Double duty here at the Late Show. This one had a definite shape to it. Oilers started fast, Ryan Smyth took a puck to the face and George Laraque tried to rub Cheechoo's face through a seam in the glass -- only there are no seams, right? Game misconduct, pal -- and just like that, this series went from dozey to doozy.
Sharks took control and went into a bit of a passive game into the third period -- a bit too early, that, as it cost them a nice end to end breakout from Oilers finished by Torres. Okay, I'll admit this much: I didn't put enough time on the PVR. But it was no surprise to me to come to the end of the PVR late in the second extra period, then go online and find out the Oilers had won -- even if it took 'em into the third OT to do it. And yeah, please note that was Smyth, after he spat out a few teeth and visited the town seamstress, who came back to set up the winner.
So the Oilers have a life, while the favoured Senators and Devils are almost out of their's.
|Ryan Smyth gives us more proof that you don't need teeth to be a good hockey player.|
But is there a more compelling storyline to these NHL playoffs than the emergence of all these young goalies? Last night on TSN that was the people's choice in one of their in-game polls over the western lower seeds doing so well in the first round, and it's easy to see why.
Toskala has pretty much stoned the Oilers. Bryzlagov and Ward and Miller are each up 3-0 in their series. Take a look at these goalie matchups from this conference semifinal round, noting their career playoff starts in goal coming into this season:
Not a career playoff start among those four leading goalies. So much for playoff pressure and experience. At this point and at this rate, Dominik Hasek isn't going to matter -- although that was a nice try by Murray yesterday, floating the possibility.
Related: James Mirtle on the Devils-Senators:
"Carolina is a ridiculous 8 of 18 on the power play in this series, a 44.4 per cent success rate. The Devils are 1 of 16, or 6.2 per cent. All of the criticisms that said this New Jersey team's offence wasn't deep enough to win the Cup were well founded. And now they're done."
"If he wasn't already there, Ryan Smyth has just joined the pantheon of athletes that should only play for one team. Losing his chicklets and then coming back to play the way he did in the third and OTs? Unbelievable."