Weird Game , Positive Results

 I do not think I have ever seen a game in which nine goals were all scored into the same visiting net but in different periods . I guess the home net had the hockey gods’ protection . I still think it was just weird .

 This game was like three different games in one because of the differences in both of the teams from period to period . I think I’ll give a rough account for this game .

 First period ; 
 Mike Modano , Jere Lehtinen and Jamie Benn started off with a fabulous first shift . James Neal scored his first goal in a very long time to start our offense going . Much later in the period , Brad Richards scored off such an ugly , broken play that I had to agree with ‘Razor’ that it was so ugly you needed a bib . As soon as we took the following faceoff , Sutherby made a fabulous pass that allowed Jere Lehtinen to tap the puck in past Dubnyk . This period was crazy . We took four penalties , three of which affected the manpower on the ice . As soon as we made it back to even strength , we attacked and scored . It did not seem to matter that we spent a lot of time killing penalties because we built confidence coming out of them . We had the Oilers on their heels and often times they were bouncing off of each other . We showed net drive , good puck pursuit , wise coverage choices and excellent penalty killing .

 Second period ;
 It did not look much different , at first . Then the wheels came off . We started struggling in our own zone . We could not deal with their more physical play . Dustin Penner scored off of a turnover and so did Marc Pouliot . Ethan Moreau tied the score up when we made another puck error . The thing we did most in this period was struggle . Passing , clearing the zone , and properly covering the correct man were all problems for us . Everything we did right in the first , we failed at in the second . The Oilers jumped up their gameplay and we did not .

 Third period ; 
 We started just like it was the first period again . It was polar opposite of the second . Jamie Benn scored after only two and a half minutes had passed with Mike Modano earning his 800th career assist . Mike Ribeiro scored thanks to Trevor Daley’s net drive that caused Jason Strudwick to tip Ribs’ shot past his own goaltender . Benn scored again but this time , Jere Lehtinen payed for the goal very much like Brain Sutherby paid for one of Steve Ott’s goals in the game against the Sharks . We did everything right in this period just like in the first .  

 I do not completely understand the huge differences in the periods . I do think it is funny that Razor’s theory about winning second periods was shot all to pieces in this game . My wife did come in the room and comment during the second intermission that we would score three more goals and win the game . I , for one , wish she would make more prophesies like that .

 Even with the weirdness of this game I think all four lines of forwards played excellent . We all did our respective jobs , well , other than the mental lapse that is refered to as the second period .

MY STARS of the game ;
 1. Jamie Benn – He scored two goals and played a very good over-all game . He may not have had a magnificent second period , but few players on our team did .   
 2. Jere Lehtinen – (I love giving him one of these awards) He played so well this game that he had to be recognised for it here . A goal , two assists (one of them I am sure was exceptionally painful) and excellent defensive play earned him his right to be here .
 3. James Neal – He came out from the start as though he had something to prove . His goal made him a shoe-in after he did so well with the rest of his game-play .

 Honorable Mentions ;
Brad Richards – No explanation needed . He always seems to be “on” .
Mike Modano – apparently the appendix is a useless organ just like Razor claims . He played great without it .
Brian Sutherby – He has had a great couple of games .
 Many more player did well but these were the ones who stood out most to me .

 In The (Penalty) Box ;
 Matt Niskanen – He almost was put here last game , but this game he justified his claim to this spot . Every time he took the ice he fumbled the puck or turned it over it a very dangerous area of the ice . I still do not know how in the world he managed to come out with a +/- ranking of +1 when Robi and Grossman came out of the game with a -2 when they both played far , far better than he did . 

 Side note :
  I know that Modano’s looming retirement is a big deal , but it seemed like that was all that anybody wanted to talk about before the game . I think nobody – even Modano – really knows what is going to happen . What I think should happen is the same kind of thing that happened with Teemu Selanne and Scott Neidermeyer a couple of seasons back . Sign him (and Lehtinen) as late in the next season as possible so we would take the salary cap hit late . We could sign him for $?? million , then because he missed half the season , we pay him half of what we signed him for (of course this would have to be agreed upon by all parties involved but could still be a reasonable amount of money) and not take the cap hit until he skated in his first game . This could be done for both Modano and Lehtinen . In theory , it sounds great since Modano has said he needs more rest as time goes by . Just a thought . It could work .

One final note ;
 I thought it was fantastic that Ott was quoted as saying this season has been like walking on sharp gravel barefooted . “You can do it but it’s painful and it would be so much easier with flip-flops on .” I had to include that because I thought , like Ralph and Razor , that was the best quote of the year .

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~ by Adam on April 3, 2010.

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