Game 4, 25 May 2006, start time approx 2000h Eastern.
Giguere is back in for Anaheim. I think I saw Torres going out, and BG is definitely playing (as if there'd be any question). Radek Dvorak just skated out, so Peterson's definitely out - I'm torn on that. Peterson deserves another chance, but Dvorak's the guy who helped get them there in the first place.
Crunch time for the Ducks: they'll want to come out fired up if they want a chance at all. I think they had their chance last game to weaken the Oilers, and mostly blew it - now's their chance at redemption.
I missed it last game, but Leaureau (I misspelled his name I'm sure) held the mic up again this game; anybody still wondering why they do the anthems?
15 seconds in, already an Oilers rush. 45 seconds in, another one. No shots though.
Looks like the Stoll line is back together, and Peca's between Dvorak and Torres again; Moreau moves back to the fourth line with Murray and Laraque.
First shift for Peca's line saw the puck deep in Anaheim's zone again; Torres and Dvorak don't look at first as if they've missed much of a beat.
Moreau gave the puck away with a backhand pass into the middle, and Pahlsson gobbled it up for a quick shot, and Roloson had to make a fast reflex save.
Rob Niedermayer and Jarret Stoll bumped at the blueline, RN knocked Stoll over and went in to pick up the puck. Neale: "Stoll is with Samsonov and Hemsky tonight, that's a bit of a switch." No, Harry, it isn't, that's mostly how they played until Torres got hurt - especially vs Detroit. sigh. I know he didn't call that first series, but is it too much to ask that he at least look at the shift charts with the same care we fans do? I mean, I have a day job. Oh well.
5 minutes in, Edmonton's had lots of rushes and possession but no shots; Anaheim's had little possession but a couple of shots.
Anaheim had a rush and a shot; Moen whacked Rolo's glove and gave him a snow shower, then got Laraque in his face. Hrm, Perry took Moen's spot, but I think I saw Perry on the ice too; who's out? (Later: ah, Fedoruk.) Missed the Ducks lineup. Another Ducks shot, Roloson made a snowman and the puck squirted loose, just as the whistle went. Looks like it's more of the same from G3 for Roloson.
6 some minutes in, Scott Niedermayer coughed up the puck as the Oilers forwards were all between him and the Ducks forwards, and Horcoff got Edmonton's first shot.
So far this game, the Ducks are doing a good job taking away the boards near the Oilers blueline. Edmonton wound up icing the puck, then in the scrum off the faceoff, the Ducks had a couple of whacks at it and Spacek kicked it in as he battled Marchant at the side of the net. 1-0 Ducks - first lead for Anaheim all series.
Ethan Moreau took an interference penalty, then on the PK Ryan Smyth took a hooking penalty against Scott Niedermayer I think it was, so a 1 minute+ 5-3 will give the Ducks PP a chance to finally do some damage. Roloson made a beauty save on MacDonald as he had a second short-side chance (first one missed). Part of the beauty was he anticipated the pass across, and he was able to anticipate it because it was telegraphed from across the country. Edmonton cleared the puck and that finished the 5-3, and a Duck was double-teamed on the boards just before Rolo got another chance to show off his goalie abilities. Shots now: Ducks 12 Oilers 1.
Faceoff, Lupul pushed and shoved with Moreau - mistake, he wound up on his ass on the ice. Too bad the Oilers aren't able to do that to the rest of the Ducks on the ice - Corey Perry just had a nice move and managed to get a shot away, despite a stick lift from Staios. Shots now are 15-2.
Smyth finally managed to get a decent chance, and Giguere finally got a chance to make a good save, off a Friesen giveaway.
Weird play on the 2-0 goal as Dvorak couldn't stop Marchant from crashing the crease and then bumped Roloson just to add injury to insult, and Pronger was actually unable to reach something despite being stretched out full length with his stick.
Edmonton finally got some pressure on from Ryan Smyth's line, but couldn't convert, and eventually the puck came back after Corey Perry made a nice clear and Selanne went in. Edmonton's simply unable to do anything with the puck - they keep turning it over.
Samsonov took a too many men, then Getzlaf knocked Pronger off balance, Smith cleared the puck over the glass, and another 5-3 for 1:45 or so. The only thing saving the Oilers this period is as good as the Ducks are at 5-5, they're freaking lousy on the PP. Determined to dig their hole deeper, Edmonton took another penalty before the puck went in - finally a cross-ice pass worked for them. 3-0 Anaheim.
I wouldn't mind the Oilers taking penalties so much if they were from aggression, but they've been stupid penalties or bench penalties - lousy way to lose a game. Anaheim outshot the Oilers 25-3 on the period. Edmonton sure isn't playing like they want to see the Finals any time soon. Well, it had to happen - they haven't played extremely poorly yet these playoffs, it was only a matter of time before they turned in a couple of stinky smelly periods in a row. Hopefully they've had their two and they can pull out another 5 goal game - that's what it's going to take to win this one.
