21 seconds left in the game, with a score of 3-3, the Oklahoma City Barons got Rampage’d by a suddenly streaky San Antonio team. A pair of goals in the second and a pair of goals in the third, were just too much for the Barons as they continue to expose some raw wounds both offensively and defensively. The normally stout power play went 0-2, but props to the Rampage for only committing a few numbers of penalties while taking their chances carefully. They themselves went 0-3 on the power play, but the goaltending from Jakob Markstrom became superb. Yann Danis wasn’t too shabby himself, but he didn’t get the offensive firepower late in the game to get the job done.
The first period scoring began with Anton Lander notching his second of the year as newcomer Nathan Deck blocked an intercepted a pass in the first 11 seconds of the first period. The other first period goal for Oklahoma City came at the other extreme, with under a minute to play. This time it was Jordan Eberle connecting on a pass from Justin Schultz. But as soon as the Barons scored, the Rampage tallied one of their own. Scott Timmins beat Danis in the middle, and the period would end 2-1 favoring OKC.
Back and forth they’d go in the second period. Fewer blocked shots by San Antonio meant that OKC had some pretty solid chances on 10 total shots. It was Greg Rallo that would tie the game for the Rampage in the first 90 seconds of play. Three minutes later it was Magnus Paajarvi putting OKC back on top via a sweet setup from Teemu Hartikainen (swoon). Despite a cross check and a hook by San Antonio in the second, the Barons couldn’t connect on the PP and the period would end with the Barons up 3-2.
The third period was all about Danis trying to keep his team in tact, while the rest of the Barons waited too long for the play to develop. Jon Rheault unassisted to tie the game, and then, of course, the game winning goal by Scott Timmins (his second of the night) in the last 21 seconds of the game.
The Barons had moments of really great play, and moments where they just simply wanted to win based on skill as opposed to hard work. They’d lose to the San Antonio Rampage in the first half of a two-game series, 4-3.
I don’t question the heart of this team (not much at least), and I certainly won’t begin to do that today. My issue is that there are a handful of players on this team that are naturally gifted enough to get the job done — both defensively and offensively. Thus the rest of the squad relies on those people to get the job done. Roster imbalance? Perhaps. Lockout? Maybe. Lack of focus? Sure. But in reality the team isn’t winning with regularity when it should, and that sounds like an Oilers team if I ever heard of one.
Coach Nelson might be slightly handcuffed to his lineup, and whom fits where. That’s too bad. Because despite scoring at the top, he might dance through the lineup with a little more ferocity if there weren’t input coming from above. I’m not a fan of over-shaking things up, but it might be interesting to see this team function WITHOUT Taylor Hall. Or WITHOUT your leading goal scorer Jordan Eberle. Now before you hurl stones, one game of gut-checking to your team can go both ways. It can be viewed as disrespectful or it can be a teachable moment. That’s for a coach to decide, and for me, a fan, to let him make the call. But wondering about it it certainly interesting, thus I’ll mention it.
No Nuge, no problem for the most part. Arcobello did okay in between Hall and Ebs. However, the second line of Paajarvi-Lander-Hartikainen was en fuego from the drop of the puck. I’m not sure I’ve seen that line play better this season, and it showed on the +/- and chance outputs.
Disappointing was Josh Green between Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton. So problematic, and maybe a bit over its head. Either way, kinda ugly for that crew.
Martin Marincin and Justin Schultz didn’t have a glamorous game either, and that’s rare. Defensively Marincin had a broken stick situation that led to a Rampage goal, but it was how that play developed that caused me to close my eyes momentarily. Marincin, left to his own vices, might do rookie things. I find myself being fooled into thinking (just a bit) that he’s a solid solid player because he plays with a solid solid solid solid player. He’s good, shown improvement, but has lots of work to do.
Same two teams, Sunday afternoon. Watch, and see if things develop differently.