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2017 NHL Playoffs: Edmonton Oilers even series with win over San Jose Sharks

By Steven Sandor, The Sports Xchange
2017 NHL Playoffs: Edmonton Oilers even series with win over San Jose Sharks
Edmonton Oilers Connor McDavid skates towards the puck. McDavid scored a short-handed goal to give the Oilers a 2-0 victory over the Sharks Friday night. File photo by BIll Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

EDMONTON, Alberta -- The San Jose Sharks' power-play unit was deadly on Friday night.

That is, it was deadly for its own team. The Sharks gave up two short-handed goals, to Zack Kassian and Connor McDavid, as the Oilers won 2-0. The Western Conference first-round series is now tied at a game apiece.

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Kassian was a force all night long. The Stanley Cup playoffs have a strange way of giving role players the chance to become folk heroes. In Game 2, it was the Oilers third-liner who elevated himself to star level.

In fact, Kassian was so good, the Rogers Place sellout crowd erupted into chants of his name, as if the game was being played in a European soccer stadium.

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Outshot 44-19 in Game 1, the Oilers reversed the momentum in Game 2, outshooting the Sharks 36-16 and, maybe more importantly, out-hitting the visitors by a whopping 40-21 count.

Cam Talbot got the shutout in goal for the Oilers.

Down 1-0 in the series and needing to give the capacity crowd an early charge, the Oilers began the game by laying out a series of huge bodychecks. The loudest roar from the crowd came as Kassian caught Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon with his head down, and sent his quarry flying.

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By the official scorers' count, the Oilers outhit the Sharks 22-4 in the first period, Kassian then got the Oilers the lead just 42 seconds into the second period. While playing short-handed, Mark Letestu found Kassian with a breakaway pass -- and Kassian made no mistake when in alone on Sharks netminder Martin Jones.

Later in the second period, Kassian sent Logan Couture flying with another monster hit.

The Sharks had a total of six power-play chances on the night, but the Oilers scored their second on the penalty kill at 10:31 of the third, as McDavid scored his first career playoff goal, ripping a wrist shot by Jones.

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Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom suffered a leg injury in the third period, and did not return.

NOTES: Sharks C Joe Thornton missed his second consecutive playoff game due to a knee problem. He made the trip to Edmonton and is practicing with the Sharks, but has been held out of game action. ... The Oilers made one lineup change, bringing in D Matthew Benning and dropping D Eric Gryba. ... The Oilers also scratched C Matt Hendricks, LW Jujhar Khaira and LW Anton Slepyshev. ... The Sharks scratched D Dylan DeMelo, RW Kevin Labanc and C Micheal Haley. ... No Canadian teams qualified for the playoffs in 2015-16; so far this season, the five Canadians teams have combined for a 2-5 record.

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