Second period: Edmonton wins the draw, a Duck goes in with the puck. How does that work again?
First penalty killed, on the second one Spacek's fat feet worked for him this time and he deflected a pass, or it'd be 4-0 now. Pisani went in and got tripped up, and now Edmonton's on the power play. Samsonov got hooked down by Pahlsson near the Oilers net, and now Edmonton gets their own chance at a 5-3. If Edmonton doesn't score on this, they're in deep deep trouble.
Once Edmonton got over the faceoff troubles, they gained the zone and passed it around well - one-timer from Spacek got a shot on goal, twice in a row. Hemsky grabbed Niedermayer, and now it's a 4-3. Getzlaf didn't like his team being so close, so he tripped Horcoff, and then for good measure tried to make Samsonov's spine come out his chest with a crosscheck. Oilers passed the puck around, and MacTavish finally grew a brain and put Bergeron out on the point, who blasted it by Giguere, this time with Horcoff's ass in Giggy's face instead of Smyth's.
I'm having some Internet trouble, it's distracting, but looks like Staios took a crazy penalty - guess the refs don't like 5-5 hockey. The Ducks finally took a goalie interference penalty - got Roloson's leg caught in his and knocked him down. Normally I'd wonder why that was really a penalty, but.. well, it's 3-3 now. Salei put the puck by Roloson on a weird shot, score's 4-1 now, and I've totally lost track of who has penalties where.
Edmonton's still not hitting - they need to get that going. Pronger went after Pahlsson just after the whistle, and got knocked over. I know much was being made about his patience and tolerance vs the Wings, and how much better a player he is with that, but maybe he needs to forget that this game. They're going to call anything a penalty anyway, so why not make it worth it?
Short break cos somebody peanutted the ice, and Edmonton came back out hitting - Selanne tried to hit Pronger on the boards, the puck went by, the shot came in, and now it's 4-2 off a Smyth deflection.
Faceoff, puck came in to the Oilers end, and Lupul crashed the net - Roloson got smoked and the net went flying.
Another series of rushes by the Oilers - Georges finally gets some icetime, and he makes the most of it as Murray crushed two Ducks in the corner, then BG walked out in front of Giggy and showed the hands that got a hat trick a few years ago. Neale: "Murray should have had a penalty because he left his feet!" Um, yeah, if everybody who did that got a penalty then nobody would be able to hit Pronger, that gets non-called all the time and I'm actually pretty happy to not hear a whistle for a change.
Some more wild play, Edmonton's been outshooting the Ducks, but now the score is 5-3 from a very strange play off the faceoff - Marchant kicked the puck to Lupul, who just wired it over Roloson's shoulder.
Salei got mugged by Horcoff in the corner and came out of it with the penalty - undeserved, but on the other hand with 3 five on threes, the Ducks had better be on their best behaviour.
The third period has been a lot of back and forth, with I think the Oilers mostly carrying the play but the Ducks getting the best couple of scoring chances. Roloson tried to give the puck away on the power play, passing in front of his empty net with a Duck cruising in the neighbourhood.
Getzlaf takes a tripping penalty and for some reason can't figure out why, after he mugged Moreau on the breakout. Nice to see the refs are back to calling reasonable penalties, anyway. Neale: "He doesn't seem too upset, at least" Um, right.Hemsky's making some good plays - broke his stick on the forecheck, went back, got another stick, and forced Scott Niedermayer to haul him down.
If Edmonton can score, they have a chance in the game; if they can't, they're likely sunk. MacT's still playing Bergeron on the #1 unit, with Stoll and Pronger. Lots of passing around on the 5-3, but they couldn't get more than one shot on goal - now it's the Ducks doing a good job getting in the shooting lanes.
Scott Niedermayer went in on a breakaway out of the box - great chance, better save by Roloson, but now there's 6 minutes left and the Oil are still down by 2. Hemsky's cruising dangerously, he's on at least.
Greene hammered Moen at the Ducks blueline - ouch. A moral victory, at least. Lupul got the empty-netter, and it's 6-3.
What the Oilers did right: um. Short list. Not much?
What they did wrong: too many penalties from nowhere near enough actual agressive play.
What the Ducks did right: almost everything. That wasn't a 6-3 game though, more like 9-1. Their power play wasn't that good, but they got enough chances that it didn't need to be.
What the Ducks did wrong: didn't let Giguere get enough work, maybe? So his save percentage got hurt. Yeah, I know, that's a stretch.
I predict though, that the Oilers will come out hard in Anaheim and finish the Ducks 4 games to 1.