What I really want to do is sit here and talk about how awesome I think the Oilers are and how much I love that they are showing that they are much better of a hockey team than a lot of people give them credit for. But then I think how dumb I will look if I go on and on about them and then we lose this series. But then again who cares, I will ramble on about it anyways.
The Oilers finished this season as the 8th seed in the Western Conference. Some things never change I suppose. Or perhaps they should have, perhaps our coaching and management should have done something earlier in the season to address the NIGHTMARE that was our goaltending. I don't even know where to start when it comes to that. Mike Morrison who had flashes of brilliance in his few games he played for us this season was not given enough of a chance to prove whether he had what it takes to be a number 1 in the NHL. The way I see it is that you have to ride a guy for A LOT of games in a row to really see that. Playing him 2 games here and there and then sitting him for 5 games is not going to help anyone. Then there was Ty Conklin, what a complete nightmare this guy has been. He was given the chance to be the number 1 guy going into this season and he crapped the bed SO MANY TIMES. Jussi Markkanen who in my opinion is who I would have made my starter out of the three has shown that if he is played consistently on a day to day basis he gives you a decent chance to win. But we never gave him a chance this season. Why? I don't know.
All of this brings me to Dwayne Roloson who we acquired right before the trade deadline on March 9th for a first round draft pick. So many people questioned this move and I will admit that when I first heard it I couldn't believe it either. But then the more I saw him play I realized it was a good trade and I realized that he was going to play well down the stretch and give the Oilers a chance to win night after night. Sure he has had a few bad games and sure he has let in a few soft goals since being with the Oilers. But what goalie doesn't? Even Mikka Kiprusoff makes mistakes--hard to believe I know. Had we acquired Roli earlier in the season who knows what would have happened. But considering we lost a good handful of games because of goaltending I would feel safe in saying we would have finished much higher in the standings than where we did. Why we waited till March to get him I will never understand but he is here now and that makes me happy.
Finishing 8th meant that we would face the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs. Noone gave the Oilers any chance going into this series. I read article after article about how the Red Wings would dominate every aspect of the game and that they would sweep the Oilers in 4 games. Now don't get me wrong, the Wings are good. In fact they are REALLY GOOD. In the regular season they scored 305 goals while only giving up 209 in 82 games. They won 58 games and ended the season wih 124 points. So lets look at the comparison...
Detroit - Goals for 305, Goals against 209, Wins 58, Points 124
Oilers - Goals for 256, Goals against 251, Wins 41, Points 95
So yes looking at that alone Detroit WAS the better team all season. In the playoffs however the Oilers have been the better team. Our goaltending has been FAR better than the Red Wings, our defense has been better and our offense has been better. Call me a bias Oilers fan if you want, but the bottom line is they have been the better team in all but 1 of the 5 games so far. The one thing I will give the Wings is their power play. Their power play is FRIGHTENING. They pass the puck better than any team in the NHL and it's just plain crazy how good they are when up a man. If the Oilers can manage to stay out of the penalty box the rest of this series I am pretty confident we will win it. I HOPE we win on Monday at home, how awesome would that be? First playoff series win in EIGHT years and having the chance to do it in front of your own fans. If we somehow screw this up and lose I will be sad....Very sad. But until then GO OILERS!!!
Game 6 Monday, May 1st Edmonton, Alberta
Oh yeah and just for Chris.....GO AVS!!