Dangerous looking rush 30 seconds in to the PP, but Hemsky ran out of room and had to circle the net. 2nd PP unit is Peca Stoll Spacek Samsonov and Pisani, interesting new look - first unit must be Horcoff Hemsky Smyth, Pronger, and... Staios? Nope, Tarnstorm. Great chance by Smyth right at the end, but no joy.
9:30 in, Edmonton's all over the Hurricanes again - this is more like Edmonton's game. Having just typed that, they got running around in their own end and took a penalty. Poor Weight - booed every time he touched the puck on the PP. Well, he left for the money, so too bad, it's all business, right? They booed Gretzky, they'll boo anybody. Markkanen made his first good save of the game on the PP, and then another on Brind'amour... and then two more just as the penalty ended. Any doubts about Markkanen's mindset should now be dissipated. Then Smyth bobbled the clear but Craig Adams tripped him, and another Edmonton PP. Hrm, first unit has Spacek now. Smyth had a good chance right away, Edmonton set up, and now the other Adams is in the sinbin too, for hooking Hemsky.
Edmonton could really use a goal right now. Hemsky made a great skate recovery - is there nothing he can't do with respect to puck control? He and Samsonov have got to be two of the better puck handlers in the game right now. Carolina killed off the C Adams penalty neatly, Edmonton made some decent passes but weren't really dangerous. K Adams safely left the box too, and now it's 4.5 minutes left in the first. Aaron Ward made a couple of key shotblocks on those plays, one right off his ankle. Tough guy. I thought it before G1, but now I'll say it - these teams are virtual mirror images of one another.
Mark Recchi took a stupid hooking penalty on Steve Staios in Edmonton's end, and yet another Edmonton PP. I guess it's irrelevant how much icetime Murray's line had been intended to get now, they won't have seen much ice. Maybe they should just go out on the PP, as the Oilers did absolutely nothing with that one. Dvorak took a penalty right after it was over though.
You know, I don't see why MacT didn't play Winchester this game - other Oilers webloggers are big fans of Dvorak (mudcrutch79 in particular, I think) but defending him right now has got to feel like defending Peca the first half of the season. (I don't think anybody bothered defending Peca the second half.)
Carolina did something with their PP though - Brind'amour got buried at centre ice, but he's ok. And that finishes the first period. Good one for the Oilers - gave up some penalties but drew more, good job defensively, and good enough job offensively. At the risk of repeating myself, that has got to be the way they wanted to play this game.
Second period starts with Edmonton actually getting the puck deep and cycling - Hemsky with some more nifty stickhandling - but they couldn't do anything with it. Scary moment as Markkanen shot the puck away from Greene right to the blueline, to give up a decent shot to Carolina (who missed the net). Edmonton made a great rush, Dvorak had a good chance and Cullen hauled Stoll down as he tried to bat in the rebound - good play by Ward though. Edmonton's power play.
Spacek got a shot on net, good save by Ward. Cherry's right - Edmonton needs traffic in front when the shot goes in. Hemsky made a great move to get behind the net, but couldn't quite backhand the wraparound in with Ward down and out. Lowetide's right - put Hemksy out for every second he can possibly stand. Samsonov made a bad pass attempt at Carolina's blueline and gave up the puck - two lashes with a bag of Fort MacMurray oil sands. Last chance on the PP, Ward made another great save. Ward's fond of playing defence behind the net (just after the PP expired).
Cole: "they dressed him [Tarnstrom] instead of Bergeron because he can play the power play." Er, no Bob, that's not why. Bergeron plays on the PP too.
Rare defensive miscue by Carolina, Edmonton couldn't capitalize as Ward looked like Grant Fuhr. Horcoff and Smyth went away on a 2 on 1, but Aaron Ward made a nice pass block with his shoulder. Stoll won the ensuing faceoff (Stoll df Weight) but Carolina gained possession anyway. Some back and forth that wound up with a Markkanen save (first of the period) and Carolina #8's elbow in Staios's (?) face. Brindy won the faceoff, and Horcoff took a penalty for playing with a broken stick to give Carolina the PP. Unlucky penalty, hopefully it won't cost them.
Nope, Carolina didn't do much right away and then Brind'amour backed into Pronger, got up, got bumped by Staios, and took a retaliation penalty (I think they called it interference, but it looked remarkably like crosschecking to me). Peca had an utter beauty chance, all alone in front of Cam Ward, but got his shot gloved and the rebound snuffed. Markkanen proved that Ward's not the only one who can play the pick behind the net . CBC just did a little montage of Peca vs Brind'amour: 5-0 against him on the dot, some good knockdowns, and of course his recent chance. Last change would seem to be a real advantage this series (duh, but still).
