San Jose took to the ice in their must win contest against the Oilers in the 2006 Playoffs presented by Intersil. The crowd at Rexall Place was ramped up in hopes of closing out the series, but the Sharks obviously had different plans. Unfortunately Edmonton spoiled those plans, ending the series in six games after earning a 2-0 victory Wednesday night.
Vesa Toskala and Dwayne Roloson squared off in the nets for a sixth consecutive time. Up front, the Sharks were forced to go without Alyn McCauley again and Sharks Head Coach Ron Wilson decided to go with seven defensemen, providing Rob Davison his first action of the series.
Mark Smith drew the game’s first power play when Matt Greene tripped up the Eyebrow, Sask., native in the corner, but a Nils Ekman interference call eliminated the power play just 38 seconds in as San Jose had the puck in the offensive zone.
During the four-on-four hockey, Joe Thornton
came down the wing, cut under his defender and drove the net. He then dropped a pass in the slot for Cheechoo, but Roloson made a spectacular stop to keep San Jose from the early advantage.
Toskala came up large on the others side of the ice when Raffi Torres picked up a loose puck in the slot and ripped a one-timer that Toskala was well-positioned for.
The ice opened up again when Ekman and Chris Pronger were called for matching minors with 13:35 left in the first. After a strong chance by Thornton, Michael Peca split the defense and found himself alone on Toskala, but the Finnish netminder made the first stop and grabbed the rebound.
Peca would visit Toskala again moments later and this time he would convert. With Scott Hannan skating the puck away from trouble, Peca reached around and pushed him down. With the referee’s whistle remaining silent, Peca had a mini-breakaway on Toskala and he lifted the puck to the top corner for the 1-0 lead. Patrick Marleau
used his speed to turn around Jaroslav Spacek at the blueline and create a two-on-one with Smith. Spacek hooked Marleau and Team Teal was again on the power play. Just 33 seconds into the advantage, Jarret Stoll tripped up Christian Ehrhoff providing San Jose 1:27 of five-on-three time.
The Oilers penalty killers responded though by preventing any scoring chance and preserving the 1-0 first period lead.
San Jose took to the ice for their fourth power play of the period when Fernando Pisani boarded Davison. As the penalty wound to a close, Peca nearly struck again. A loose puck on the boards sent him in alone on Toskala, although Hannan was closing fast. The Sharks blueliner disrupted him enough and forced a soft shot. The puck did squeak behind Toskala, but he was able to move it before it crossed the goal line.
The home club would take their 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
The first three-and-a-half minutes of the second were rather quiet until Mark Smith was called for tripping. One minute into the advantage, Pronger flung one toward the net that ricocheted off Stoll, but Toskala was able to make the sprawling save.
The Finnish netminder would quickly be tested again when an up-ice pass sprung Ryan Smyth on a breakaway. Toskala made the stop, but Ehrhoff was called for hooking and Edmonton skated out for their fourth power play. Edmonton worked the puck around the perimeter until Stoll blasted a shot from the left faceoff circle, but it sailed wide as did the man-advantage.
With eight left in the second, Torres tripped up Patrick Rissmiller entering the offensive zone. Marleau was outstanding controlling the puck on the offensive side and the Sharks just missed out on tying the contest when a Steve Bernier shot rang off the post. As the power play wound down, Horcoff skated in alone on a potential shorthanded situation, but Toskala kept his cool and turned away the shot.
Team Teal would take one last crack on the power play in the second when Stoll tripped Marcel Goc with 1:54 left in the second. San Jose was moving the puck briskly during the advantage as Ekman was setup for a shot alone in the slot. Roloson made that stop, but received a bit of lady luck when a Matt Carle shot rang off the post, the second such bounce for the Sharks in the game.
The special teams battle continued when Scott Thornton was called for interference just 1:30 into the third stanza. That penalty was finished off, but the Sharks faced a second consecutive shorthanded situation when Tom Preissing was given two for interference. Marleau almost single-handedly killed off the final 30 seconds of the shorthanded situation. He and Joe Thornton
created a chance on the rush and Marleau managed to corral the puck two more times and allow Preissing to return to the ice with no damage done.
The Sharks continued to have trouble keeping the puck out of their zone and Edmonton made them pay with just over eight minutes left. Harvey made a pass from behind the net that Horcoff drilled in the back of the net. The Oilers now led 2-0.
With 6:51 left, the Sharks were sent back on the power play when Torres was called for roughing Bernier. The power play needed to be one in which the Sharks must convert on. The two minutes ticked off the clock, however, without the Sharks lighting the lamp.
Edmonton nearly extended their lead to three when Moreau headed down the ice on a breakaway. Once again, Toskala was up to the task as he made the initial save and laid flat on it so it wouldn’t trickle by him.
San Jose headed on the power play for the eighth time when Smyth tripped Goc with just over two minutes left in the contest. Toskala left the net, giving the Sharks a full two minutes of six-on-four time. The Oilers did a good job of clearing the puck without letting San Jose set up for more than a few seconds at a time. The rest of the clock expired, giving Edmonton the 2-0 win and a 4-2 series victory.