Sunday, January 13, 2008
LiveBlogging: Flames @ Oil.
I'll be doing live commentary during tonights game.
In the pre-game scrum, MacT talked about putting a big stretch of wins together and getting back into some sort of post season picture. I know it's his job to stay positive, but I don't buy that he thinks this team can make the playoffs. For the first time in a long time, the team is healthy and has put together a stretch of games where they looked like the best team on the ice. However, they did it against two teams from the East that have been struggling and an overachieving Coyotes squad. Before I'm convinced the Oilers can go on a real run, they'll have to show me they can beat legitimate playoff teams (Canucks, Flames, Stars, Wings), and LOOK like they deserved to win.
As for tonights game, I think we can steal one if Garon plays exceptional. I'm curious to see if MacT tries to run 27-10-83 against Iginla or if he tries to keep them away so they can focus on scoring. Also, I wonder if the kids can have another big game against the largely veteran Flame bottom six. My guess is if we win it's going to be a low scoring affair, with points from the powerplay and the top line.
- More sopcast problems. At this rate I might just have to sign up for Centre Ice Online at the halfway point of the season. The game is on channel 31511, but the buffer can't seem to get over 70%, so the image is pretty choppy. Hopefully it settles before the puck drops.
- Stream just shot up to 100% during the pre-game commercials. If you don't have the ability to watch the game, I'd suggesting downloading the sopcast player and clicking the link in the last post.
- Top line with a nice early rush. Looks like MacT is going to use Iginla to check Stoll. I suspected that would be his choice.
- Grebeshkov with a stupid give away then a lazy penalty. Where is Tarnstrom...
- The PK comes up big and the Flames get nothing out of their early powerplay.
- Stoll wtih a nice little move on a 1on1, the guy actually is starting to look like a valuable NHL player again. I wonder how much of his resurgence can be credited to an increase in confidence. Shooters in particular seem susceptible to confidence slumps. It would be great for the Oil if confidence was his problem, rather than lingering concussion issues.
- Hemsky with a nice move on Eriksson, turning him inside out and drawing a penalty. Oilers PP.
- 1-0 Oilers. I was JUST about to comment on how the Flames know how to effectively play against an Oiler powerplay (eg: pressure the hell out of the puck carrier) and then we score. Shows how much I know.
- 18 shows us why players like him are essential to winning games. He shows no fear as he takes the puck to the net. Lombardi, coming in on the backcheck, inadvertently takes out his own goaltender (shades of MAB anyone). Driving the puck to the net is a sign of a team that isn't afraid to get a bit dirty, something that this Oiler team has been lacking all year.
- Smid with a sick give away just inside his own blue line. Good thing he was out there against Boyd and Marcus Nilsson. As long as MacT can keep 5-35 away from anyone with any talent, they have a chance to get out of this game without hurting their team on the scoresheet.
- 89 shows us why he should never be on the ice at the same time as Iginla. A careless neutral zone pass leads to an Iginla charge and a Flame chance.
- MacT seems to be content getting 27-10-83 out there versus Tanguay's line. We'll see if Keanen tries to get away from that match up.
- Again Stoll looks like a reborn player. I honestly can't remember the last time he drove the net like that. He gets a great chance down low and forces Kipper to nake a big save.
- Oilers takes a bad penalty. Let's see if the PK can be as effective as it was in the first kill. Good start as Souray wins a battle down low and Horc carries the puck up ice.
- Robyn Regehr on the powerplay. I've seen him out there a few times this year, and he seems to have a decent shot. Now I know that the Flames don't have much offense on their blue line, but you'd think a forward would be better in that spot.
END OF THE FIRST PERIOD.
A fast paced physical first period. The Oilers convert on their only powerplay, and the PK gives up very little in two Flame opportunities.
- 2-0 Oilers. WOW. I participate in a h2h yahoo pool. I am playing MattM this week, and as of 10 seconds ago we were tied in the goals category. Talk about taking the lead in style. Hemmer makes a ridiculous move and turns Robyn Regehr into a pylon. I remember an interview with Hemsky shortly after Regehr nearly killed him the last time these teams met in the BoA. He basically said that the hit was clean but commented that Regehr (and this is a loose quote) "didn't have to try and kill (him)". It's nice to see Hemmer get a little bit of revenge.
- Flames powerplay gets a number of quality chances as the Oilers start to run around a bit in their zone. MacT really needs to settle this team down.
- We are playing with 'fire' here. The Oilers take their 2nd too many men penalty of the game. Souray starts the PK right after a long ES shift. I question Huddy's choice there, time and time again I've seen Souray looking gassed on the ice. I think playing him as often as they are is counterproductive to the idea that players should be put in situations where they can be as effective as possible.
