Monday, May 08, 2006

Well, That Didn't Go So Well

I think Lowetide summed up the game pretty well here, and there really is only so much to be said about one hockey game. San Jose played well and carried long stretches of puck possession through the last two periods, and for the most part it was good hockey to watch. But I'll take a few kicks at the detailed stuff that most people don't bother with.

NinjaSteve was right, MacTavish rolled four lines tonight, Wilson three lines. The bottom six Shark forwards were fit in here and there, but two out of three shifts at even strength were either the Thornton or Marleau lines. As a consequence, there were hard matches on the D by Huddy, as shown below. And pretty much a mishmash with the forward matchups.

These are the Oiler players that Thornton saw the most of last night at 5on5. (e.g. 70% of the time that Thornton was out there at 5on5 ... so was Pronger)

And now for my next trick :) These are the Oiler icetimes vs the S.J top two lines. (e.g. if you tally up Rem Murray's icetime ... 75% of it was played against either Thornton or Marleau)

I think (hope) it's time to shorten the bench. And start matching the forward lines.

And for Christmas sakes, why on earth did the Oilers play so passively in their own zone at 5on5? The Oiler inside the box was just sitting back for the most part, yeesh. They aren't Minny or Anaheim, they haven't played that way all year, and now is no time to start. Methinks MacTavish has got to learn to do a little less thinking and just dance with the one he brung.


Anonymous jon said...

I as wellnoticed that SJ didn't give a lot of time to their 4th liners. Here's hoping that maybe it catches up a little with the Sharks tonight because of the fast turnaround. It's probably a slim hope though, as the Oilers might be just as beat from getting hammered all night.

In regards to the passive 5v5, do you think maybe MacT wants to try and stay flexible to prevent SJ dishes from the cycle? I didn't see the first 30 minutes of the game, so I'm not entirely sure how the game played out since I didn't actually see any goals.

5/08/2006 9:47 am  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

with Dvo out I can't see that the Oil have a viable fourth line anyhow

drop Winchester to the 4th and replace him with ??? Moreau, maybe - he was probably the best forward last night - he certainly played with a lot of jam

have Winchester, Murray (he's here to stay) and LeGG, Jacques, Harvey, whoever and give them a shift or two to bang some bodies - no more

To me it looked like the Oil lost their legs after the 1st period - maybe the layoff compounded by the Sharks aggressive forecheck? Once they were on their heels they never were able to get that momentum back. Hard to say how the layoff affects a team - the Sharks had get up and go, took the initiative and never looked back but maybe that momentum helped them fight off any effects of the layoff.

I think the Oil will be more aggressive tonight. I guess they'd better be.

5/08/2006 10:03 am  
Blogger Steven said...

Yeah I think its probably time to go with mainly three lines and make sure S-S-H and Tarnstrom + Bergy never see Thorton and hopefully not as much Marleau either.

I only actually managed to watch the last half of the game (dang Ball Hockey Games ;) but from what I saw I swear I could have counted the scoring chances Edmonton had on 1 hand. Way too much of the play was in Edmonton's zone. I think Lowetide mentioned this already but it might be time to split Pronger and Smith just because we might need more size to deal with SJ big fowards (Thorton, Marleau, Bernier, etc).

Anyhow let's hope they bring it tonight cause going 2-0 to SJ might be too tough a hill to climb. (Kinda like the Detroit series)

5/08/2006 11:45 am  
Anonymous Showerhead said...

Is there any chance that what we saw last night is a result of MacT "learning" from game 1 against the Red Wings? Could he have gambled for energy on game one vs. SJ with the thought that a split is all Edmonton needs anyway?

I hope not. Unless, of course, we win tonight.

5/08/2006 11:59 am  
Blogger Dennis said...

He did have the last change so it's no surprise that round 1 went to Wilson. That being said MacT didn't help himself a whole lot by running four lines either. It was the poorest game I've seen thus far from Winchester and we all know that Murray sucks so I think that come the 2nd period on it would've been an easy decision for MacT to go with three centres and 10 forwards. And I'm trying to think when 20 went down but once that happened then it was pretty much a given or at least it should've been.

I'm wondering how much time the puck spent in SJ's end when either 19 or 12 were on the ice for the Sharks. It couldn't have been a heckuva lot. So I guess that's how they manage to consistently other teams. No big secret there and it makes sense because if you pressure their six D then you're gonna get your fair share of chances. And I still like Rolo over Toskola and I didn't see anything last night that would change my mind.

