The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.

6.14.2006

Game 5 Recap

If, before the game, you had taken a survey that asked "How will the game end?" how many people would have guessed that it would be a shorthanded goal by the Oilers? Not many, I think.

Edmonton really brought it tonight, and the result was one of the best played hockey games I've ever seen. They were pretty dominant in ever phase of the game, but decided to keep the game close by taking plenty of penalties. Halfway through the first, it was shaping up to look like more of the same from the Oil on special teams, but then something crazy happened. Something completely unprecedented. Ales Hemsky took a shot on goal. Hemsky has taken alot of criticism for his reluctance to shoot the puck, and it isn't entirely warranted, as the problem seems to be more rampant among the Oilers players than influenza, and his power play goal to tie the game was huge. Edmonton absolutely needed to get their power play going, and scoring on their first chance of the game ultimately sealed the win for them right then and there. Once Michael Peca gave them the lead a few minutes later, the Hurricanes were never really in it, especially once the injuries started mounting.

The 'Canes still win the special teams battle, with three special teams goals to the Oilers' two, but this game could turn out to be a major turning point in the series. The Oilers proved that they A) can still win when Carolina's power play is firing on all cylinders B) can win even when Eric Staal finally shows up to the arena C) can still, occasionaly at least, score on their own power play D) can actually have an effective penalty kill, assuming that the Hurricanes are exhausted after having played sixty minutes of intense playoff hockey while missing two guys from their bench for significant portions of the game.

If the Oilers accomplish on Saturday some of the things they accomplished tonight, namely crowding Cam Ward's crease and physically beating the snot out of Carolina's forwards, and also stay out of the penalty box, they stand an excellent chance of making one more trip back to Raleigh.

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