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Strader Playoff Blog for May 24th

Wednesday, 05.24.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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Strader Playoff Blog for May 24th

Hello Panther Fans from Edmonton Alberta!!

So much for my prediction of Anaheim winning the Cup over Carolina in the Finals. The never say die Edmonton Oilers continue to find ways to win hockey games even when they don't play their best and at times when they aren't the best team on the ice. The Ducks have outshot (and, more importantly, outchanced) the Oilers in every game of this series. But Edmonton netminder Dwayne Roloson, the clear frontrunner in the west for Conn Smythe consideration as playoff MVP, has made every important save. Roloson was huge in the opening round win over the top seed Red Wings and continued his stellar play against San Jose, a series the Oilers trailed 0-2 before winning four straight. As much as I thought going into game 3 that this series would end in four if Edmonton won last night, the Ducks showed a tremendous amount of character to come back from a 4-0 third period deficit to make it a close game. I wouldn't be surprised if the Ducks get this back to southern California for a game 5, but the Oilers will not blow this series with a three games to none lead.

The NHL Radio experience has been a blast. It has taken a little time to adjust to calling a game on radio versus TV, but I think our team with myself, analyst Darren Pang and sideline reporter Ralph Strangis have improved with each broadcast. The atmosphere in the arena for game 3 was crazy and the broadcast booth in Edmonton offers one of the very best vantage points in the NHL.

It had been a while since I called a game from Rexall Place, the home of the Edmonton Oilers, so I was looking forward to getting back to one of the oldest and loudest venues in the NHL. I was only in my second and third years of covering the Detroit Red Wings when the team made back to back trips to the Western Conference finals in 1987 and 1988. Even though those Red Wing teams were overmatched by the powerful Edmonton teams of Gretzky, Messier, Kurri, Coffey, and Fuhr, I have many fond memories of calling games here.

In fact, a quick story about my trip from Detroit to Edmonton in May of 1988. My wife Colleen was expecting our twins, so I was reluctant to fly on the team charter right after game 4 in Detroit. I asked if I could wait and fly commecial two days later. My boss at the time was Jim Lites, now the president of the Dallas Stars. He asked the owners, Mike and Marion Ilitch, if I could fly on their private jet on the day of game 5 and return with them after the game. The Ilitchs said no problem, so I flew in style to Edmonton for game 5. The only problem was that we left about an hour later than planned because Mr. Ilitch had to attend to some business. As I looked at the flight plan and estimated arrival time on the screen aboard the Gulfstream jet, Mr. Ilitch sensed I was getting nervous. When he confirmed that we were landing at Edmonton International around 7:00pm local time (the game started at 7:30pm), I said I probably would be late for the game. He went into the cockpit and spoke to the captain. When he returned, he said everything was OK and I would get to the arena on time, but he offered no further explanation. When we landed in Edmonton, there was a stretch limo for the Ilitch family....and a helicopter for me! Three of my friends in the organization who were also on the plane joined me for the ten minute helicopter flight from Edmonton International to Edmonton City airport. Upon landing at City Airport, a black sedan took us to the Northlands Coliseum (the former name of Rexall Place). A security person at the building met me at the door and I was in the broadcast booth at 7:28pm. I tapped my partner Mickey Redmond on the shoulder and we hustled down to the on-camera position and we executed the live open as if we had rehearsed it all afternoon!

The Wings were eliminated that night and I flew back to Detroit in the Gulfstream jet. A couple of days later, the Strader twins arrived in this world (7 lbs each)! The date was May 25, 1988...so this blog is dedicated to my boys, Casey and Trevor, both of whom I am so very proud, as they turn 18 tomorrow.

If there is a game 5 in this series, I'll rejoin you from Anaheim. Otherwise, I'll have a series recap from home as we all await the Stanley Cup Finals!!!

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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