It will be interesting to see how MacT does things tonight. BG is gonna draw in for RD and he never usually gets a regular shift so I don't think there's any reason to believe that MacT will try and roll four lines tonight. BTW.. four SJ forwards played less than 10 min last night, ie Smith-the bad Thornton-Rissmiller-Stevenson. On the Oilers end it was just RD and Murray that logged under a dime but we know the former would've eclipsed 10 min if he'd remained healthy.

For the most part it's always good to have options but I believe you just gotta take away a coach's options sometimes because it winds up being for his own good. In the Det series I thought we were losing steam because they could play four lines and we couldn't. Then once G5 came Moreau was playing his second game of the series but he looked damn good doing it and 18-16-20 gave us good mintues and I thought was at least a little reason why we pulled those last two games out. Guys were fresh enough to be able to make a difference.

So prior to RD's injury I thought the Oilers having four lines as opposed to SJ's three was actually a benefit to us but Wilson threw down the gauntlet early when he played three lines and it's almost better for RD to get hurt because now MacT will be forced to do the same. Just go 3 vs 3 and hope our conditioning is as good as theirs.

Maybe once we get back home he can cobble together a 4th line when he has the last change but for tonight and the rest of the series games in SJ it looks like a better bet to go 3 vs 3 and then get your 10th guy some shifts here and there.

Speaking of lineup changes...this whole Dick out/Greene in possibility sort of baffles me a little. For my $$$ Igor Ulanov's still an NHL dman from the neck down. He's in excellent shape, he's as tough as nails and loves the rough stuff. It's just that he makes these bonehead passes. Despite 100's of NHL games under his belt Igor has never learned the difference between a high percentage and low percentage play. But maybe if it's really pop that MacT wants then he knows that playing 10 min ES Igor will be ready to bring the pain if the Sharks wanna keep playing physical. But after Greene's penalty fest in G4 vs Det and his poor play down the stretch I still believe they'd take out Dick for Greene. I can't put any real blame on 23 after the last game though. Maybe he's just hurting. If he is then I would go with Igor though.

I can't wait for tonight's game to be honest. Last night I had a hard time getting into it. It had been six days since the Oilers played and that's a huge layoff. But tonight knowing it's close to do or die time I can't wait to see how the Oilers respond. I had confidence in the team going into Det and then once they pulled out G2 I was really confident in them. Then they lost G4 at home but came back with a whale of game in G5. Basically I believe in this team on the road. I think they'll do what they have to do when the chips are down and Rolo has given me no reason to doubt him thus far.

So I'll focus on some positives heading into tonight's game.

1: The Oilers played two excellent road games last series in Det. You can say different team so different circumstances and I'll agree with you. That being said the Oilers have won in tough buildings all season so they're not gonna be intimidate in any digs outside of Rexall

2. Edmonton did a very good job on the last couple of SJ PP's. SJ made quick work of Nsh in round 1 but they did it on the back of their PP.

3. Despite being outplayed and outchanced Rolo still kept us to within a goal. There just seems to be something about him where he can make big saves and keeps us from getting blown out. I think that will start paying off in this series as soon as tonight.

5/08/2006 3:54 pm  
Blogger Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

I'd have to think if Greene is going in for Dick its because Tarnstrom is hurt - I thought Tarnstrom did just fine last night - I also think MacT may not like Tarnstrom, simple as that - why else would he not be on the PP - he only ran it in Pittsburgh, did he not

better then Spacek I would think

5/08/2006 6:26 pm  
Blogger Dennis said...

Yeah..for the 1000th time I can't figure out why we picked up Tarnstrom and didn't immeadiately put him on the PP. There's just no good reason for not doing so.

Yeah 23 sat out a game in R1 with a hip problem so I'm thinking if he's out tonight it's because of a re-occurence of that injury.

5/08/2006 7:42 pm  
Anonymous lowetide said...

I think Tarnstrom is hurt, but also agree he needs to be on the PP when healthy.

Igor must be hurt, right?

Can Musil play? :-)

5/08/2006 7:54 pm  
Blogger Vic Ferrari said...

The fact that Tarnstrom has never seen PP time with this squad is really hard to understand. The mind boggles.

Agreed on the thing about a feeling of anticipation being higher for this one. I don't know why, but the buzz just wasn't there for the first game like it should have been, not anywhere in the city really. I don't know if the players had the same thing going or not.

I'm expecting a terrific game tonight.

5/08/2006 8:25 pm  

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