Ethan Moreau describes the Oilers strategy against the Wings as "selective pressure": a clogged neutral zone with two forwards trying to make good reads on when to forecheck. Early in the game, we got to see the Oilers' other strategy: take really dumb penalties and hope Detroit doesn't score.
Ah, but this is where Dwayne Roloson's .935 SV% shimmers like sparkling wine. It's not like Roloson is making supersick saves in a 1997 Curtis Joseph sense; but he's definitely looking more calm and assertive than he ever has in his 20-25 games as an Oiler. His glove hand looked good, and if he popped out any rebounds Roli managed to keep them clear from the high slot. His little eyes-shut zen meditation thing between plays seems to work, and more importantly it's miles away from the scared flailing that passed for goaltending early in the season.
Goaltending gave us a chance, but the real difference was defence once again. When it comes to veracity, Giveaways can be a dubious stat, but with 28 tallies Detroit almost doubled Edmonton in that margin, most notably on two of the Oilers goals. Red Wings fans are already starting to shun Manny Legace like he has cholera, but the Oilers have either scored on the Powerplay (which has kept pace with Detroit's) or from good pinches by their defenceman that lead to crazy tip-ins. Thank the lord for the Orbs, with a team-leading 7 points in 5 games. Wrapping it up in the third, the Oilers held on to the lead playing some shut-down hockey, scrambling to stop shots with their faces if need be (a gilded foam finger goes to Horcoff for that one). Good game.
And so, after failed attempts, good times at the Friendnasium. The rest of Saturday was the dazed, sated afterglow that comes with a 3-2 series lead and a feeling that maybe, just maybe, life isn't all a meaningless shitswirl of cruelty and chaos afterall. Onward to "E-Town"!
My one game note:
An octopus was tossed on the ice with 20 seconds left, leaving me to presume that some fan kept seafood in his pants for the entire game. Nice tradition you have there, Detroitonians.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Posted by mike w at 9:33 PM