San Jose 3
Sleek and economical, like a friendly puma, the Oilers did just enough to win again, with the help of a complete San Jose meltdown in their most important game of the year. San Jose's five consecutive penalties, all dumb, pretty much gave the game to the Oilers, heading back home. Joe Thornton, looking notably petulant and grumpy, sealed the game with a silly slash on Shawn Horcoff late in the third, while Vesa Toskala is starting to resemble the Riddler with all of the questions marks swirling over his head going into Game 6 (unwarranted in the goalie's case, but I'll welcome the distraction).
The playoffs, as Ottawa fans know, is almost always unfair. If feels like 80 per cent of this series has been played in the Oilers' own zone, but the real difference has been the willingness of Oilers defencemen to risk IQ-obliterating slapshots to the face. Steve Staios took one off the forehead, Pronger blocked everything (using his eerie technique of outwaiting shooters, sometimes not even moving to block the shot) and has made Jason Smith into some sort of gladiator with offensive upside. Matt Greene and Marc-Andre Bergeron, however, scare me immensely. San Jose did an excellent job sealing the puck in the Oilers' zone, and with the icings and home team line changes, I almost couldn't bear to watch Thornton's line up against our back pair. But then there's goaltending: without Dwayne Roloson sucking in rebounds, San Jose would have consummated puck control with actual goals scored, and I'd be a very sad little man. Instead, the Oilers snatch victory from the twitchy jaws of the Sharks from San Jose.
I have to go to bed! Here's more on the game.
Shameful admission: last summer I openly wondered if we should trade Ryan Smyth for Patrick Marleau.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Posted by mike w at 10:10 PM