- 46-51-12 with a real solid shift down low. With Tanguay and Nolan on the ice, the aforementioned line generates a couple chances and keeps the puck in deep.
- Oilers get lucky as a bad change leads to a Tanguay-Nolan chance and Pitkanen comes up with a big skate save.
- We are starting to look a little too passive for my liking. Shades of recent blown leads are coming to mind. The team needs to put a bit of pressure on the Flames.
- 77 with a real nice separation play on Tanguay at the Oilers half boards. He calmly pins him to the boards and plays the puck back to Pitkanen. The play reminded me of how Hejda would separate guys last year. I really miss the guy and I think Lowe's biggest off season mistake was not re-signing the guy.
- 27 literally throws Lombardi off of him behind the Flames net. Ferraro comments on the mismatch and it couldn't be any more obvious.
- A couple nice shifts from 27-10-83 and 19-16-89 lead to some nice Oiler pressure.
- Staios gets beat wide and takes a penalty. Flames PP. Garon makes a brutal give away but comes up with a big save.
END OF THE SECOND PERIOD.
Another solid Oiler period. The team got lucky with some bounces and Garon came up big on numerous occasions. Tanguay's line had a couple chances, but with the exception of the late drive by Huselius leading to the Staios penalty, the Flames top line has been ineffective. If we can keep them from getting going offensively in the third, I think we have a really good chance at coming away with a win.
- The Flames start the period on the PP and Iginla gets a golden chance down low. Later, Gilbert makes a real heady play and intercepts a neutral zone pass. We need this to be our last PK of this game. With every powerplay, the Flames have looked more and more dangerous.
- Hemsky makes another great play but unfortunately Cogs can't finish. I said it about Penner during the Isles game, and I'll say it about Cogliano. If you are on the ice with Ales Hemsky, keep your head up, stick on the ice, and EXPECT to receive a pass.
- 2-1 Oilers. The Flames get a bit lucky as Langkow's backhand goes off of Staios and into the back of the net. If the Oilers play like they have in recent collapses, we will likely be in for a disappointing third period. The team really needs to keep the pressure on.
- Chopper hits the post after some nice work by Pisani along the boards. This shift by 18-13-34 is EXACTLY what we need right now. The Flames ice the puck to relieve the pressure.
- MacT goes to the top line against a tired Calgary five. Unfortunately, they fail to generate any scoring chances.
- A real nice rush by Iginla's line. Staios does a real nice job tying up Huselius and preventing an easy bang in on the rebound.
- A quality 2 on 1 with Pisani leading the rush. 34 shows some real patience and forces Kipper to make a huge save. 18-13-34 have had a real solid game together.
- More solid offensive zone pressure generated by 27-10-83 and 5-35. I've noticed that MacT loves to put 5-35 out there with the top line. I think it's a great choice, not so much because Horc et al help on the backcheck, but rather because they keep the puck up ice and thus out of our zone.
- For the third time this game, Gagner carries the puck into the Flames zone and promptly gives it away. If this kid is going to stick on a line with 16 and 19, he needs to understand that their strength lies on the cycle, and that he needs to get it in deep to generate offense.
- 25 shows us why he is considered one of the premium young offensive defensemen in the NHL. A small sneaky play leads to a nice Oiler chance and forces Kipper to cover the puck. Offensive zone faceoff coming up for the Oilers. Look for 27-10-83 to hit the ice for the draw after the lengthy TV timeout.
- An odd choice by MacT. He puts 19-16-89 out there versus the Iginla line after the TV time out. It seems to me that there is a time to check and there is a time to go PVP. Gotta get your best scorers out there for offensive draws with 5 minutes left.
- Penner fights off two Flames and holds the puck in deep giving his mates an opportunity to change.
- Crowd starts a Calgary sucks chant. I really hate those types of chants. They are awfully popular here in Vancouver at GM place.
- 19-16-89 get pinned in their zone for an extended amount of time. 16 makes a great diving play to clear it out. Keanen gets 12 out there and Gagner wisely FINALLY GETS OFF THE ICE. I am absolutely POSITIVE that he is getting an earful from MacT right now. Horcoff and Penner had already changed and had been out there for at least 15 seconds. Gagner looked as if he was going to join the rush, but probably heard MacT screaming at him to get off the ice. Shortly thereafter 83 hits the ice and DOUBLE DION comes up big with two saves on Penner down low.
END OF THE THIRD.
An epic hockey game that left me with chills in the final minute. I love how MacT had 27(and 18)-10-83-25-77 out there for the final minute. While 25 made a gaff under pressure in his own zone late, 77 made a great play on Tanguay and stopped him from taking it to the front of the net just before time expired.