Sharks Blitz Oilers with 7 Unanswered Goals, Even Series 2-2

April 18, 2017

NHL, San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones, center, stops a shot from Edmonton Oilers left wing Benoit Pouliot (67) during the third period in Game 4 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Tuesday, April 18, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

By Matthew T.F. Harrington

SAN JOSE, Calif. –The San Jose Sharks busted out of their Stanley Cup Playoff scoring rut in a big way Tuesday night at SAP Center, exploding for a Franchise record-tying 7 playoff goals unanswered to beat the Edmonton Oilers 7-0. San Jose scored four goals in an explosive second period to even the series 2-2 heading to Edmonton for game 5.

“It was nice score and to win by the margin we won by,” said Sharks coach Peter DeBoer. “But we still only get one win.  We don’t get anything extra for it. It’s 2-2, we need to follow it up and play well the next game.”

After being shutout in consecutive games by Cam Talbot and Edmonton, San Jose rode a pair of goals from Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski as well as solo scores from rookie Marcus Sorensen and Patrick Marleau. Brent Burns picked up 3 assists and Martin Jones made 22in a shutout win over Edmonton. The Sharks went 4-for-8 a man up, providing a much needed shining moment for a power play that has been at the heart of the struggles through games 1-3.

“They’ve taken some liberties and we haven’t made them pay the price for it,” said DeBoer. “I don’t think it’s a secret that as our key guys are getting healthy and feeling better we’re starting to look better in that area.”

Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl received a game misconduct for spearing Chris Tierney in the second period and may face disciplinary action from the Department of Player Safety including a possible suspension.

“The spearing call, that’s an ugly play,” said DeBoer. “There’s already been an incident like that in the playoffs [referencing Columbus’ Matt Calvert’s suspension for a crosscheck to the head]. The league takes care of that stuff. When teams make those types of plays, the answer has to be that you make them pay on the power play.”

San Jose scored the fastest goal in Franchise playoff history just 15 seconds into play after Joe Pavelski tipped Justin Braun’s point shot past Talbot for his first goal of the series and the Sharks first lead in the opening round.

“It was critical,” said DeBoer. “Our first period was similar to last game’s first period except we got on the board and got things rolling. That’s an important piece getting that momentum. We weren’t able to get that last game. To get it early and get that feeling was critical.”

Logan Couture added the first of four power play goals 11:02 into the period with Pavelski again in front of Talbot. The captain and Brent Burns assisted on the power play strike with Kris Russell in the box.

“I said in game one or two he’s got a lot of courage,” said DeBoer on his center, playing without a cage for the second game after missing the chunk of the stretch run with a facial fracture. “He’s got a lot of courage for what he’s gone through the last few weeks. Every day passes he looks better, he looks like his old self again.”

The Sharks used two elements from their successful first period, a power play and a quick start, to set the tone for their best 20 minutes of the postseason so far. Connor McDavid took an interference penalty with Zack Kassian already in the box for knocking the Oilers net off its moorings to end the first, leaving Edmonton down two men for over a minute of play 51 seconds into the second. While San Jose didn’t take full advantage with the visitors killing off Kassian’s minor, they managed to score just seconds after Kassian exited the box.

Burns worked the high point of the umbrella, feeding the puck to Patrick Marleau in the high slot. The Sharks leading scorer ripped a wrister past Talbot for his first goal of the playoffs and a 3-0 lead 2:02 into the second. Marleau had been playing on the top line with Pavelski and Joe Thornton with San Jose at even strength in an attempt to get the veteran scorer going.

The Sharks would go 7-plus minutes, what felt like an eternity with the pace they would set later in the period, before Sorensen would score his first career playoff tally and San Jose’s fourth goal. Sorensen batted home a rebound of a David Schlemko point shot 9:46 into the second, giving the defenseman and Joel Ward assists on the score into the open net.

Couture and Pavelski would each score in the final half of the second with Couture’s goal coming on a snipe from the right slot 12:52 into the period and Pavelski scoring the sixth goal (and third on the power play) on a five minute power play 2:02 into Draisaitl’s major penalty for spearing Chris Tierney.

“I felt a stick between my legs,” said Tierney. “I didn’t feel well at the time…It takes a couple minutes to recover from something like that.”

The German-born forward, frustrated with his team’s performance after giving up the fifth-unanswered goal, took it out on San Jose forward Chris Tierney’s family jewels. Draisaitl lifted his stick up between Tierny’s legs, hitting him in the nether regions to receive the major and an early trip to the showers with 6:16 left in the second. Draisaitl joined goaltender Cam Talbot who exited the game in favor of Laurent Brossoit after goal no. 5.

The Sharks man advantage again used Edmonton’s frustration against it in the third period, scoring the fourth man-advantage goal of the night 6:45 into the third. Darnell Nurse was sent off for hi-sticking Joe Pavelski 5:48 into the 3rd, allowing the scapegoat for game 3’s loss David Schlemko to score his first of the postseason with a screen from Ward on Brossoit.

With the win, the Sharks have guaranteed they will play in front of the SAP crowd one more time this season, the only questions is what stakes they’ll be playing for. A win against Edmonton at Rogers Place Thursday night would mean a chance for San Jose to be in position to clinch the series in game six Saturday. A loss on the road would put the Sharks on the brink of elimination. The Sharks will head into that contest with extreme confidence after scoring a touchdown on the Oilers while the Oilers might be without one of their vaunted forwards as the league decides what to do with Draisaitl.

“It’s one of those games that just happens,” said Joel Ward. “It means nothing now going on to the next game.”

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