From Copper and Blue:
After Ales Hemsky scored the game-tying goal, Ben Eager decided it was in his best interest to pick a fight with Zack Kassian. Not only is this terribly stupid because the Canucks were starting to tire and were really chasing the puck, but it was terribly stupid because Eager never had a chance against Kassian. Kassian landed a number of lefts to Eager’s face, breaking him open quickly, then lost his balance and Eager held on before going to the locker room for sutures.
The Oilers seem to be planning, at least in the short term, to run two power play units that include four forwards. Last night, Horcoff played with RNH, Eberle and Hall, while Smyth played with Hemsky, Yakupov and Gagner. The downside to this is that it’s pretty clear who your line after the PP is going to be. The first Oiler PP ended at 10:49 of the first. The Belanger line came out at 10:58. The second Oiler PP ended at 1:31 of the second. The Belanger line came out at 1:39. The third Oiler PP ended at 9:07 of the second. The Belanger line came out at 9:17. The fourth Oiler PP ended with Hemsky’s goal at 14:05 and the Belanger line was out for the ensuing faceoff.
Of course, if I can figure this out, Alain Vigneault can probably figure this out too. Sure enough, the Sedins were out as soon as the first Oilers PP ended, with a shift that went from 10:58 to 12:08 and saw Smid take a penalty about 25 seconds into the shift. The Sedins came out again at 1:39 of the second and played a shift against the Belanger line. They didn’t come out immediately after the third Oiler PP for some reason and Krueger was able to sneak a fourth line shift in before the Sedins returned.
After the Oilers tied it up though, it was Sedin time again – the faceoff at centre ice had the Sedins lining up against the Oilers fourth line. Curiously, this was the time that Eager decided that he needed to take some retribution from Kassian. Kassian claimed after the game that he was the one looking for the fight, which didn’t really seem to be backed up by the tape. The guys on the broadcast were talking about Eager taking retribution for a hit that Kassian had thrown on Taylor Hall, which seems odd too – that hit was in the second period and, as I’ve shown before, fighting goes way down in the third period of close games, with about 1400 minutes being required per fight in a tie game – it’s basically the playoffs.
What that fight did do though was prevent the Sedins from getting a shot at Edmonton’s fourth line in the last six minutes of a tied hockey game. When the puck dropped again, they were still on the ice, with Dale Weise replacing Kassian. Belanger and Petrell were gone though, replaced by Hall, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins. Was this a coincidence? Possibly. It sure worked out well for Edmonton as far as matchups go though. Better that Ben Eager gets his face punched in then the Sedins spend a shift in the Oilers end of the ice.Email Tyler Dellow at email@example.com