Geez, looking at the stats from tonight it is very impressive that Timonen played over 30 minutes tonight (30:16), Kariya played 28:31 and lead all forwards and Kimmo's defensive partner Zidlicky played 28:15 tonight.
We had 19:59 of PP time tonight and not surprisingly all three of these guys lead the team in PP ice time. Sullivan also had over 10:00 of power play ice time (10:27) and also wound up with 21:39 TOI tonight overall.
Combine that with Erat's 20:53 TOI tonight and you can see our top PP players (Erat, Kariya, Sullivan, Zidlicky, Timonen) played over a period of the game tonight while our depth and role players picked up the rest of the slack ES and helped Mason earn the victory.
Definitely a team win tonight highlighted by some great individual efforts.
not a pretty game by any means... imagine last night's game, and that they took an 18 hour intermission in between the third and fourth periods and you have a fairly good idea of the game..
people simply don't understand what we're seeing here against the blues and like to say we've struggled these past two games "because we aren't playing well" or the even more out there "we're not giving a good effort" without really understanding what's happening..
stl has decided to play ultra-conservative against us... their strategy these last two games has been exactly the same... if they score the first goal, they simply go into a defensive shell in the neutral zone, running traps, standing up our forwards at the blue line and when just chipping the puck back deep into our zone whenever they get a stick on the puck to make us do it all again... their strategy to nullify our speed whenever they get any type of lead whatsoever, whenever, is simply to try to nullify our speed and quickness by whatever measure it takes in the neutral zone.. hooking, holding, interference, high sticking.. you name it, and they're doing it to stop us 5 on 5... then they're simply relying totally on their ability to stop our pp, knwoing if they do that,t hey can beat us by stopping us 5 on 5.. this is why the huge numebr of penalties, because we couldn't make them pay on our pp, so they simply keep doing whatever to slow us down... if the pp doesn't click this strategy will of course work, and that's why all the trouble against STL these last two..
most don't understand, the secret to a team trying to do this is really simply to score the first goal... put them behind, and they have to skate with us and we then go out and kill them... but the key has been they have been able to score in both these two games early, and this allows them to simply turn the game into a fight behind the barn. if the pp had done anything these last two games to make them pay, we've have won both games going away..
..a few game observations from tonight, in a real dogfight of a hockey game;
...we were seriously depleted on the bench with no arnott, no fiddler, and a sick tootoo heading into the game. add in radulov getting knocked out of the game his first shift, and we were really down two men almost the entire game.
...radulov got creamed jumping around one man at the blueline trying to carry the puck in. when he jumped around on man, a second leveled him with a high hit in the face. a hit that led with the elbow, turned radulov a flip and appears to knock him out. they helped him to the locker room, and we didn't see him til the game was over. he appeared fine after the game, had cuts and scratches on his face where the should or elbow had hit him in the face. but insisted he was ok, that the coaches simply held him out as a precaution. i thought this hit at the blueline, showed the price we had to pay all night to get thru the neutral zone.
..their goal. suter took a holding penalty. we put pressure shorthanded ont hem and as they break it, we level the guy recieving the puck at the blueline, but the puck flies right onto stepniak's stick skaing full speed down the left side flat into a two on one.. bad luck.. zanon plays the pass like he supposed to do, but stepniak has so much speed, mason cann't get far enough out of the net like he would like to do, and stepniak wires a perfect shot over his shoulder..
..the goal to tie it late by hamhuis, was simply a huge, gutcheck goal. smithson made the play happen honestly. like has been happening all game they're standing up 5 guys int he neutral zone making us have to dunp the puck to have a chance to get thru. smithson pentrates up the middle and dumps the puck to the left corner and then going full speed chases after it himself, he gets there at same time as two stl defenders and proceeds to win the battle and chip the puck from just behind the left rear of the net to an open hartnell behind the net, who skates back a stride or two toward the left corner and hits hamhuis with a perfect quick pass pinching down the left slot, great quick 25 odd footer one timer from hamhuis before legace can get back.. a huge goal obviously... these three got it done..
..timonen's in ot to win it on the 4 on 3. first, the penalty taken here to put us back on the pp, was probably the only questionable one called on them all night. but this time timonen finally simply nailed a beuty of a slapshott from the left slot after we finally walked their defense in tight. we had at least 10 shots like this tonight, finally beat legace with one of them..
..legace played one whale of a game.. we had at least 10 point blank opportunites in the thrid period to tie this thing he had stopped somehow. add in three solid posts when we did beat him.
..mason, continues to play great hockey, simply solid, great hockey. he made three or four big saves in the first, or we would have been down 2-0 and this one would have been a loss. the last two periods, honestly he didn't have to make many spectacular saves, but he made all that were shot his way.
...we were one tired looking hockey club late tonight, but they never quit. generating chance after chance in the third. showning tons of heart on a night where it simply looked like there was no way we could get one in the back on the net against legace. as ugly and frustrating as it was, this was a gut check type win.
..having said that, you got the feeling we stole two more points from the blues, and we did of course. made you want to get ont he bus quickly and get out of town before they somehow changed the score... but, remember, it counts just as much as a 6-0 beating of ottawa in the standings..