EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Dwayne Roloson and the Edmonton Oilers protected the Canadian national anthem from another round of booing. They knocked out San Jose before the Sharks could get the series back home.
Michael Peca and Shawn Horcoff scored in front of a sellout crowd of pompom-waving fans Wednesday night, and Roloson made 24 saves in the biggest game of his career as the eighth-seeded Oilers beat the Sharks 2-0 in Game 6 of the quarterfinal series.
That put the Oilers in the Western Conference finals for the first time in 14 years.
"No one wanted to go back for Game 7 in San Jose," Horcoff said. "To come back and win four straight against that team shows a lot about our character."
After dropping the first two games in San Jose, Edmonton stormed back with four straight victories. It is the first time the Oilers rallied from an 0-2 deficit to win a series. They won two in a row at home and took Game 5 in San Jose after fans there booed the Canadian anthem.
That was just another sour note during the Sharks' sudden and unexpected slide.
"It's always tough to lose especially when you have the series lead," Sharks forward Jonathan Cheechoo said. "We're going home. It's just really disappointing."
Edmonton will now face the sixth-seeded Anaheim Mighty Ducks, who will host Game 1 on Friday. The winner of the best-of-seven series will take on the Eastern champion - Buffalo or Carolina - in the Stanley Cup finals.
The Oilers just squeaked into the playoffs but are peaking at the right time. They upset No. 1 seed Detroit and then took out San Jose, the top team left in the wild West, to reach the NHL's final four for the first time since 1992.
"This is obviously an exciting day," forward Ryan Smyth said. "We want to go down to Anaheim and give ourselves another chance. ... It's nice to shut another team out."
Peca scored when he and Sharks defenseman Scott Hannan chased a loose puck over the San Jose blue line. He outfought Hannan, and sent him down to the ice before racing in and wiring a wrist shot past the glove of goalie Vesa Toskala.
Horcoff doubled the lead with just over 8 minutes left in the game. He took Todd Harvey's pass from the corner and found himself alone in front of the net. With Toskala out of position, Horcoff lifted a shot in under the crossbar.
The Oilers were bailed out by Roloson after taking seven minor penalties in the first two periods. Roloson got stronger throughout and posted his first career playoff shutout.
"It's starts from your defense up, and we seem to play solid defensive hockey," Smyth said.
In the first period, Roloson used his quick glove hand to thwart Sharks captain Patrick Marleau on a close-in wrist shot. Soon after, on a 5-on-3 power play, he jumped in the air like a shortstop to snag a puck flying through the slot.
"We had our opportunities but we never scored," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "It certainly wasn't for lack of trying or lack of effort. It was one of those nights where we always would seem to be a foot away from a rebound or overskated an open opportunity.
"We were pressing, throwing everything at them, but it just didn't work."
Roloson also foiled Nils Ekman on a one-timer in front of the crease, and got a little help when Steve Bernier fired a shot off the crossbar in the second period.
He also credited the players in front of him for wiping out other scoring chances.
"When you're eliminating passing lanes, it's hard for them to get anything going," Roloson said.
Toskala also played well, stopping Peca on two breakaways in the first period and flicking out his right pad to stop Horcoff's breakaway in the second.
The Oilers fans razzed Toskala, who allowed 11 goals in the previous two games after giving up just five in the first three. The crowd serenaded the goalie with mocking chants of "Ve-sa! Ve-sa!"
The Sharks can also blame their exit on their woeful power play. San Jose was 2-for-27 going into the game and then went 0-for-8 on Wednesday.
This is the second consecutive season the Sharks have been knocked out by an Alberta-based team. They lost the 2004 Western Conference finals to the Calgary Flames, also in six games. San Jose was an overtime goal away in Game 3 from taking a 3-0 lead in the series but instead lost in the second extra session.
The turning point on the series came midway through Game 4 when the Sharks failed to protect a 3-1 lead. The Oilers stormed back in a 5-minute span to tie the game and then went on to win 6-3.
Notes: Edmonton fans cheered the U.S. national anthem so loudly that the noise drowned out singer Paul Lorieau. Oilers fans were asked to be on their best behavior after some in the crowd in San Jose before Game 5 booed the Canadian anthem. ... The Oilers are the only remaining team that has won a Stanley Cup title. They earned their fifth in 1990. ... Edmonton played its 12th game this postseason, the most of any team. ... Harvey's assist was his first playoff point.
|Michael Peca (2) ASST: NONE|
1 - 0 EDM
|Shawn Horcoff (5) ASST: Todd Harvey (1), Ryan Smyth (7)|
2 - 0 EDM
|Matt Greene Tripping|
|Nisse Ekman Interference on goalkeeper against Dwayne Roloson|
|Chris Pronger Interference against Nisse Ekman|
|Nisse Ekman Tripping against Chris Pronger|
|Jaroslav Spacek Hooking against Patrick Marleau|
|Jarret Stoll Holding against Christian Ehrhoff|
|Fernando Pisani Boarding against Rob Davison|
|Mark Smith Tripping against Michael Peca|
|Christian Ehrhoff Hooking against Ryan Smyth|
|Raffi Torres Tripping against Patrick Rissmiller|
|Jarret Stoll Hooking against Marcel Goc|
|Scott Thornton Interference against Marc-Andre Bergeron|
|Tom Preissing Interference against Shawn Horcoff|
|Raffi Torres Roughing|
|Ryan Smyth Tripping against Marcel Goc|