Sunday, May 21, 2006

Game(s) One Revisited

Since there's not much in way of "big things" happening (officially anyway, I'll get into that more tomorrow), let's review the happenings of the Conference Finals. It's not sheek, it's been done, but I like to submit to peer pressure.

In the West, the Edmonton Oilers took it to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 3-1 on goals from Mike Peca, Ales Hemsky, and Todd Harvey "Danger." The Ducks countered with a PP goal from Andy McDonald right after Peca's goal. You could tell that the Oilers were the team in better game form. With only a day between the end of their semi's and beginning of the finals, they looked like they hadn't missed a beat. For the Ducks, they did show some signs of rink rust, but in the end, they didn't do as badly as other teams did with a long lay off (Devils and Senators take note).

There was a lot of controversy after the eventual game winner by Ales Hemsky. First, it was whether or not Hemsky's stick was above the cross-bar, but after the game, it seemed that the focus was on whether or not Jarret Stoll had come in contact with goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. At the end of the second, Teemu Selanne went over to ref Paul Devorski to wonder why something wasn't called. Dwayne Roloson, master of the stall tactic, almost stuck his nose in to distract Devorski with childish least that's what was going on in my head as I saw it. Of course, Bryzgalov wasn't too upset, but that could just have been a rookie mistake on his part for not creating a fuss. He's just too cool calm and collect.

For Game Two, the Ducks will have to win to get some momentum heading into Rexall Place, an arena they haven't won a game in for seven long years. With the intensity that the Oilers fans have had, it could be the toughest place to play in this playoffs.


Out East, this series is looking like it could go all seven if they play their cards right. The Buffalo Sabres got the advantage in a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Ryan Miller and Cam Ward played pretty well for two rookies who are under the microscope. Miller is the guy who kept the Sabres in it and Ward did all he could with the help he was given. No surprise that both Daniel Briere for Buffalo and Rod Brind'Amour for Carolina were on the goal side of the score sheet, but it was a shock to everyone that Jay McKee of Buffalo and Mike Commodore (64) of Carolina was in it for their teams. This was McKee's first playoff goal since the '01 playoffs, whereas Commodore register his first career PO goal.

Eric Staal extended his point streak to 10-games, assisting on the Brind'Amour goal, but he was really roughed up. Not only did the Sabres stick a guy (and sometimes two) on him, but while down he was pushed down on the puck at the half-boards, teammate Brett Hedican was trying to dig out the puck, but whacked Staal above the eye instead. Staal was okay, but it's tough work when you don't know who your friends and enemies are.

Game Two goes on Monday, where the Hurricanes try to split one and take it into Buffalo, all the while when Buffalo is trying to extend their road winning streak to six games. Some pundits claim it was the Sabres worse game of the playoffs. If they can play their worst game, and still win-- that should be pretty scary to other teams.

So, that's that-- the first of the Game Two's get underway tonight. Like I said, something official should happen tomorrow for me to comment on. Some people may or may not know what it is, but if you do, brava; if not-- then just check in tomorrow, why don'tcha??

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