Stoll-en moment

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Jarret Stoll can only imagine what it's going to be like.

"Chills up and down my body," he suspects.

"Going to be jacked. Gotta be jacked.

"I can't wait for the puck to drop and to go in on the forecheck and crush a defenceman.

"I can't wait to win my first faceoff and block my first shot. I sure can't wait to score my first big goal."

When you haven't played a Stanley Cup playoff game before, waiting for Game 1 is like waiting for Christmas as a kid.

When you were a big part of a team getting to the playoffs in only your second season in the league, it's like waiting for Christmas when your birthday is Dec. 25.

"I remember Kelly Buchberger scoring a big goal. I remember Todd Marchant scoring an even bigger goal," he said.

"Everybody dreams of being a Stanley Cup playoff hero. I hope I'll end up with some of those memories in my career."

PLAYING IN A STRETCH DRIVE

Stoll represents the difference between playing in a stretch drive to make the playoffs and actually playing in the playoffs. The difference is the excitement that comes with playing in the playoffs. Nobody dreams as a kid of playing in an excruciating playoff race. Everybody dreams of playing in the playoffs.

"I remember as a kid watching the Calgary Flames winning the Stanley Cup. I was seven. And I wasn't cheering for them. Make sure you put that in. I wasn't cheering for Calgary.

"I remember watching the Canadian teams wondering what it would be like to play in that atmosphere. You can't help but be excited. I've played in a couple of Memorial Cups. But I can't imagine how I'll be jacked for the Stanley Cup playoffs."

Stoll was third in Oilers point production despite playing most of the season with offensively challenged players - at least until Sergei Samsonov came along.

He had a breakout season with 22 goals and 68 points. Not including last night's games, Stoll sat 52nd in league point production with one more than Jarome Iginla and five more than Martin St. Louis.

He knows the Red Wings are going to try to shut down the Oilers' first line of Ryan Smyth, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff.

His line is going to have to put the puck in the net.

And there's going to be a priority on winning faceoffs. That's been where Stoll turned the most heads this season. It's not often a second-year player finishes fifth in the league in faceoff percentage.

Stoll ended up at 56.8. Detroit's Kris Draper was fourth at 57.7. Edmonton's Michael Peca ended up 13th at 54.9 and Shawn Horcoff 22nd at 52.7, one spot behind Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk at 53.1.

As a team Edmonton finished second to Nashville in the faceoff circle at 53.4 and Detroit third at 52.9.

FACEOFF WIZARD

Stoll put himself in the Oilers record book in the faceoff category this season, which takes some doing with the numbers his boss Craig MacTavish used to do. He won 21 of 22 faceoffs in a game against Vancouver just prior to the Olympics to break Michael Peca's record of 15 of 16 set earlier in the season.

"I got off to a good start percentage-wise. It slipped a bit down the stretch. My goal is 60% every night. I work a lot with Billy Moores at practice. I've even learned how to cheat a little bit to win the odd one," he laughed.

Whatever it takes, winning the faceoff battle against a top faceoff team will go a long way in the series. The Oilers learned one thing just over a week ago in losing a down-the-stretch game 2-0 to the Red Wings in Detroit.

They drive you crazy by controlling the puck most of the time. Win the faceoffs and you at least get to start with it.

"It'll be huge in this series," said Stoll. "You have to win your share of them and definitely win them in key situations in your own zone."

Stoll said his personal goal for the playoffs is the same as it was for the season.

"I want to be confident and consistent. If you show that, they'll put you out in those key situations. I want to be out there in those key situations."

Stoll said he knows you're nuthin' until you've done it when it matters most.

"It's one thing to do it in the regular season. You have to be able to do it in the playoffs."


Videos

Photos