Carolina will have to be a bit more aggressive with their shots and they'll have to be better on defense.
While the Canes were able to maintain some long periods of offensive pressure, they weren't able to get a lot of good shots off. Some of it has to do with their shot selection. Some of it had to do with the good defense played by the Oilers. Some of it has to do with the vanishing act from Eric Staal. Winning this game would be a huge step for the Canes, and I think it starts with being more aggressive with the forecheck, taking more shots, and generating more flow in front of the net. The Canes were successful in those endeavors in game two. Edmonton made good adjustments. Carolina will have to make an adjustment of their own to reclaim that aggressiveness.
Defensively, Carolina was good. On the penalty kill, they were awesome. No complaints there. However, all series long, they've been a little soft in their own slot. Too many times, I've seen Ryan Smyth all alone in front. Sure, he's not as much of a threat as Horcoff or Pisani, but they're leaving him alone way too much. And he will score if he's left alone too much. On Saturday, he was allowed to come to the net unimpeded for his game winner. If Frantisek Kaberle had made any attempt to stand him up, the outcome might have been different.
I know these won't be original or groundbreaking in any way, but Carolina's needs for tonight are:
- be aggressive. B-E aggressive. B-E A-G-G R-E-SS-I-V-E
- continue the stellar work on the pk
- get the pp going again
- wake Eric Staal out of his coma
I'll be looking forward to an excellent game.
More than that, though, I'll be looking forward to the conclusion of this series. My freaking beard is KILLING ME. As you can see from the picture, I look neither distinguished nor sexy. I look like a freakin terrorist, or a Boxcar Willie or some other such miscreant. In light of Ben Roethliberger's accident, I won't be including him in that lot. Seriously.... Best wishes for a speedy and healthy recovery for Ben. I can't stand the Steelers, but I don't like to see anyone hurt like that.
Anyway, my beard is getting out of control. Thankfully, it'll be gone in a week (maximum). I might get mistaken for a Hasidic Jew or a member of ZZ Top if I let it go any longer. Whenever this series ends, the beard goes immediately. I'll try to document the beard removal process. If it means bringing the clippers in my car to the game, so be it.