5 hours sleep in two days, so I'll stick to perfunctory notes:
Well. The Oilers "gut-checked" and managed to pull a win out of their ass. Carolina is, of course, a good team, and they do all sorts of things to make you forget about some of their defensive weaknesses, like a) pretty nice special teams as of late and b) the seemingly innate ability to hem the Oilers in their own zone by cutting off clearing attempts with pinching defencemen. The Oilers, with the home crowd, essentially had a free pass for the first ten minutes but were unable to build on a one goal lead and a billion powerplay chances.
That hideous monster Rod Brind'Amour almost single handedly won back the game, and I consider us lucky to trade chances late and get the flukey winner (no kicking motion + Smyth barely touching Ward = fair goal), although everyone's favourite ref already handicapped the Oilers by calling back an obvious Moreau goal in the second. Markkanen surprised even me, one of his biggest boosters all season, although it would be unwise for the Oilers to rely on repeat performances if they want to win more 3 games. Lots of luck in tonight's game, most of it in the Oilers favour for once in this round. Tarnstrom not only filled in well for Bergeron, he looked pretty damn good, with a few gaffes of course to remind us that he's Dick Tarnstrom formerly of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It's disturbing that there wasn't any real adjustments to counteract Carolina's super PK box formation that attacks our men on the point. Harry Neale actually mentioned the solution: three Oilers up top, two down low in a reverse umbrella formation to keep the Canes honest. Hemsky simply isn't doing enough on the wall. Pronger had a rough night, and I think he missed the net about 6 times on the Powerplay, which might singlehandedly explain the 0 for 7 skid.
It's good to be back in Edmonton, and it always amazes me how well greased the wheels of bohemian social interaction can be here: start the day with a ride and a burger, some QT with a cat, then an impromptu flute/synthesizer/tuneless guitar session, next is the Sidetrack with Oil fans, soaking rain on Whyte, Black Dog, torn puckhat, regrettable drive-thru, and a whole cast of acquaintances and pals coming and going along the way. I'm with my people, now, with the high fives and pumped fists to prove it.
Carolina's players were grumpy and didn't want to do much with the media afterward? Delicious.
PS: no photo of rain-soaked fans because Blogger is being Blogger. You get what you pay for, I guess.