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.
3 years ago