Sharks beat Oilers 3-2 in overtime in Game 1

"I think it's exciting for them to get that opportunity".

LUCIC THE LEADER: While many of Edmonton's key players will be getting their first taste of the National Hockey League playoffs, the Oilers do have a few key veterans to show the youngsters the way.

The Sharks head into the playoffs having lost nine of their final 13 regular season games, fading from the top of the Pacific Division to a third-place finish. Though the young center has played well as the regular season ended, he will need to carry the streak into the playoffs. They held the Sharks to two regulation goals or fewer in four of the five matchups, while Edmonton averaged 3.2 goals per game.

"We've played long stretches of real good hockey this year", he said. It was as if, after showing off their stuff in the first period to post that 2-0 lead, they figured they could keep being flashy the rest of the night. After that, the next three games, if all three are necessary, will be played in San Jose. He went from an undrafted backup netminder to one of the most impressive goalies in the league. Fast-forward a year and many are picking the upstart Oilers to send the Sharks home early from the Western Conference playoffs. Depending on the health of Joe Thornton and Logan Couture, the Sharks could have 1,169 at their disposal.

If both Thornton and Couture are not available for the opener, expect the depth players on San Jose to step up. Thornton has missed three games with an injured left knee and Couture has been out seven games after being hit in the mouth by a puck. Only three playoff teams finished 2016-17 with a better Corsi for percentage than San Jose, and that trio of squads - the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens - are all among this year's cup favorites. I can't bring myself to pick against San Jose and the last 27 years we have shared, just to say "I Told You So".

"We forechecked them hard", said Couture.

The second game in the best-of-seven, first-round series is in Edmonton on Friday night. "It was so exciting just to be a part of it all, so that's what I'm excited for this time". Last year, the power play and depth players made an impact to propel San Jose into the final.

McDavid passed the puck to Mark Letestu, who rifled it off Jones' pad right to Lucic. Cam Talbot made 41 saves for the Oilers, while Sharks goalie Martin Jones stopped 17 shots, a lot of them in the first period. But despite a long history with numerous key players on the Sharks, McLellan sees little advantage.

After Elliott stopped 15 shots in 40 minutes of action, David Rittich worked the third, his first crease call at the big-league level.

San Jose cut the lead in half 1:43 into the second period on the power play. Joonas Donskoi came around behind the net and fed the puck in front on the backhand to Ward, who redirected the puck past Talbot. San Jose was just 19 in scoring at 2.7 goals per game and 25 on the power play at 16.7 percent (last among playoff teams). The Sharks were 1 for 6 with the man advantage while Edmonton was 1 for 3. Edmonton winger Jordan Eberle said that took a toll.

"We've got to stay out of the box".

"You identify where he is, and you make sure that whoever it might be is in that area denies him the puck", Olczyk said.

"We had a tough time generating some momentum after that". We just had to stick with it. With the iPads, which were tested late in the regular season, they'll have real-time video capabilities to show players their own shifts minutes after they happen as they discuss adjustments.

  • Julie Sanders