Start time: approx 2015h Eastern, Edmonton.
I actually listened to some of the interviews before the game.
MacTavish yesterday: "Not to get too corny or carried away, but hockey molds character and reveals character . . . it's gonna be open book on display in the next two games." He doesn't have any confidence problems, at least not in public.
Rumour is Doug Weight is going to be out - he's not been Carolina's best player, but he's one of their better ones and runs the power play. At 35, he's not going to get too many more chances at this. Sucks to be him, sucks to be Carolina, but good news for the Oilers. The Hurricanes will find somebody else to help out though, I'm sure - won't be a series-breaker like Roloson (almost?) was.
Weight was asked to pick a guy who would be a difference maker tonight for Carolina; he chose Erik Cole, who was out for the pre-game skate. Cole himself apparently wouldn't tell Scott Oake if he was going to be playing or not. Intrigue abounds. Cherry doesn't think Cole should play.
Laraque was in a suit at the dressing room door, so I guess Harvey draws in again tonight. Aaron Ward is definitely playing. I think the first 5 minutes will set the tone; first goal will likely win tonight.
Cole's on the bench, so it looks like he's playing.
Edmonton's crowd is no better at the Star Spangled Banner than the Carolina crowd is at O Canada, so I guess that's fair enough. I think the Mountie was a bit late on her salute; hard to blame her, the players were having to yell at each other on the bench. Nice shot of Stephen Harper, remarkably unsurrounded by obvious bodyguards - presumably they're there.
Peca's line starts out for the Oilers; Brind'amour's (with Williams and Vasicek) for Carolina. Torres hit Commodore and Smith nailed a forward right off the bat. Carolina's giving about as good as they're getting right now. Cole took an early shift; got hooked at the blueline and coughed it up. Staios took a penalty on Staal - um, not quite sure how that one works out to interference, because if Staios hadn't knocked him over he'd have been into Markkanen. C'est la vie. Carolina PP 1:30ish in.
Pretty effective PK off the start; Pisani and Moreau controlled the puck briefly in Carolina's zone. Moreau smoked Cole against the boards in the defensive end - I guess his neck's ok. Edmonton had a shorthanded rush, 3 on 1 - if the Hurricanes keep playing like that, they're dead. 1 shot on the power play.
Stoll gave the puck to Whitney, then hit him along the boards to get it back - good recovery. Moreau knocked Vasicek off the puck and took it away; he's playing like the Hurricanes owe him money. So's Harvey, he tested Aaron Ward's shoulder out in the corner.
Stoll's line was flying around, throwing hits and generally wreaking havoc in Carolina's end, forced a turnover, and Hedican got called for roughing - Stoll was ready to drive him through the boards, and he got his elbow up in Stoll's head. Cole had thrown a pretty good hit on Spacek earlier.
20 seconds in to the PP, Murray passed instead of shooting; Samsonov fanned on an empty net shot, Smyth couldn't quite get his stick on the puck at the other side. First minute gone on the PP, but damn. Murray on the first unit, Horcoff on the second. Tarnstrom and Pronger played passy passy on the blueline, ngh. 2 shots on goal in total on the PP.
Carolina had a 3 on 2 off a blown play at their blue line (Murray and Harvey played who's got it, looked like - think it was Harvey), some nice passing between Staal and Cole, and Edmonton had to ice it. Halfway through now. If my prediction of first 5 minutes will set the tone for the night, I'd better go put some more beer in the fridge cos it's going to be a long night.
Hedican jumped and tried to piledrive Torres's head through the boards behind Carolina's net, and that drew a penalty and some scrumming after the whistle. Hedican shook his head in the box after - not sure why, that was a pretty clear penalty.
Couple of shots right near the start of the PP. First unit looks to be Torres, Horcoff, Pronger, Hemsky, Spacek now. I'd have thought second unit since it's late in the power play, but... I guess no Smyth, Stoll, or Samsonov on that one. Now Pronger, Stoll, Torres and a couple others I missed before the change came out. Moreau and Tarnstrom seeing some PP time near the end.
