Edmonton Oilers eliminate San Jose Sharks, will face Anaheim Ducks next

By Ross McKeon, The Sports Xchange  |  April 23, 2017 at 10:25 AM
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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- The new kids on the block taught the old dogs a few new tricks.

The upstart Edmonton Oilers scored a pair of breakaway goals within 56 seconds early in the second period to eliminate the defending West champion and veteran San Jose Sharks 3-1.

Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot stopped 27 shots as the Oilers triumphed in Game 6 to win the best-of-seven first-round series 4-2.

"It's a great feeling in this room right now," Talbot said. "That's a veteran group over there and they've been around before. We knew that we were going to have make a little climb here. Especially in this building, coming in we knew it wasn't going to be an easy game."

Patrick Marleau's third goal of the series -- and 68th of his 177-game postseason career -- at 12:12 of the third period pulled San Jose to within a goal and brought the SAP Center sellout crowd to life.

The Oilers were guilty of a too-many-men penalty at 15:03 to give San Jose a third power play, but the Sharks could not convert despite captain Joe Pavelski ringing a turn-around backhand effort off the crossbar and goalpost 1:15 into the advantage.

"When I initially shot it I turned around and saw it came out weird," Pavelski said. "That was that second post. I thought maybe it hit that inside bar, but it didn't."

Edmonton held on with goalie Martin Jones pulled for an extra attacker late before Connor McDavid filled an empty net with less than a second remaining to set up a second-round matchup against Anaheim next week.

"We thought it was going to be a competitive series," Sharks forward Joe Thornton said. "We felt we could win this series. Both teams played well. They are going on and we're going home so it's disappointing."

"You've got to find a way to win 2-1, 1-0 in the playoffs," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "It's not realistic to get three or four every night. They found a way to win the close games and we didn't."

The Oilers broke through 54 seconds into the second period when Leon Draisaitl converted a breakaway with a backhand-to-forehand move to tuck his first goal of the series between the legs of Jones.

The sequence started when Edmonton's Oscar Klefbom blocked a shot by San Jose defenseman Justin Braun at the right point and forwarded the puck to defense partner Adam Larsson, who sprung Draisaitl with the outlet pass as Braun trailed.

Edmonton took advantage of a San Jose turnover to score again quickly. Sharks defenseman Paul Martin stretched for a Chris Tierney pass at the right point, but the puck squirted off the defenseman's stick to a breaking Anton Slepyshev. He broke in alone and filled Jones' five-hole at 1:50 for his first goal of the series.

"Leon had a big goal there and then Slepy with another big one back to back," Talbot said. "We were going to have to check hard coming down the stretch and we did a good job of finishing it off."

The Sharks tried to muster at least one goal before the end of the period, but Talbot stoned them at every turn.

Rookie Marcus Sorensen, promoted from the fourth line to the second line at the outset of the period, drew iron with 11:12 left. The Sharks managed two shots on goal on their only power play of the opening two periods and Edmonton's Benoit Pouliot checked Logan Couture's stick or he might have converted into an open net.

Talbot denied Joonas Donskoi on a turnaround effort inside the final 25 seconds of the period.

"You need some bounces along the way," Marleau said. "You create those bounces. We didn't get enough."

"Excuses are for losers," Couture said. "You've got to step up and play at this time of the year. It doesn't matter if you're hurt, there are a lot of guys around the league playing hurt. It doesn't matter if you're tired, you've got to find a way. They found a way and we didn't."

Edmonton had the better of play in the opening 20 minutes, but couldn't find the back of the net while outshooting San Jose 9-6 and in spite of losing 10 of 12 faceoffs.

The Oilers had the only power play of the period. San Jose's Joel Ward hooked Draisaitl at 14:19, but the Sharks had as good of a chance to score short-handed as Edmonton did with a 5-on-4 advantage.

Couture intercepted a Mark Letestu pass deep in the Edmonton zone and fed Melker Karlsson before the San Jose forward was denied in close by Talbot midway through the kill.

Edmonton recorded one shot on goal during the power play.

"It's tough to be up two and give up a goal with seven minutes to go,'' McDavid said. " That's stressful. ... I think we're a little bit more mature than people give us credit for and I think we showed that tonight."

NOTES: Sharks coach Peter DeBoer opted for one lineup change, replacing rookie LW Timo Meier with LW Joonas Donskoi, a healthy scratch in Game 5. DeBoer also made minor tweaks to three lines. Only Patrick Marleau-Joe Thornton-Joe Pavelski remained together at the outset of Saturday's game. ... Edmonton did not make any personnel changes and went with the same lines in Game 6 as in Game 5. ... The Sharks are 6-18 all-time in Game 6 (3-8 at home) and 12-19 historically in elimination games. ... LW Mikkel Boedker was struck in the face by a deflected shot originating from D David Schlemko, and went straight to the locker room late in the second period but returned to play in the third.

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