In a rematch of yesterday’s Western Conference Semifinal tilt, the San Jose Sharks played host to the Edmonton Oilers Monday night at HP Pavilion. Thanks to an outstanding effort by Vesa Toskala coupled with goals by Tom Preissing and Joe Thornton, the Sharks defeated the Oilers by the final score of 2-1.
Looking to take a commanding two game lead in the series, the Sharks sent Toskala to the net. The Finnish netminder, who came into the game boasting a 5-1 record with a 1.84 goals-against average in the playoffs, was opposed by Edmonton trade deadline acquisition Dwayne Roloson.
When action started at the Shark Tank, it saw Team Teal lighting the lamp first just over four minutes into the contest. A loose puck in front of the net led to a scrum near the crease. Roloson was able to eye the puck and make two saves, but when the puck squirted out to Preissing, he lost track of it. The blueliner fired a wrister top shelf past him, giving the Sharks the early 1-0 lead.
The Sharks weren’t content hanging on to their lead and nearly extended it when Patrick Marleau
led a two-on-one with Steve Bernier. But the captain’s pass was broken up by Chris Pronger, allowing the Oilers to escape danger.
Action got heated when Pronger rifled a shot on net that Toskala made the initial save on. But following the save, the puck remained in front of the net, allowing Edmonton to get a crack at lighting the lamp. But Toskala wouldn’t stop making highlight reel saves, as he laid flat on the ice and managed to stop an onslaught of Oiler shots.
The Sharks headed on the power play for the first time midway through the frame after Raffi Torres was whistled for interference. With 39 seconds left on the advantage, the Sharks earned another one when Jarret Stoll hooked Joe Thornton
. The Sharks weren’t able to convert on either advantage as the sides evened up.
With five minutes left in the period Pronger was called for hooking. After the play was whistled dead, Nils Ekman received a puck and shot it in the net, earning a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. Roloson also received two minutes for roughing, and the Sharks earned another power play. The Sharks wouldn’t capitalize as the game remained 1-0 in their favor.
The Sharks headed to the locker room with their one goal lead intact after out-shooting the Oilers 14-10.
When play resumed in the second a scary scene broke out at HP Pavilion. Milan Michalek took a vicious elbow to his jaw which laid him out for several minutes. Once he got up off the ice, Michalek was escorted back to the locker room. He would return with eight minutes left in the second.
Midway through the frame Matt Greene was sent to the box for delay of game after shooting a puck over the glass. But despite moving the puck well, the Sharks went without a goal on their fifth power play of the night.
Patrick Rissmiller was called for interference with seven minutes left, sending Edmonton on their first power play of the night. Just 18 seconds into the advantage, Josh Gorges was sent to the box for boarding, forcing the Sharks to kill off 1:42 of five-on-three time. For nearly the full two-minute advantage, Mark Smith, Scott Hannan and Kyle McLaren were stuck on the ice fighting off the penalties. Making it that much more difficult, Hannan and Smith were playing without sticks as both of them broke. Hannan made an unbelievable diving pass that enabled the Sharks to clear the zone and get some fresh legs back on the ice.
The Sharks successfully killed off both penalties, but just 10 seconds later Sergei Samsonov tied the game at one when he found the top shelf after a scramble in front of the net left Toskala helpless.
The Sharks earned the next advantage, however when Steve Staios was called for interference. This time the Sharks would finally make them pay on the power play. Jonathan Cheechoo fired a shot on goal that deflected off Roloson and towards Joe Thornton
. Thornton caught the puck, set it down and found the back of the net. The Sharks regained their goal lead.
With just over two minutes left, Shawn Horcoff was called for tripping, sending the Sharks back on the power play. After many strong opportunities to score, the power play ended with the score still 2-1.
As the second period came to a close Team Teal held a 2-1 lead and were 20 minutes away from a 2-0 series lead.
Seven minutes into the third period the contest was as physical as advertised. Much like it was in Game 1, both teams were dishing hits like they were going out of style, while San Jose clung on to their one-goal lead. The Sharks were outshooting Edmonton 37-22 late in the third and but there was still no room for error with just a one-goal lead.
Marleau attempted to add the insurance tally with four minutes remaining, however, his effort bounced off the post.
On the other end of the ice, Ethan Moreau cut inside the defense and let loose a backhander in close on Toskala, but the Finnish netminder made the stop and held on despite a couple of Oilers crashing into him.
With just over a minute left in the frame, Edmonton pulled Roloson in favor of an extra attacker. The Oilers couldn’t muster up enough and came up short, losing the game 2-1 for the second consecutive night.