Edmonton coughed it up as Greene missed the pass back to the blueline, and #2 was lucky to not take a holding or interference penalty, then Markkanen played Marty Turco and came flying out to play it - Tarnstrom probably saved a goal with the 'canes circling the empty net and the puck bouncing around. Greene made a shot block just before that; Edmonton cleared and Smyth had a good chance at the other end. SOG right now are 8-2 Edmonton.
Cam Ward made a good stop on Torres, and Jason "Ryan" Smith "Smyth" came in to try to get the (lack of a) rebound; Torres and Brind'amour exchanged telephone numbers afterwards. Some Carolina pressure with little effect and no shots - 10-2 Edmonton now. Cole hammered Spacek into the boards from about 3 feet away - guess he's fine. Carolina buzzed, but again, nothing despite a good Staal chance; Edmonton came back and we're back to slugging it out near the Carolina blueline and at centre ice.
Pisani got called, not entirely sure where or why. Hooking - yeah, he had his stick around Vasicek's midsection. Another late call though - Jason Smith had the puck for a couple of shakes before they called it offside. Good call, but late. Period 1 almost ended the same way period 4 did last game, with an Edmonton shorthanded breakaway, but Moreau couldn't quite get it done.
Stephen Harper on for an interview: nothing terribly insightful said, but he does obviously know what he's talking about. Cole: "Make him a scout when he loses the next election." Uh, yeah sure there. Attempt at a recovery: " . . . because politicians are like coaches, you know." Harper said hello to his son, heh.
Edmonton in shorthanded, Stoll made a good shot and Murray was right on the rebound - couple good saves by C. Ward. Then right away, a too many men penalty on Carolina. Not sure where that one came from, CBC couldn't find it either.
Edmonton went to the PP as Pisani came out, Spacek hammered a shot on goal (looks like Edmonton's going 3 high on the PP now) , got the rebound and passed it across, Hemsky -> Pisani, and a backhander in - two consecutive goals for the man who was virtually nameless all season. Lowetide must be grinning like a Cheshire cat. #2 helped out with a hearty deflection. Hopefully my first goal wins proves accurate - 1-0 Edmonton on their first home PPG since Christ was a Private (never mind a Corporal).
Another call muffup - Wesley got his hands and stick in Hemsky's face, and the ref blew the whistle as the Oilers controlled the puck. Good call, bad time. Not much doing on the power play, but right after Samsonov had a beauty chance out front all by himself - he outwaited Hedican and then couldn't quite get the shot away after as the Hurricane lay down for the shotblock.
Stillman put his stick on Spacek, who Forsberged himself to the ice, and now it's a 4 on 4. Carolina came in, Pronger rode Recchi all the way in and hammered him into the boards, and the puck squirted free behind the net for Smith to knock down another cane - Brind'amour. Oilers are still in an ugly mood.
Faceoff after a Carolina icing, Recchi and Pronger skated together, and this time it was Pronger that got the good news. Edmonton came back, Dvorak made a good pass across to Stoll, and Ward got his glove on it. Harvey knocked Staal down with no call, Staal took exception to it. Harvey's lucky he didn't get called for tripping on Commodore. Shots are 17-3 Edmonton now. Greene filled in a Hurricane standing just above the circles with his head down.
Jason Smith blew a clear, Williams was looking dangerous, and Pronger put him down with a contemptuous shove. Edmonton cleared, Peca almost had it but got ridden into the boards, puck went back to the point and Staios took the shot, Torres made the tip, and it's 2-0 with the shots now 18-3. Shots of Harper high-5ing people in the crowd - hum, Chretien was PM for what, 12 years, and I never saw him at a hockey game in with the peons, that's for sure.
Carolina rush with Staal, called as Hedican takes his third minor penalty. He looks pretty frustrated in the box, can't say as I blame him, although it was a fair cop - he took Horcoff's trailing leg out from under him at the boards.
The Hurricanes just can't clear on the PK - Edmonton's passing it around at will, Smyth Peca and Spacek have all had good chances. Smyth's was the best of all - looks like they're back to their B game, at least - if they had their A game back, this one would be a laugher. Shots now 20-3 Edmonton, Carolina hasn't had one yet this period. Laviolette called a timeout, he's practically yelling himself into a coronary on the bench. 6:50 left now, shots this period are 11-0 YKH.
