Disappointment. That was the common theme from Sharks players following their 2-0 loss in Game 6 of the 2006 Playoffs presented by Intersil. Edmonton took four consecutive victories and advanced to the Western Conference Finals with a 4-2 series win.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Mark Smith. Joe Thornton
echoed the comments.
“It’s disappointing to win the first two and lose,” said Thornton. “We need to have better focus next year.”
The critical play in Game 6 was when Michael Peca pushed Scott Hannan down from behind, resulting in a breakaway tally in the first period. Edmonton added an insurance goal late in the third, but Peca’s goal proved to be the game-winner.
While there probably should have been a penalty on Peca’s goal, the Sharks weren’t dodging the loss.
“We’re not here to make excuses,” said Hannan. “They scored and that’s it. We’ve got to learn from this series. We let it slip away.”
“Apparently they didn’t think it was a call,” said Ron Wilson. “It was pretty obvious and they got the advantage there.”
The Sharks feel that no matter what was or wasn’t called, they should have better handled certain events.
“We didn’t adapt to the playoff type of hockey they were calling,” said Smith.
“The Edmonton Oilers were a littler bigger, a little stronger and a little more physical,” said Ville Nieminen.
SERIES TURNING POINT
The Sharks had won the opening game and were winning Game 2 when a late hit from Raffi Torres knocked Milan Michalek out of the series for two games. The Czech winger, who posted points in the first two games, could not regain his form when he returned.
“The turning point to the whole series was the hit to Michalek that knocked him out,” said Wilson. “That took apart that line and affected the whole series.”
San Jose managed to get 24 shots on Dwayne Roloson, but could not solve the Oilers trade deadline acquisition.
“We came out hard and had a good first,” said Cheechoo. “There were a lot of shots, but they weren’t going in. We didn’t get as many pucks on net as we wanted and we didn’t win the battles.”
San Jose had eight power plays on the game and much like the rest of the series, had trouble scoring on the advantage.
“It’s tough when you can’t get the power play going,” said Cheechoo. “We couldn’t get the pressure and they shut us down.”
“If we could have gotten a couple of power play goals, it is probably a different series,” said Joe Thornton
. “Special teams was the number one factor. We could have won the series.”
The Sharks found the post unkind in the six-game battle. Joe Thornton
had one bounce the wrong way that would have created a 4-1 lead in Game 4 and San Jose rang two off the pipes when the score was still 1-0 in Game 6.
“We had a couple hit the cross bar and it could have been a different story,” said Patrick Marleau
. “A couple of inches here or there . . . we definitely had our chances to bury this team.”
STRONG IN NET
In the crease, Vesa Toskala was outstanding as he allowed just two tallies and both times he was alone on the shooter. The game could have gotten out of hand early except Toskala was impressive, stopping three of four breakaway opportunities.
“Vesa played amazing, stopping so many breakaways,” said Cheechoo.
The breakaways and odd-man rushes did not faze the Sharks netminder as he knew the Sharks had to take chances.
“We had to play desperate and things like that can happen,” said Toskala.
Even when the series looked its bleakest, the Sharks drew a late penalty and were attacking until the very end.
“At no point did anyone quit,” said Scott Thornton. “They just played better the last four games.”
“I believe in every guy in this room and believed that we could have won the Cup,” said Smith.
The effort was there all night, but the results never came.
“They blocked a lot of shots and tonight we just didn’t have enough,” said Wilson. “We had our opportunities. This night we seemed to be a foot away from every rebound and loose puck.”
Just like 29 other teams that fall short of the Cup each season, the Sharks will have to take what they can from 2005-06.
“The experience will help a lot of our young guys next year,” said Marleau.
Sharks television color commentator Drew Remenda called his final game for the Sharks as he has decided to move back to Saskatoon for family reasons. Remenda, who has served the San Jose Sharks as an assistant coach in the NHL and the IHL, as well as working on radio and television, not to mention his stellar work on Shark Byte, will work full time on his radio show in Saskatoon.
Sharks fans are sure to miss the man who was able to break down the game for first time viewers and life-long fans alike.