The teams meet in Game 2 in Edmonton on Friday night, before continuing the series in San Jose on Sunday. This one was a reversal of Game 1, when the Oilers were outshot 44-19 en route to a 3-2 overtime loss.
Defensively, the San Jose Sharks are allowing 2.4 goals per game and are killing 80.7 percent of their opponents power plays. A minute into the third, Drake Caggiula had a breakaway chance to give Edmonton a 3-1 lead, but his stick broke before he could unleash a shot on Jones. San Jose was 1 for 6 with the man advantage while Edmonton was 1 for 3. Game 1 between the Oilers and San Jose Sharks goes down Wednesday night at Rogers Place.
Their work paid off with the tying goal at the 5:22 mark of the third period. "Force (the Oilers) to have to forecheck rather than dominate with the speed that (McDavid) plays with". Winger Joonas Donskoi came around behind the net and fed the puck in front on the backhand to Ward, who then redirected the puck past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.
But really, it all comes back to McDavid.
The sold out crowd, which was already revved up from seeing its first Oilers playoff game in 11 years, didn't need long to be sent into a frenzy. It is not a coincidence that they have reached the playoffs in 11 of the past 12 seasons, and played in the Stanley Cup final against the Penguins previous year.
The Oilers continued to dictate the pace in the early going.
The Oilers had four more attempts, two on goal, one wide and finally a block by Smith, who kills the remaining second by diving headlong to push the puck out of the zone and down the ice as the two-man kill expires and the roof is almost blown off by the crowd's wildly supportive response.
Connor McDavid's, the NHL's leading point-producer, also assisted on Lucic's goal.
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Leicester manager Craig Shakespeare: "There is a tinge of disappointment, especially when you go two up away from home". After the match, Allardyce spoke to Sky Sports about how important the point is: "It's a tremendous point for us".
Joe Thornton missed his fifth straight game, although he appears to be getting closer to a return after he skated for more than an hour on Friday morning. "We are looking forward to this and I think it is going to be a very fun series". We have a deep team.
Lucic said he planned to play his usual hard-hitting brand of hockey Wednesday.
But things went from bad to worse when dominant centre Joe Thornton got tangled up along the boards against Vancouver two weeks ago and injured his left knee.
"It doesn't matter where we were in March", he said. "During warmups, I took two or three good laps around the ice and had to tell myself to slow down". Anything can happen, any team can get hot or ride a hot goalie until they end and more often than not it does.
"But in that sense for us ... you don't go out of your way to hurt anyone, but you definitely want to let them know that you're there".
Edmonton (47-26-9) was one of the biggest surprises in the league this year with 103 points, two behind Pacific Division champion Anaheim.
"Whether you get a team hemmed in for 10 minutes or not and you don't score or you do score you've got to be prepared to do it again the next shift", said Pavelski. "We've seen that before".
"We've been through some adversity this season and we've always bounced back well".