Well, I think the Oilers did their part to stir up some animosity on Wednesday night. Heck, they made their own fans hate them.
I don't know whether these were coaches' orders or what, but with about 2 minutes gone in the third period, and Carolina clinging to a four goal lead, the Oilers
Carolina scored on the ensuing power play, taking a 5-0 lead. At that point, the Oil gave up, and it was clear.
Just a few minutes later, Ryan Smyth high-sticked Aaron Ward. It looked really bad at first, but there was no injury, and in my mind it was completely unintentional. However, it was still a product of overly aggressive play.
At 11:14, Laraque was called for tripping Nic Wallin. I guess there wasn't much else the referee could have called, but it looked suspiciously like he was intentionally leading with the knee. Wallin avoided most of the contact, but ended up being tripped. After spending two minutes in the box, he decided that he wasn't through.
At 16:44, "GG" Laraque committed a textbook example version of a boarding major. Andrew Ladd was facing the glass, trying to play the puck. He wasn't skating fast, didn't make any sudden moves. Laraque came at him very hard and intentionally used his elbows and forearms to shove Ladd's head into the board. The fact that he never tried to plead his case, and that Craig MacT looked very calm as his player was being ejected speaks volumes. That was no "mistake". It's almost as if MacT decided the game was a lost cause, and sent GG (who has a history of goonish play in these playoffs) out there to do his worst.
Am I mad? You bet! Am I overreacting? Maybe. Am I trying too hard to demonize MacT and his players? Probably. Point is, you got what you want. Now we hate the Oilers.
I doubt very much that we'll see such garbage in game three. In fact, I think it'll be a very clean game with a much better performance by the Oilers.