Sports

McDavid, Kassian score short-handed, Oilers beat Sharks 2-0

McDavid, Kassian score short-handed, Oilers beat Sharks 2-0

With Brent Burns on the back end, finishing the regular season with 76 points, 29 goals and 47 assists leading all defensemen in points and goals, the 32-year-old bearded wonder will be the backbone for this Sharks team. Couture is also optimistic about playing as he recovers from taking a puck to the face, which caused him to miss the season's final seven games.

They outshot San Jose 36-16, including 12-6 in the second and 15-3 in the third and got shorthanded goals from Zack Kassian and Connor McDavid, along with a shutout from Cam Talbot, to even the series 1-1.

San Jose's roster has combined for 1,169 games in the Stanley Cup playoffs compared to 342 for Edmonton (most of those by Milan Lucic). Up 1-0 in the series against Los Angeles in 2016, the Sharks won another hard-hitting one-goal game against the Kings in Game 2 at Staples Center to head home in total command.

Kassian scored 42 seconds into the second period when Pavelski, on a Sharks' power play, lost control of the puck at the Oilers' blue line. "They didn't look anything like the team that we've seen in the last two months tonight, but they looked like the team that went to the Stanley Cup Final previous year".

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. "You want to make sure that he doesn't get easy opportunities, odd man rushes - make sure he's coming through three or four guys".

This has been a breakout season for McDavid, who entered the league in 2015 with the hype of being the next great NHL star.

"He was unbelievable", said captain Connor McDavid of Kassian.

After McDavid's goal, the Sharks had to chase the game. "That part of it doesn't change".

The Sharks were in this same spot in the first round last season. This one was a reversal of Game 1, when the Oilers were outshot 44-19 en route to a 3-2 overtime loss. "It was his show tonight", said McDavid.

"Our power play in our second game mimicked our 5-on-5 play: we weren't hungry enough (and) we got outworked in a lot of areas".

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

"We've got to just get back at it", DeBoer said Saturday in a conference call.

Though both Thornton and Couture have been skating at practice, no timetable is set for return.

Game 2 goes Friday in Edmonton. And finally, the Sharks have something bigger to play for. Coach Todd McLellan said after the game that Klefbom indicated he's OK.

The proceeds of Wednesday's 50/50 draw go the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northern Alberta. But despite a long history with numerous key players on the Sharks, McLellan sees little advantage. "It's what you play hockey for, to get into the postseason and I have a chance to do that finally".

DeBoer said after Game 2 that the series was now looking like a long one.

San Jose's power play, ranked an anaemic 25th in the regular season at 16.7 per cent, was otherwise ineffective. Though the young center has played well as the regular season ended, he will need to carry the streak into the playoffs. Hansen gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead 61 seconds into the game. After getting some of their playoff jitters out of the way, the Sharks dominated most of the game.


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