A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Series tied; Game seven in Raleigh

I'm almost too mad to write, but I have to do it.

On Saturday, game six of the Stanley Cup finals looked more like that exhibition game between the Red Army and the US National team in friendly play days before the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics. To say that the Oilers were the dominant team tonight would be like saying that my beard looks like crap. They're both understatements.

Even though there was no scoring in the first period, I could sense that the game was very much being controlled by the Oil. They dominated the faceoffs, dominated the shots on goal stat, and just about any other thing that the League keeps stats for was very much in favor of the home team.

Before the puck drop, they announced that Erik Cole had been cleared and would be in the lineup. I guessed that he would see just a few shifts just to get him out there. However, he ended up playing 23 shifts, with a total TOI of 18:31. In just his second shift out, he got pasted by an Oilers skater. When he bounced right up, I knew everything was going to be okay. Obviously, since we didn't even come close to scoring, he had no stats, but I thought he looked pretty good out there. In game seven, the crowd should be completely insane for him.

Fernando Pisani scored what would turn out to be the game-winning goal at 1:45 or the second while Andrew Ladd was serving a penalty for too many men on the ice. Even when they showed the replay a few times, I still didn't see it. Still, it doesn't matter. That's a penalty you simply cannot take. Ales Hemsky and Jaro Spacek got the assists.

At 9:54, they got the only insurance they would need. Raffi Torres redirected a Steve Staios shot from the top of the right circle. Fernando got the second assist. It was the only even strength goal of the game.

At 3:04 of the third, that crafty Ryan Smyth put the game out of reach. With Ray Whitney off for holding, the Oilers were able to set up a good power play. Smyth weaved his way through the pee-wee league defense and shot one in from the low slot. Mike Peca and Jaro Spacek got the helpers.

Just for good measure, the Oil got a fourth goal at 13:05 of the third. Shawn Horcoff got the goal, while Radek Dvorak and Dick Tarnstrom got the assists.

I hinted at this after game 5, and now I am forced to say something about it. Edmonton found their PP groove. That scares me. Carolina had done a superb job of shutting it down all series. In game 5, they got one, plus the shortie. I correctly feared that it would be only the beginning.

There were far too many "telling" statistics in this game. The Oil won 54% of the faceoffs. Fine. They outhit Carolina 23-11, they took fewer penalties than Carolina. If the NHL still kept stats for puck possession by zone, they would have completely dominated that category too. Most telling, though, had to be the shots. After two frames, the Oil led that category 21-7.

Where I once had the utmost confidence in my team, I now have disappointment and fear. It isn't as if the Canes were beaten on a bad bounce or an iffy call by the refs. They were completely dominated from start to finish. Unless the Canes can very seriously turn things around, they will become only the second team in NHL history to blow a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals.

See you on Monday.


Anonymous said...

I saw the replay on the first too-many-men on the ice. The sixth skater's elbow appears on the left for a second at the beginning of the CBC clip - before heading to the bench. The announcers didn't see it tho'...

Carolina just looked tired, but I thought they played a decent first period. Edmonton got more shots, but Carolina's shots were better chances. The second and third periods were dominated by Edmonton. I didn't like a few of penalties called on them either - but whatever - the calls went both ways in the end.

P.S Nobody in this series is a clear-cut Conn Smythe winner. Pisani? Ward? Brind'Amour? Roloson? Pronger?

RiversQ said...

NBC showed the six skaters a few times and they clip they had was late as one of the six was trying to get off the ice. The other five skaters were far from the bench. As far as too many men penalties go, that was about as easy to call as they get.

Bill Purdy said...

Your beard looks like crap.

Brind'Amour has been a bit of a no-show the past couple games, so if the 'Canes manage to pull off a victory in Game 7, the CS should go to Ward... or maybe the MVP of the first two periods of Game 7.

I'm not very confident, though.

VancouverDave said...

I have no doubt Edmonton earned that game and Carolina should be embarassed, but I saw at least 4 non calls by the refs: holding, cross checking, hooking and I believe the Stillman call in which the Edmonton player dove should not have been a call on Stillman at all. Would these have made a difference? Probably not, but maybe a call or two would have gotten them back in the game. They seemed to turn a blind eye to Edmonton violations, and catch everything the Canes did (yes the Canes calls were legit). Hopefully the refs do a better job in game 7 and the Canes show up.

Anonymous said...

you guys are cooked !

Dont whine about officiating as a lifer Oiler Fan watch the series this year starting in Detroit officials have been over blowing the Oilers all along so if you're feeling it ... welcome to our nightmare...

But instead of whining we just kept winning You've got a good team and for the most part good fans justlike us and we should enjoy game 7 and cheer on the great game of Hockey!!!

Anonymous said...

Whats a Vancouver fan know about hockey??

The only banner I ever saw hanging in the canuckle head dome of shame was a air canada golf banner how ap-pra-po!

Of course the Vancouverite wants to use reffing as an excuse as excuses are the canuck way...Historical!

The mighty Oil have been abused by the officials the entire playoffs but just like the previous writer said wining not whining !

Oilers in 7 Baby!

tj said...

I'm back from the blogging dead! Although fellow Canes fans may hate me after reading my latest post.

Canes Hockey Fan

VancouverDave said...

For the record I hate the Canucks and am a lifetime Whaler/Hurricane fan. Also, I said the Oilers fully deserved the victory and was not making an excuse, the Canes deserved to lose either way. I was just pointing out some missed calls and hoping it doesn't happen either way in game 7. It has been a great final.

Anonymous said...

Neither Canes nor the Oilers deserve to complain. There were bad calls on both teams and as I mentioned before - it evened out.

1) Diving AND hooking.
2) Two non-interference calls on Smith or Tarnstorm (a Cane ran him into the goalie).
3) One of the Hedican penalties.
4) Pisani breakway - should have been a penalty shot instead of hooking.
5) Cam Ward's "save" - again the NHL needs better tech than blurry cameras. Maybe a chip in the puck?

Again, it evened out. The Canes just looked tired.

VancouverDave said...

You're probably right, but of course I see it from a biased view. Anyway, hope game 7 is a good one. I'm looking forward to it. Good call on the Ward camera thing, goal wouldn't have mattered, but they need to work on stuff like that.

swabbubba said...

The Canes looked tired last game. As an Oiler fan hopefully the trend continues. But it is the last game there are no tomorrows so I expect a heated contest. May the best team win. Go Oilers


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