The talk of the town is the resurgent powerplay. In the pregame podcast, both players and coach credit the improved play to "chemistry". I think I can buy that explanation; After all, two of the five players on our 'first unit' are new to the team this season.
Unfortunately I have class until 5:30 and a 45 minutes trip home, so I should be picking this game up shortly after the puck drops. For those of you that don't have access to the pay per view feed, you can join me and catch the game on sopcast channel 31511.
5 Minutes info the first period.
- 1-0 Kings. I turn the game on just in time to see Grebs with the blown coverage on O'Sullivan.
- 83 takes a bad penalty 50 feet from his own net. Kings go on the powerplay. This is a big kill, if we go down 2-0 this game is as good as over. The Kings have the 4th best powerplay in the league. That's not really surprising considering all the talent.
- Nice play by 44 as he knocks the puck down on the PK and clears it down the ice. 24 and 44 are starting to look gassed out there, we really need a whistle here.
- 25 with a solid play breaking up a Frolov break out pass. The Kings get numerous quality chances, but the Oilers successfully get the kill.
- PPV announcer (Kevin Quinn?) talks up 5's season. How far do you have to have your head up your ass to think he's had a good season.
- 12 shows he's not just a skill guy with a real nice dump and chase. Unfortunately it doesn't lead to much as LA moves the puck out of the zone and generates a bunch of chances. Garon comes up big with saves on Johnson in the high slot and a cross ice one-timer by Blake.
- 18 catches Handzus with his head down. As bad as we have looked so far this game, at least we have a physical presence.
- A nice long shift by 19-16-89. However, I knew it was over when I heard Quinn say that Staios had chipped it into the corner and Gagner was going to get it. Predictably Gagner lost the battle and LA cleared it down ice.
- 44 with an ill-advised clear up the middle of the ice. Vishnovsky gets a chance and Garon makes a solid save.
- Stortini does his best punching bag impression. Still, the kid deserves credit for going out there and sacrificing his body for the good of his team. Win or loss, I'm sure getting punched by a 250 lb. goon still hurts.
- WOW. Chopper absolutely destroys Jack Johnson behind the Kings net. That was sick.
END OF THE FIRST PERIOD.
From what I saw we played pretty poorly at the start of the period. Despite the bad start, we ended the first with some solid physical play. I really think that's a good way to approach a team like LA. Chopper talks about the bad start and the improvement over the last 5 minutes of the period. I gotta agree with his analysis, the team looked a lot better in the last five.
- We need 27-10-83 to play like they did Sunday versus Calgary. A nice start to the period as Penner and Hemsky both have SCs.
- Great play by 77. After a minute+ of sustained pressure in the Kings zone, he chases down O'Sullivan and stops a potential break away. I'm really surprised he was able to catch him there, I thought that he would be gassed after such a long shift.
- 2-0 Kings. Pitkanen and Nilsson combine to give away the fuck at the Oilers blue line. It's really unfortunate that the Kings managed to capitalize on their first chance of the period.
- 24 bails out Garon and clears a puck out of the crease. Top line has a pretty brutal defensive break down, giving O'Sullivan a clear run to the net.
- Oilers put a bunch of shots on the net. Problem is they are all coming well from the outside and there doesn't seem to be anyone ready to bang in a rebound.
- It really seems like Hemsky LA is doing a good job shutting us down off of the rush. Hemsky has had numerous chances gaining the LA zone with speed but hasn't been able to do anything with it.
- Oilers barely miss out on a goal. 37 looks good as he walks in from the point and puts a puck off of Blake's leg that nearly goes in.
- Oilers PP. MacT leaves the top unit out there for an offensive zone draw despite 1 minute having already gone by in the PP. They generate a couple chances capped by a Souray blocked shot. Second unit also looked good in limited minutes, highlighted by Gagner taking the puck to the net and almost jamming it in.
- Souray with a real nice stuff of Brown at the Oilers blue line. Again, I think this is the key to beating LA (that and of course scoring some damn goals).
END OF THE SECOND PERIOD.
So far this has been a bit of a weird game. From what I've seen the Oilers have been unable to establish any sort of offensive flow. Most of the plays off of the rush seem to lead to blocked shots or pucks heading into the corners. The cycle game has been relatively effective but has still yet to lead to a goal. I think to win tonight we are going to need at least one special teams goal and a goal from our top line.
- Slow start to the third period. We can't seem to generate any offense on the rush. Since when can LA play defense? I don't know how many times I've heard about LA getting their sticks on Oiler shots. Hemsky alone has had at least half of his shots blocked.
- Penner gets a great chance and LaBarbera comes up with a big save. It's really too bad, that's probably the best chance we have had this game.
- 18 takes a typical dumb penalty. Maybe we can score shorthanded?
- 3-0 Kings. That's a no on the SHG. LA gets a lucky bounce and Vishnovsky pots it into an open net.
- Chopper gets robbed down low by LaBarbera and Brodziak can't put the rebound into the open net. That's a huge missed opportunity. I think it's safe to say that this game is over.
- 89 does his best 'Joff' impression and fails to clear the puck out of his zone despite a lot of time and space.
- 44 has gone to the dressing room, let's hope it's just an equipment issue.
- 3-1 Kings. Penner with a steal down low and no mistake on the finish. Unfortunately it's probably too little too late. I think the Brodziak miss right after the Vishnovsky goal is going to be the difference in this game.
- Garon with a fantastic save down low against Nagy and then gets back into position to stop the rebound. It's good he's still making big saves, shows his head is still in this game.
- Dive, Dive, Dive. That should be two and two. With 3 and a half minutes left, you can't give cheap penalties like that. Good on Dustin Brown though, he has a Ryan Kesler Hattrick: a goal, some whining, and a dive.
END OF THE THIRD PERIOD.
The team came out of the gate too slow and gave up goals at key moments. I was really impressed by LA's defensive game, they stayed out of the box and kept most of the shots to the outside. Still, a 4-1 home stand is certainly a success.