Oilers defence stepping up in Sharks series

Hazel Gray
April 21, 2017

Talbot had 23 saves and Kassian scored at 10:45 of the third period to lift the Oilers to a 1-0 win against the Sharks in Game 3 on Sunday. That penalty led to Pavelski's second goal, at 16:46, coming off assists from Brent Burns and Thornton.

Coach Peter DeBoer's team shouldn't expect things to get easier over the next two games in northern California starting when the Sharks and Oilers meet in Game 3 on Sunday night.

McLellan will no doubt be quick to stress that the series is tied at 2-2, with the Oilers heading home for game five.

But their big failing has been to allow a Sharks team that came into the series a beat-up bunch physically and even mentally considering their skid at the end of the season to twice get up off the matt, first in Game 1 and now again in Game 4.

With goalie Cam Talbot in net, the Oilers had shut out the Sharks the previous two games. Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, donned in a Sharks jersey, opened the dressing room door to lead San Jose's players on the ice before the game.

After enduring multiple long stretches without recording a shot on goal in games two and three the Sharks clearly game planned to avoid repeating this particular mistake.

Edmonton had a chance here to win a short series. "We gave them all the momentum they needed to carry through for the rest of the game". Previously, the Sharks had never won a playoff game by more than five goals.

Edmonton turned the tables in terms of territorial dominance while enjoying a 12-4 advantage in shots during the second period, but the game remained scoreless after 40 minutes.

Of course, it's also important to note that you don't get a single bonus for winning a playoff game by seven goals or by winning an overtime thriller.

The San Jose Sharks finally have both of their top injured forwards back in the lineup, but their returns have done nothing to improve the team's offense.

"We got this giant Oiler cake made for him, they did a great job of it, and his receptionist said, "Oh, he's going to love this, you Canadians are so nice". Thornton missed the past two weeks after injuring his knee in a regular-season game at Vancouver.

Couture wasn't the only Sharks player who took a physical pounding in Game 2.

Already, Talbot, said, he had put the game out of his mind. "You've just got to find a way for those one-goal games". Pavelski scored on a pair of deflections, including one just 15 seco.

Marleau started the onslaught with his first of the playoffs with a power-play strike at 2:02 after Edmonton defenseman Oscar Klefbom had a failed clear. Once that first puck went in, a bag of goals followed.

Hundreds of fans were cheering "Let's go Oilers" outside the SAP Center, and the noise continued inside. Also failing to beat Talbot are Joe Pavelski (29 goals in 2016-17), Patrick Marleau (27) and Logan Couture (25), who is still feeling effects of a facial injury sustained late in March. He has a goal and an assist from the two games in Edmonton. That made the Sharks stronger down the middle, McLellan said, and helped them dominate the first period.

Other reports by VgToday

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