"We came in here, we established home ice and now it's best of three", said Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, who was replaced in the second period. This season, that figure was down to 2.52 per game, eighth best in the National Hockey League.
The Sharks had only 16 shots in a Game 3 loss in San Jose on Sunday, but had 14 in the first period in Game 4.
"There's a mandate here in San Jose, effective Game 3 of the Stanley Cup playoffs Round 1", Dreger said. Thornton missed the last three games of the regular season and the first two games of the playoff series with the Oilers. Kassian pounced on the loose puck and swept a backhand through Martin Jones' legs.
The Oilers shut out the Sharks for the second straight game on Sunday, as Cam Talbot made 23 saves in the 1-0 victory.
The rediscovery of the power play was a big change for the Sharks, who had gone 2-of-15 with the man advantage in the series.
The Couture wrister would not be the last power play goal for the Sharks either, as San Jose would muster up four more goals following Edmonton penalties and go 4-for-8 on the power play for the night. They will try to carry that over into Game 5 on Thursday night in Edmonton. "I don't know if there was really any time to let frustration settle in", said Pavelski. They arrived in Redding, Calif. on Sunday, then drove the final 250-kilometre leg to San Jose. Defensively, the Edmonton Oilers are allowing 2.5 goals per game and are killing 80.7 percent of their opponents power plays.
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. The teams biggest stars shine brightest in series in which they had otherwise been invisible; Brent Burns tallied 3 assists while Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture each netted 2 goals respectively, with Patrick Marleau, rookie Marcus Sorenson, and defenseman David Schlemko each adding a goal of their own. "I think our power play in the second game mimicked our 5-on-5 play".
"You know, during the decade of darkness, you have your head hung low and you're wondering when is this going to end." said Downton.
"We want to get that fixed", DeBoer said. "We'll need to find a way to get our offence up and running as well". Brossoit gave up two goals on eight shots.
It was ugly. The seven-goal margin of defeat was the worst playoff loss in Oilers franchise history.
"It was critical", Pete DeBoer said of scoring first. But the fact that they have overcome their imperfections and put themselves in the driver's seat against the defending Western Conference champions bodes pretty well for their future, both in the short- and long-term.
After being outshot 13-6 in the first period, the Oilers controlled the play in the second, with the Sharks struggling to keep up with McDavid's speed.
The Sharks coach shuffled up his top three lines in Game 4, striking the right note up and down the lineup.
"You can't say enough about him right now", Talbot said of Kassian. "Guys just played comfortable (this time), played more of our style of game".