#7 Carolina couldn't handle Torres, who didn't get a chance but got the knockdown. He got a chance later though, Peca's line is buzzing and causing Carolina's defense fits. This is more like the kind of hockey I was expecting this series. Somehow Edmonton wound up with a penalty though - missed what happened, the extra beer's lease was up. Markkanen had to make a good save and show some better rebound control. Faceoff, more Carolina pressure, and Markkanen had to be good on Brindy. 8:30 left in the second.
Moreau smoked Brind'amour just as he took a pass - never disappointed to see that. Staal got bookended by Moreau and Smith but came out of it ok. PP expired, but some extended Carolina pressure - no doubt Moreau and Pisani are tired. Finally they cleared it and got a chance to change. Some Edmonton pressure, good save by Ward on Smyth, and then Carolina had their own chances but Markkanen came up big.
Some slack play - mistakes more than anything else, don't mean to imply he's lazy cos he's not - by Dvorak in his own end led to some Carolina possession, and the Oilers had to ice it. Tarnstrom hooked Recchi, and Carolina gets the power play. Moreau hammered Weight in the corner, then the shot went in and the puck was lying in Ward's crotch, Moreau flipped it in but McGeough waved it off - he had lost sight of the puck. A moral goal, anyway, and that seems to have mostly killed Carolina's PP, although they got set up just after and couldn't get a shot away. Some frantic play in Edmonton's end to kill the period, with a great diving clear by Torres, and that's two.
Third period started out at first in Edmonton's end, then Hemsky sent Horcoff and Smyth off, who just missed on a shot. Carolina came back after some faffing about at centre ice, Ward's shot came in and the puck pinballed around, then Markkanen made a beauty save. Carolina won the faceoff and Markkanen made the save off the set play, some more Hurricanes pressure, Pisani bobbled the puck and fell, Brindy set up Stillman by the side of the net, but Stillman got levelled by Smith. Carolina's come out all guns blazing.
Edmonton coughed it up at the Carolina blueline, Whitney almost got away, but Spacek made a nice recovery. Edmonton rush, Dvorak pushed the puck by Hedican, who carefully interfered but McGeough saw him anyway, holding to Bret H and Edmonton's in a position to choke the life out of Carolina with a PP in the third - the way they've been playing, a 2-0 lead will seal the deal.
Some frantic play by Edmonton in Carolina's end, but they couldn't put it away; Spacek and Smyth had some good opportunities, as did Pronger. Still 1-0. Just after the penalty expired, Peca got nailed on the near boards, didn't see who got him (Brind'amour? :) ) but no call. Some more back and forth - Peca got his own back in Carolina's corner - but not much of substance with 13 minutes left.
Staal was lucky to get away with hooking Horcoff at Edmonton's blueline, but Edmonton came away with it anyway - Edmonton's being seduced into trading chances again I guess. Hopefully Markkanen will be equal to the task. The chances came at Carolina's end, but ol Snakebite Dvorak couldn't backhand it in. Some more frantic action in Carolina's end, but nobody could put it home.
11 minutes left, Brind'amour was Johny on the spot again as Smith took a shot in the neck and put the rebound away. Just call him Oilers killer. 1-1 (for Edmonton, as dad and I used to say, since they scored first).
Good news, Smith was out later at least, with 9 minutes left. Edmonton's back a bit, having trouble gaining the zone. Looks like maybe Dvorak's playing in Hemsky's spot next to Horcoff, or else maybe just a late change. Faceoff, puck bounced out in front and Samsonov just missed the top corner on the backhand. Edmonton pressure, but no fruit. Yeah, there's Hemsky with Moreau now - they've seen success in the past.
Pisani and Peca are doing a good job keeping pressure on and getting traffic in front - couple of shot attempts, but nothing doing. 5 minutes left. "Alan Ladd", Harry? Sheesh. Some more trading of chances, Brind'amour's line almost made something happen. Laviolette should play him every second he can too.
2:15 left, Edmonton cleared, some pressure right in front of the net, and somehow it went home with Smyth on the doorstep - looks a bit like Weight's goal in game 2, skate to stick and in. Goal reviewed, but it counts - went off the shaft of his stick. 2-1 Edmonton.
Under 1:40 left, Carolina's frantic, Edmonton cleared it (no icing) and nearly caught Ward out of the net. 1:05 left, Carolina retreating, then a 6 on 5, Edmonton clears with 55 seconds left. 45 seconds left, crowd is going insane. 35 seconds left, Carolina's in again, Weight's still drawing boos. 20 seconds left, Edmonton clears and again no icing. Stillman made a rush, but too little too late and Edmonton wins it.
It's a series again. Edmonton's still got a hole to get out of, but instead of being in a pine box six feet under and the hammer poised, they can see daylight.
Third star, Rod Brind'amour - well-deserved. Ryan Smyth got the second star, barely able to move from the tunnel, and Markkane got the first star.