Now maybe it was, the hype, the media, the success that tripped us up tonight. But doesn’t that seem like such and easy answer? The young pups maybe read one too many press clippings or committed the same faux pas (not taking the opponent seriously) as many teams did with them. Resting on the laurels of their previous accomplishments and looking past the streaky Oilers to catching that playoff berth rung. They paid for that error if that is indeed what this loss amounted to.
I personally think it was a simple hiccup. We have been playing over our heads with a certain balls out style that has served us well. The penchant of our opponents to underestimate us has also aided our cause. Flying below all forms of radar (media, scouting and ego) we have previously been able to sneak attack and win against all the odds. But that time has come to an end, my friends. Every battle we face going forward will be just that… a battle and we will have to play smarter and faster and more disciplined than we have had to so far.
This hiccup couldn’t have come at a better time. We were 3 games over the .500 mark. We can afford a small hitch in our forward progress, as long as we learn from it. I hope we learned to keep our heads up and not to get caught up in all the brouhaha. That we learned to pay attention to the opponent and the road directly in front of us and not to look too far forward lest we be caught unaware again.
The perfect time to prove what we are made of. To answer the question of whether we are contenders or pretenders. If we lay down now and simply become passengers riding on the Bryz! bus or if we become a true team, one that can win a game for either of our goalies, they are both worthy of our best efforts.
Enough of the sermon.
Bryz! Got surprised and shaken right off the hop as Moreau and Brodzniak broke our defense and nailed him in quick succession (shades of the Chicago game). 2 - 0 Oil. Bryz! briefly steadied but the defense was not as solid as they should have been and he was unable to get enough room to get his composure back as Sourey’s PP goal found the back of the net too. The period would end with us having some decent chances to get within closing distance as Sourey committed a vicious slash on our Captain that iniated a penalty shot and got Sourey punted from the game. Our intrepid Capt couldn’t quite get past a Garon who was playing out of his mind. 5 damn penalties! Kiddos, we haven’t had five penalties in a whole game in awhile, much less 5 in one period. OUCH! 3 - 0 Oil as we leave the ice.
WG decided to give Bryz! one more chance to get his focus together after the break. Unfortunately the Oil smell blood and although we hold steady for nearly 10 minutes, Nilsson’s goal proves to be the fold ‘em point for TGO and he pulls Breezy. 4 - 0 Oil. Telly came in for the rattled Breezer and played his tookus off. We manage to find and sustain some pressure and our trusty Bally jumped into the play to finally get past the Garon force field 4 - 1 Oil. But our progress is halted a short time later by Grebeshkov getting his first goal. 5 -1 Oil. We are more disciplined in this period and we are starting to get our act together as we leave the ice…tattered.
The third period the Oil get sloppy. Giving us multiple PP opportunities. Which we are unable to capitalize on. Although Boynk and Doan would sink one more behind Garon at the end. 5 - 2 Oil. Stortini gets froggy in the last 30 seconds but Boynk does not oblige him. Stortini actually takes Nick down to the ice (completely instigating and trying to fight in the last five minutes of the game should get Stortini a suspension, couldn’t happen to a nicer guy).
So we learned something. And we face the Canucks tomorrow night. Hopefully we can get back to our normal scratch, claw, never say die way of playing. Breezer gets back on the horse and regains his poise. The boys kick butts and take names. And even if they do not prevail, at the very least they must put up a decent fight. Show some of that maturity, some of that courage and some serious Coyotes pride.
Go Coyotes Go!!!!!!