Monday, May 01, 2006

Red Wing Road Kill

Manny Legace will want to stay away from the Detroit newspapers for the next little while, already villain number one in the eyes of the ink stained wretches of the Motor City, Legace will find his name dragged through the ice chips even further with the exit of the Red Wings from the Stanley Cup playoffs. It was his watch that saw a four goal burst from the Oilers who came back from the dead on Monday to take not only the game 4 to 3, but the series 4 games to 2.

Detroit which controlled the play so well in the second, that the Oilers had probably already booked their flights and hotel rooms for Detroit, turned around and allowed the Oilers back into the game collapsing so badly in the third that the Oil took charge and took the series with a burst of energy in the third that left the Wings gasping by games end.

Should the Detroit newsies wish to do a bit of research they will see that the veteran line up in Red and White abandoned their goaltender for most of the third, refusing to play the body and completely forgetting the concept of the forecheck. It was total domination by the Oilers in the third, once again feeding off the amazing play of Dwayne Roloson, who stood up for 33 saves on the night, stemming the Red Wing attack in the second period to keep his team alive for their amazing third.

The team that finished first overall in the NHL this season, once again makes an early exit from the playoff rounds, a performance anxiety worthy of a visit to Tony Soprano’s psychiatrist. Whatever issue it is in Detroit, the first round has been the graveyard of many a great Red Wing team and once again they whistled through that graveyard but didn’t get out the other side intact.

Edmonton who were totally outplayed in the second, came flying back out in the third and took care of business. Refusing to go away, realizing that making a game seven trip to Detroit would probably not be a healthy choice for playoff success.

Local hero Fernando Pisani started the charge, with two quick goals early in the third to jump start the Oiler third. From there it became the Ales Hemsky show as he not only caught up to the Wings, but blew by them for the all important fourth victory of the best of seven series.

Head coach Mike Babcock was shocked with the result, suggesting that Legace was not good enough in the nets and his forwards didn’t get the job done when the time came to step up, he now will return to Detroit where losing in the first round is not a cause for celebration but instead more of the thing of an inquisition.

For Edmonton, it’s the first time they’ve advanced in a playoff round since 1998, a success that had the Rexall Place rocking by games end and the party carrying on through the night around the city. The Oilers now can sit back and watch some playoff TV, their next opponent could very well be their provincial arch rival Calgary, who now must face a game seven winner take all game against Anaheim on Wednesday night.

With the two top seeds of the West now eliminated from the playoffs, it’s a wide open race for the right to represent the West in the Stanley Cup Final. Colorado and Edmonton have completed the two biggest upsets so far, it will be of interest to see if they have any more surprises in store as round two gets underway!

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