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Fear the Notebook: Are new lines the antidote for the Sharks?

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Yes and no.

Edmonton Oilers v San Jose Sharks - Game Four Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Sharks beat the absolute snot out of the Oilers last night, setting four franchise postseason records in process. They scored a record seven goals, a record four power-play goals, won by a record margin (seven, did I mention) and scored the quickest goal in franchise history (15 seconds).

So ... all better, right? Well ... maybe. Game four is obviously the best the Sharks have played in quite some time, postseason or not, but once the game got out of hand (you know, about five minutes into the second period) things became a little, well, pointless.

The series shifts back to Edmonton where, that’s right, the Oilers will lick their wounds and show up hungrier than ever for game five on Thursday. I don’t expect there to be much of a carryover from game four to game five, and neither do the Sharks; though I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

With that being said, I think there are still some things we can learn from Tuesday night’s performance to take into tomorrow’s game.

The Captain Line worked

No shit. With the exception of a broken shift where Joe Pavelski got hemmed into the defensive zone during a change, the possession numbers speak for themselves. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Pavelski were all firmly in the green.

Thornton still got the most sheltered minutes, and pulled up a bucket next to Jamie Baker near the end of the contest, but in a blowout, who cares? If there’s a concern it’s the ice time it got against Connor McDavid. While the group did fine last night in limited action, this is a group of guys whose speed can’t match McDavid and will be exposed in a breakaway. Something to keep an eye on.

Is the power-play back

Short answer: Probably not.

Long answer: If there’s anything to be said for confidence, last night’s game is it. Once the goals started coming, boy did they keep coming. If anything, I’d say Tuesday’s contest was an example of Edmonton’s absolutely morose penalty kill, but if that jumpstarts San Jose’s power play, I won’t be complaining.

Still, you set a franchise record for power-play goals in a playoff game... well, maybe they’ve figured something out. Go figure these goobers did it in the same series they gave up two shorthanded goals in a game.

Martin Jones stands tall again

The Sharks netminder has given up a whopping five goals in four games this series and is 2-2. That’s a pretty rough ride. Meanwhile his counterpart, Cam Talbot, has given up eight now. Ah, goaltending, don’t you love it? That lifts Jones into fourth (.973) in even-strength save percentage (among goalies who have started at least one postseason game). Not too shabby.

The Tomas Hertl line is just about perfect

I love what the Tomas Hertl-Timo Meier pairing has turned into in this series. The guys have been promoted to the third line because they were just too dominant to be left on the fourth line, and it’s great to see Pete DeBoer recognized that.

That being said, I think it’s time to get them a better linemate. They left Marcus Sorensen (great to see him get a goal, by the way) on the fourth line for Melker Karlsson on the third. Karlsson scored the overtime winner in game one but hasn’t had a great series in my opinion. I’d rather see Kevin Labanc draw into the lineup on the third line — or put Joel Ward up there.

Vlasic and Braun shut down McDavid ... but there’s a caveat

This is a classic good news and bad news situation. The good news is that for the first time this series, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun actually shut down Connor McDavid. The possession numbers, score-adjusted and everything, from naturalstattrick.com bear it out.

McDavid only had 33.74 percent of the shot attempts while on the ice against Vlasic and Braun (terrible ... for him) but only 40 percent of his shifts began in the offensive zone. In other words, McDavid didn’t get a lot of offensive zone starts, probably in part because things weren’t going so hot for the Edmonton Oilers. That’s still a great night for Vlasic and Braun, just a bit of necessary context.