Edmonton iced it, and Wallin almost had Carolina's first shot of the period at about 5:45, right off the faceoff; I think they did sneak a shot in on the ensuing scrum. Looks like Carolina's going to try a bit of a torpedo attack, and Edmonton's shifted back to a 2-2-1 I think. 4:20 left, Edmonton's content to jam at the puck along the Carolina boards, but the Hurricanes finally cleared and Cole had a good drive to the net, then took it right off with Spacek as a missile. No surprise that Cole had 30 goals in 60 games this season.
Faceoff, Recchi was powering around the boards and Tarnstrom grabbed him before he got the puck: 2 for interference, Carolina's PP. They controlled the play most of the first minute, but missed the net on their one shot attempt. Great pokecheck on Whitney by Smith. Too much passing by Carolina, terrible clears by the Oilers - Peca missed 3 chances. Finally with 6 seconds left, Carolina got a shot. Faceoff, Carolina rushed the net and got a shot, lots of pleasantries flying with the puck loose in the crease, and after Markkanen covered it up. (Hey, they whistled it after that, good job refs!)
Faceoff, some scrumming, and Hemsky had a breakaway, but Jason Smith had been called for interference. Matt Greene is on the bench going "hey, it's not me!". CBC can't find the penalty, and if what they found was it, I'm not sure that wasn't an evening up call, but that's life. Carolina can't get a shot on the PP, first minute killed by too much passing and a good Peca clear. Moreau knocked over a 'cane. Pronger lost his stick and held back a Hurricane while digging for the puck - that likely should have been a call. Just as the period ended, Moreau had given his stick to Pronger and blocked the shot, looked like that hurt bad - Stillman shot. Good block, period over: shots that period were 11-4 Edmonton, goals are 2-0 Edmonton.
Third period started out with a Peca chance that Ward stopped, and a Recchi chance that Markkanen didn't have to. Carolina controlled the play for a minute in Edmonton's end, but couldn't get a shot - isn't that how the whole game has gone so far for the canes? 3 on 1 for Edmonton, and poor Dvo can't buy a goal. They go upstairs on it - but no goal. Great play all around, but Dvorak looks like he wants to cry - what's the poor bastard have to do to get a Dvorak 1 (Samsonov, Stoll) on the scoresheet?
Carolina controlled the play in Edmonton's zone, but Whitney grabbed an Oiler and off he goes. Edmonton PP - they could really use some insurance now. Smyth provided it, on a nice backhand on a rush with Peca in support. 3-0 Oilers. Shortly after that, a weird one as Carolina takes a too many men on the ice.
Horcoff should have had a hooking penalty with Staal in deep on the PK (fair's fair) and about 50 seconds left on the PP. Some back and forthing, not much on the PP; near chance for Peca at one end, it came back and near chance for Carolina at the other. Another Peca rush, another Hurricanes rush - Carolina's playing more desperate hockey now. Shots are 28-8 despite that. Greene took a penalty - interference with Whitney, who went down a bit easily but that's a penalty. Carolina needs a goal or they're likely sunk.
Peca made an attempted shot block sliding on his butt - that's a new one on me. 5 forward PP, a la London Kaaa-nigggitts. Pisani and Peca got away, Pisani had a near breakaway on the PK, Staal hooked him and now it's 4 on 4. No, I don't think that was penalty shot worthy, although it was close.
Edmonton's PP didn't do much at all, until a very late rush by Dvorak and Horcoff - Dvo to Horcoff, and now at least poor Radek can get on the scoresheet. 4-0 Edmonton, and Carolina's in a world of hurt.
Matt Cullen and Raffi Torres got mixed up behind Carolina's net, Cullen speared Raffi and they jawed at each other, Pronger and Vasicek were exchanging pleasantries too - not much came of that, but Cullen came out with a roughing penalty. Looks like the Oilers got a bit jump-happy, and they quickly took a too many men penalty - I wonder if their changes are being thrown off a bit by the noise?
No matter, not much happened and it's game over - 4-0 Edmonton. Back to Carolina, where anything can happen.
Lots of beer left, Monday night should be a good one.