I was finally able to catch an Oilers game - yesterday afternoon's matinee against the Avalanche. Overall, not a terrible game by the Oil. They choked a bit in the second, but were able to weather the storm, and a couple of bounces after some hard work went their way for a change and they took a two goal lead. Sakic's heroics - man I love Sakic, but why does he always have to kill the Oilers? - almost got Colorado the point after all, but they were able to hold off the 6 man attack in the end. I think the game was closer to what the 3-2 score said rather than the 39-28 shots total - Roli had to make a few good saves, but it's not like Budaj was stinking it up at the other end. (Still, a few bounces less and the Oilers are in the same spot they've been a lot this season: B+ for effort, F for results.)
What was good to see, and the real reason I clicked "New Post" was the play of Lupul and Smid. Both of them were taking the body - it would appear that Wolfman isn't sulking after his public dressing down by MacTavish last week, at least. Neither will ever be confused for Torres or Pronger on the ice, but Lupul squeezed some guys off pretty well on the boards, and wasn't shy in the corner. Smid too, and after the commentators were talking about how Colorado only had one fight this year (what?) he even got Rycroft to drop the gloves after the Colorado player ran into Roloson. Stortini was angry too, although no ice time starting about halfway through the game makes me wonder if MacT wished he'd laid off a bit at the end of the first period. Then again, his big-body buddy Winchester didn't see any ice either - neither were particularly effective in what little time they did have, so maybe it was just MacTavish shortening the bench in a tightly-contested game.
I was reading somewhere somebody (one of the half-dozen or so Oilers weblogs that I read) made the comment that they wished Hemsky wouldn't shoot in some circumstance or another. No man, what are you saying? Do not wish young Ales would not shoot in any particular circumstances, not when he's finally realizing that the net is there for something other than to put between him and a defender on one of his trips around the offensive zone. Besides, the difference between a screened seeing-eye shot like the one we saw yesterday and between one that bounces off somebody's shinpad and makes Hemsky look foolish is about a quarter of an inch each time multiplied by three or four people + the goalie.
Anyway, it was a fun game to watch. I didn't think there were too many bad calls (maybe one or two missed and a weak one), Roloson was pretty good after his short break, Edmonton's blueline was good enough, and hey - the good guys won. What else can a guy ask for? (Beer, in answer to my own rhetorical question, but broke + kids over "working" on a school project meant I was regrettably sober as the proverbial judge.)