If you've been paying close attention you might have noticed that I haven't written a single game recap this season. Even Ben has written one and he only logs onto the site about one a month, about two-thirds of the time on purpose. How is it possible that I've avoided 73 game recaps you ask? I'm sure you don't actually care but it's my blog so I'm going tot tell you anyway. You see, between a baby girl that now calls my apartment home and work it's been tough to find the time to watch a game, to find the time to watch closely enough to write something about it has been damn near impossible. But when the usual suckers who write these recaps needed someone to fill in, I figured that if Ben can do it then so can I. And almost immediately I regretted that decision.
All day long I felt as if I'd made a terrible decision. I was able to briefly push this thought from my mind while listening to the Grateful Dead's March 25, 1990 show, the second of a three night stand at the Knickerbocker Arena, now the Times Union Center, during the bands fantastic tour in the spring of 1990. For those that might not know, the spring of 1990 was the last time that the Grateful Dead were consistently, night after night, destroy your brain fantastic. Later that summer keyboardist Brent Mydland (random fact: he joined the band the day I was born) would die of an overdose and after that things were never the same. There would be good nights for sure, but never another run quite like the Spring 1990 tour. Don't take my word for it, listen to the show for yourself.
But like it or not, sooner or later the game had to start. I wasn't really looking forward to it but I was helpless to stop it. And then something very strange happened, the Oilers didn't suck. First it was Martin Marincin, the man who wouldn't shave his sideburns and insisted on wearing white skates, he got the Oilers on the board with his first career goal, a lovely wrist shot from the slot, less than five minutes into the game. Before the seven minute mark Jordan Eberle had tapped in a lose puck at the side of the net to extend the Oilers lead to two. And then Taylor Hall made it three goals on seven shots in under ten minutes for the Oilers when he beat Semyon Varlomov with a shot through the five-hole.
Like a Grateful Dead show, all good things must eventually come to an end though. And for the Oilers that happened right after Hall's goal. For the next 15 minutes the Oilers basically went to sleep (as illustrated by the nearly flat line in the chart from war-on-ice.com below) until the Jarome Iginla got the Avalanche on the board with what was likely his 800th career point against the Oilers. Just past the midway point of the game the Avs would score again, this time it was Alex Tanguay finding the back of the net. And suddenly that feeling I'd had before the game was back in full force. I'd seen more than enough Oiler games over the last nine years to know how this one was going to turn out.
And when you expect something bad to happen to the Oilers, who is there to help make it happen? Justin Schultz of course. The defensive zone continues to perplex the man that that some call Cool Hand Justin; to others he's simply Jultz. This play was pure Jultz, future Norris Trophy winning gold. Pressured by a strong forecheck Schultz makes a tape to tape pass to Alex Tanguay (note: he doesn't play for the Oilers) who then finds Ryan O'Reilly for the game tying goal. By now I almost feel bad piling on Schultz when he makes plays like this but then they continue to happen and I have no choice.
At this point I figured that was it, stick a fork in them, they're done. The Oilers surprised me though and didn't break. On the power play with under ten minutes to play Derek Roy managed to find a lose puck behind Reto Berra - he replaced Varlomov after the Oilers' third goal - to once again put the Oilers ahead. Undeterred by this positive result, Schultz shot the puck over the glass in the final minute to give the Avalanche one last chance to salvage a point and keep their very faint playoff hopes alive. But it wasn't mean to be on this night, and the Oilers walked away victorious by a score of 4-3.
One post game written and one win for the Oilers. I must be good luck. Sorry about that, Team Tank. See you in October.