After an impressive game one win, in which the Sharks played arguably their best hockey in over a month, San Jose found themselves losers of two-straight to Edmonton by way of the shutout. But all was salvaged with an absolute 7-0 beat down by the playoff hardened, experienced Sharks club over the young, upstart Oilers.
Martin Jones also clapped back at Cam Talbot with a shutout of his own to cement the win as a complete team effort. This entire game had the feel of older brother showing little brother who’s still boss after little brother got a couple decent shots in.
The scoring drought ended about as quickly as one could hope, after winning a faceoff in the Oilers’ zone Justin Braun ripped a shot from the point that was redirected by who else but the master of defelctions, Joe Pavelski, to put the Sharks on top just 15 seconds into the game, and effectively sent the goal starved crowd inside the tank into a frenzy.
After enduring multiple long stretches without recording a shot on goal in games two and three the Sharks clearly game planned to avoid repeating this particular mistake. They started shooting like Wyatt Earp at the OK Corral and pumped 13 shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of the first period.
The Sharks continued to show signs of addressing their biggest shortcomings in games two and three, as the power-play woes also showed signs of life and finally punished the overly aggressive Edmonton fore-check. With Kris Russell in the box for a hooking penalty on Timo Meier the Sharks took a couple trips into the zone with shades of the same old power play, i.e. lots of perimeter passing looking for perfect shots without much traffic in front of the net, until Logan Couture launched a wrister passed an off balance Cam Talbot resulting from some nifty cross ice passes to put the Sharks ahead 2-0.
After Justin Braun drew a Zack Kassian penalty heading into the first intermission the boy wonder, Connor McDavid, took a frustration interference penalty at the onset of the second period to give the Sharks a two man advantage. Edmonton was able to kill off the abbreviated two man advantage, but shortly after Kassian’s penalty expired the Sharks started teeing off on Talbot. During the barrage, Patrick Marleau, Mr. Shark himself, planted one in the back of the net with an absolute snipe over Talbot’s glove side shoulder to give San Jose a second power play goal and a three, nil lead.
Edmonton’s frustration started to boil over as they began over-checking and losing their marks. This eventually led to Marcus Sorensen netting his first career playoff goal as he picked up a Brendan Dillon rebound and sent it home. The goal was the product of the Sharks trapping the Oilers third defensive unit of Darnell Nurse and Matt Benning on the ice and wearing them down in the zone. The pair was visibly gassed and couldn’t get a clear or keep up with the Sharks puck cycling behind the net.
After two consecutive icing plays by the Oilers, the fatigue and frustration again led to a goal as the Sharks grabbed an easy faceoff win and Logan Couture buried the Sharks’ fifth score of the game. Shortly after the fifth goal, Edmonton’s youth and immaturity finally reached a boiling point. Leon Draisaitl took a stick to Chris Tierney’s unmentionables and received a five minute major and a game misconduct as a present to newly installed backup netminder Laurent Brossoit, who promptly allowed another masterful tip in goal by Captain America, Joe Pavelski, to keep the route on and move the score to 6-0.
To give a little perspective as to how much the Sharks dominated in the second, the Oilers spent roughly 11 minutes of the period killing penalties and allowed four goals in that time — two power play and two even strength. Also, the Sharks were able to move their shot total to 29.
As chants of “we want seven” rained down from the Shark Tank rafters, David Schlemko was happy to oblige the San Jose faithful and added another power-play goal to the San Jose tally, their fourth of the game, to give the Sharks a touchdown lead over the Oilers at 6:45 in the final frame.
The Sharks completely neutralized Edmonton’s play makers throughout the game. Connor McDavid wasn’t even a blip on the radar screen tonight and recent hero Zack Kassian had a solo opportunity against Martin Jones but nothing more. Edmonton will head home with their tails between their legs and the Sharks in hot pursuit for game five on Thursday night in Rogers Place.
Fear The Fin’s Three Stars
- Joe Pavelski 2G 1A
- Logan Couture 2G
- Brent Burns 3A