The Edmonton Oilers returned to the HP Pavilion at San Jose for the first time since their Western Conference Semifinal Series against the Sharks. And as they did in Game Five of that series, they left San Jose with a victory, this time winning 3-2 before a capacity crowd on Wednesday night.
Click here for video highlights from Wednesday’s game.
San Jose looked to run their winning streak to four with the visiting Oilers in town. Evgeni Nabokov and Dwayne Roloson manned the pipes and San Jose saw Mark Bell return to the lineup.
Right off the bat Edmonton was on the power play and just 25 seconds into the power play, and 1:30 into the game, they were up 1-0. A Marc-Andre Bergeron slapshot found its way upstairs and San Jose was facing an early 1-0 deficit.
Hard work by Joe Thornton, Mike Grier and Patrick Marleau nearly tied the contest four minutes in. With Thornton alone on the doorstop, the puck landed just under his feet. The problem was it was right under his feet and by the time he gained control, Roloson was able to make the stop.
Ryane Clowe, who entered the contest with five goals in the last two games, found another way to please the crowd when he battled Matt Green. The two tied each other up early, but Clowe landed a late uppercut to take the decision.
Team Teal was outshooting Edmonton 9-2 seven minutes into the contest when the Oilers took to their second man-advantage.
San Jose would be victimized by another long screened shot, this time by Mathieu Roy. On the play, Bell was clearly interfered with on his way to cover the point. Then Roy easily let his shot go and it found its target.
While no penalty was called there, Doug Murray was called for holding a moment later and the Oilers struck again. This time Jarret Stoll scored from just inside the left circle to make it 3-0. San Jose was outshooting Edmonton 11-5, but the guests had scored on three of the five shots.
The Sharks were down to Detroit 3-0 just two games ago and quickly began showing the same resolve. On the following shift, Marcel Goc’s shot from the right side of the crease went through Roloson’s arm pad and trickled across the line.
San Jose played well in the first period, but would have to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the next 40 minutes.
Seconds in the middle stanza, Raffi Torres took a run a Patrick Marleau, but when the captain raised his arms to defend himself, Torres ran into his stick and Edmonton had a four minute power play. Thanks to the usual work of Mike Grier, Curtis Brown, Marcel Goc and Patrick Rissmiller, along with heavy work by the blueliners, San Jose survived unscathed.
With 8:30 left in the second, the Sharks were relentlessly pounding Roloson and appeared to have the puck squirt loose to an open Sharks player. But the ref thought the puck was covered and had blown the whistle. Then what looked like a clean hit by Nieminen was called roughing and the Sharks bench and crowd were fully raged. The vast majority of the crowd was engaged in a chant not fit to write.
With 2:15 left in the second, the Sharks finally received a whistle to their benefit and the crowd gave a loud cheer knowing the situation. San Jose teased the crowd, including one play that bounced of Clowe and right through the crease, but the score would remain Edmonton 3, San Jose 1 after 40 minutes.
Back-to-back Oiler penalties allowed just a bit too much of the NHL’s power play and the Sharks made Edmonton pay. San Jose was crashing the net when two Oilers knocked into each other and left the puck to the side of the crease. Jonathan Cheechoo swooped in and lifted a backhander over the pile for the tally. San Jose was now one tally short of completing the comeback.
The Sharks kept pressuring and pressuring, outshooting Edmonton 8-3 in the first seven minutes of third period action. Then with 12:42 left a Stoll penalty put San Jose up a man with a chance to tie. Roloson was fending off Sharks at close range the entire two minutes, but Edmonton killed off the two minutes.
Marleau earned a golden chance to tie the game with four minutes remaining as he found himself on top of the crease unguarded. But Roloson denied the Sharks Captain with a sensational right pad save, easily the best save of the game.
While the Sharks were still trailing Edmonton by a goal, they were far from out. Another pair of shifts with sustained pressure in the Oilers zone created drama near the end of the game, but referee Brad Watson crushed any hope of a Sharks comeback whistling Josh Gorges for hooking with 1:21 remaining.
Time expired while Edmonton was on their ninth power play of the evening, more than twice as many chances as the Sharks were awarded, as the Oilers snuck out of San Jose with a fortunate 3-2 victory.
|FINAL ||1 ||2 ||3 ||T |
| ||Edmonton ||3 ||0 ||0 ||3 |
| ||San Jose ||1 ||0 ||1 ||2 || |
|EDM: ||BERGERON, M. (PPG, 01:35 in 1st), ROY, M. (10:43 in 1st), STOLL, J. (PPG, 11:19 in 1st) |
|SJS: ||GOC, M. (12:44 in 1st), CHEECHOO, J. (PPG, 02:41 in 3rd) |