I don't intend to discredit Calgary at all. They're a defensively sound team, and they played well. Carolina, though, didn't show up at all. Maybe a couple of 3 minute spurts in the third frame, but they just didn't have "it" last night. I don't recall any good scoring chances for the Canes. Mikka Kiprusoff got the shutout, and certainly deserves praise, but he faced a pathetic 23 shots. In the first period, Carolina was outshot 15-5, and they found themselves down 2-0. They had some difficulty adjusting to Calgary's "defense first" style of play, and by the time they got their legs going in the third period, it was too late. Carolina also had difficulty last year at the start of their Western swing, getting killed by the Coyotes 8-4 before beating all three California teams.
Eager to get this one behind them, they head to Edmonton for the first time since getting crushed 4-0 in game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals in June. BOA tells us that The Man with the Golden Mask will have the night off and our old pal Jussi Markkanen will get the start. They've also got some lingering hate for us, which I totally understand. When I say "us", I should qualify that. Andy Grabia says:
We like their bloggers, but hate their team.
Well, we like you guys too, and I wish I could say that I hate the Oilers (team) right back, but the truth of it is that I don't.
The Oil has suffered a few injuries. Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth are down and out, which means that since two of their top three are out, and the "role players" will have a lot more action. Obviously, we know that Petr Sykora will be big. It's the guys like Fernando Pisani and Patrice Bergeron that we need to look out for. Grabbia is calling for a hat trick from Pisani and a goal from Joffrey Lupul for a 4-2 win by the Oil. I certainly hope not.
I haven't been good with these ballsy predictions so far, but I'll go ahead and call for a Canes win in the shootout. In regulation, it'll be 4-4 behind two goals from Erik Cole, one from Scott Walker and one from Justin Williams. For the Oil, I'll guess that Sykora, Jason Smith, Raffi Torres and Jerret Stoll each have one. In the shootout, Ray Whitney will have the difference maker.
I'm working, but I should be home in time for the 9:30 puck drop. Due to some really kickass new technology, I don't even need to bother setting the DVR. I can simply come home, and if the game's in progress, I can start over from the beginning.
Check out the coverage from Covered in Oil, the aforementioned Battle of Alberta, and the other Oiler usuals. These two (while a little over the top with the hate) are the best of their lot, in my opinion. You know where to go to find more Canes coverage.
By the way, check out the props I got on NHL.com! I'm #9! It's no mistake that BoA and CiO are also in the top 10. They do great work.