Thursday, April 20, 2006

Oilers vs Detroit In The Regular Season: Game 1.

I know that very few Oiler fans give a damn about this sort of detailed analysis, but the handful that do all seem to read and/or post here. So here goes:

The first game against the Wings, in Detroit, early November. Markkanen vs Osgood (the former was clearly the goalie in this game). The Oilers on a bit of a winning streak before this one, 3 games with Ws I think, and Peca was out with a concussion served up by Rick Nash a couple or a few nights before. Wings were healthy.

The Oilers won on a Torres OT winner, a 2 on 1 with Staios(?), Raffi had hovered while Dvorak hustled back and got the puck in the Oiler zone, deep along the left wall, he moved it forward to Torres then hustled back to the bench quickly enough to not get a + . Looked like Raffi just tried to get it off his stick in a hurry on ther return feed, to get it on net and airborne quickly (Mike Bossy style) but he misfired and it still went in low. (There is a lot to be said for a quick release methinks, but I digress.)

The team wearing copper and blue won the game and there was much joy in Oilerville. Except for Dennis who was pissed that they were outchanced in the game (he was both right and ridiculed :D ).

Anyhow, a closer look at how Babcock and MacTavish ran the bench. I have a pretty good memory for this sort of thing from a forwards POV, especially Oiler forwards, and rely entirely on the shift chart reader for the icetime/pairings/matchups of the D for both squads.

Oiler lines:



Detroit lines:




MacTavish stuck with these forward lines pretty consistently. The obvious exceptions being that Dvorak was subbed in for Hemsky for defensive zone draws or unfavourable matchups (both Shanahan and Lidstrom on the ice, etc). And in similar situations, the same with Torres being subbed for Smyth, or more often Horcoff with Stoll bumped to the wing. Smith in for Bergeron when it was tight late and Babcock loaded up for some shifts.

BTW: How DID those three Oiler youngsters NOT end up with the best 5on5 numbers on this squad on the year? Talk about being gifted easy minutes and/or quality linemates. Criminy. I like them all and suspect that they will all be Oilers for a long time, still ... 8-|


A few bits and pieces for now, I'll come back to this if there is enough interest and people have things to add, but some tidbits for now, the most important things I think:

* Babcock liked the Yzerman/Draper pairing for tough minutes. A blind man could see that their counting numbers and EV+/- were going to take a shitkicking, even at that early point in the season. You don't win a Selke playing tough minutes, you just don't. I heard Farber on the radio yesterday talking about how Yzerman has really been looking better since January ... I'd assume this coincides with Babcock's shift in philosophy to Z and Shanny (sensibly so imho ... and i haven't followed DET closely enough to know, just a guess at this point, but more on that another day).

* Lidstrom (vs Smyth) and Pronger (vs Shanahan) easily logged the toughest minutes for their team's D. And Babcock was loose with the D pairings, seemed to be trying to keep at least one of Lidstrom, Schneider or Chelios on the ice at all times though.

* Babcock was short shifting to run Shanahan/Lang out against the Oilers 4th line ... forcing MacTavish to shorten the bench early.

* MacTavish was trying to run the Reasoner line against Datsyuk.

* Babcock was running Yzerman vs Smyth.

* Babcock had the extra card to play with the Shanahan/Lang line, and they owned the Stoll and Brodziak lines but couldn't score on this night. Ended up a minus 1 on the evening (vs the Smyth line in a rare shift, I can't remember Horcoff's goal from Smyth and Pronger though, anybody?)


That's all for now.


Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Here's the boxscore:

Wings 2 for 6 on the PP, Oil was 1 for 4.

Pronger played just under 33 minutes.

Who's this A. Semenov guy?

4/20/2006 12:01 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

BDHS asks: "Who's this A. Semenov guy?"

I dunno, never hearduvim, but by the shift chart numbers I'd guess he was some sort of defensive specialist, brought in to play limited minutes and shut down Franzen.

Hope this helps.

4/20/2006 12:32 pm  
Anonymous lowetide said...

I don't have any comments except to say this is just tremendous stuff. Thanks Vic.

4/20/2006 12:32 pm  
Anonymous Robert Cleave said...

That PPV game was worth every nickel. It was Pronger's signature game this year, IMO. He played a ton of difficult minutes in a place the Oilers hadn't done well, and was, even by his standards, a calming presence. Cross and Bergeron were both hurt during the game, so he had a couple of 3 minute shifts in the third. That was also the broadcast where the infamous "Orbs" postgame screenshot was captured, if memory serves.

4/20/2006 3:00 pm  
Blogger mudcrutch79 said...

I assume that that's the Three Amigos usage of infamous?

4/20/2006 3:39 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

Robert Cleave:

Good memory. That was the PPV where they went madass with the When We Were Kings! 80s reminiscing stuff, wasn't it? Karius and Principe splitting PBP and colour i think.

I don't remember Cross being hurt, Bergy though ... that rings a bell. Reasoner too, who took a pounding on a PK. It hurt to watchthat one. Always seems like whena forward gets beaned early that there is another slapshot due to nail him in about 20 seconds while he flails around in obvious pain from the last one. Ouch. I think they both finished the game and then were scratches for the next in STL, no?

4/20/2006 4:23 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

Yeah it's all coming back to me now:) I did get pissed because the Oilers were outchanced and Jussi was just outstanding in this game...hands down his best game this season.

And yeah I think I remember posting that this was what we brought in Pronger for...he was logging long shifts in the 3rd period and amidst a bunch of chickens running around with their heads cut off there was Pronger calm as day.

4/20/2006 7:52 pm  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Here's a question - I just did a quick rundown of the recaps.

Pronger's icetime:

Game 1 - 32:52
Game 2 - 30:59
Game 3 - 30:31
Game 4 - 25:28

Other then the fact that the fourth game was the only one that did not go into OT why the five minute difference.

Or have I just answered my own question?

4/21/2006 7:15 am  
Anonymous pdo said...

You did.. plus the addition of Spacek for the last 2 games cut his ice time as well.

4/21/2006 8:51 am  
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