Photo Credit: Perry Nelson - USA TODAY Sports

GDB +1.0 Wrapup: Worth the wait

Knoxville’s is your post playoff party destination

The Oilers started off the first frame strong. The Sharks surged early in the first playoff game at Rogers Place, with a strong start for the first five minutes, until the Oilers third line hit the ice.

The three players helped generate shots on net, and a big hit by Kassian on a Shark defender got the fans of Rogers Place cheering.

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A minute later, Oscar Klefbom scored the first goal of the game, and the first Edmonton Oilers Playoff goal in 11 years. Walking in from the point, Klefbom took a shot from the left side faceoff dot. The wrist shot deflected off David Schlemko and past Martin Jones.

The following shift saw the Oilers first line come out and continue the pressure.

By the 10 minute mark, it was clear that the Oilers were here to play. Every one was in on the hit parade, with even Jordan Eberle not shying from throwing his weight around.

The Oilers were faced with the task of killing off a few penalties. Eberle tripped up David Schelmko, and two minutes after killing that call, Kassian got a little flagrant with his stick. He caught Joe Pavelski in the face and he had to sit for two minutes.

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After some more back and forth play, the Oilers got their own power-play opportunity. The league’s fifth-ranked regular season power-play continued to click, as Milan Lucic scored a mere 38 seconds into the opportunity.

Not only was Klefbom’s goal scored on a shot to the five-hole, but so was Lucic’s.

The last 10 minutes was largely controlled by the Oilers showing their ability to play as a playoff team.

The Sharks started the second frame on the power-play, and with 15 seconds left in the first, Drake Caggiula got his stick in the hands of Patrick Marleau.

1:43 into the frame, the Sharks capitalized on their power-play opportunity as Joel Ward was able to slide a puck between the legs of Cam Talbot.

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Thanks, Matt’s family.

Minutes later, Talbot outwaited Brent Burns and made a huge save many feet out of his crease.

Their early goal clearly gave them life and despite a power-play chance for the Oilers, that momentum continued. Twelve minutes in, the Oilers were faced with another penalty to kill as Eric Gryba got called for hitting Logan Couture.

Look, I get it. Couture is coming off a major face injury, but I think the call was quite suspect. Even former NHL official Kerry Fraser thought so.

Oilers fans clearly agreed as the classic “Ref You Suck” chant rained down from the fans.

Overall, the second period largely saw the San Jose Sharks dominate play. While the Oilers didn’t look overpowered, it’s clear that the Sharks found some life after they had a lackluster first period.

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Despite the early goal to start the frame, the Sharks were unable to beat Talbot.

Terry Jones summed it up pretty well:

Well said Terry, well said.

Like they did in the second frame, the Oilers started off the third having to kill a penalty. However, this time the Oilers were able to kill it off.

Immediately after the young man jumped out of the penalty box, he had a breakaway opportunity. But as he went to fire a shot on net, his stick exploded in his hands.

For the first time in the game, things got a little rough when Iiro Pakarinen and Sean Tierney had an exchange in front of the benches. Players from both teams got into it, but there wasn’t much of anything to come of it.

Shortly after, Patrick Maroon and Marc-Edouard Vlasic both got into it and both had to sit for two minutes.

On the four-on-four, Paul Martin scored on a rebound that popped right out to him.

The ensuring minutes saw the Oilers struggle to maintain position. Costly turnovers had the momentum flowing in favour of the Sharks, but as he has all year, Cam Talbot stood strong in his net.

Tonight, the story of the game was clearly subpar. San Jose caught many breaks from officials all night long, but opted to call very questionable calls against the Oilers.

That rang true once again when Lucic got called for a slash on Timo Meier. The young Meir had been a pest for most of the night and found himself around the puck all night.

Meier came in and laid a hit on Lucic and the big man retaliated with a slash. Meier dropped to the ice like he just got shot with a 12-gauge shotgun and Lucic pleaded his case to the referees while heading to the box.

Minutes later, another good example of poor reffing came into play when Connor McDavid had a breakaway. His stick got lifted, hooked and held in the air. No call.

The Oilers fought through adversity, something they have faced all season, and brought the game to overtime.

Less than four minutes into the extra frame, the San Jose Sharks took away the Oilers home ice-advantage, when Melker Karlsson walked in and was able to beat Cam Talbot with a shot.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the Oilers started the game strong but the second and third frames were largely in control of the Sharks.

The Oilers have until Friday to reset for game two of the series. Fear not, Oilers fans. This is only game one of a seven-game series in what has been a long decade without playoff hockey.

Despite the outcome, the game was well worth the wait. The atmosphere in Rogers Place was electric, with the fans keeping the Oilers lifted throughout the night. As it was a decade a go, the Oilers home arena was clearly not an easy one to play in.

Friday, the Oilers need not take the Sharks lightly at times. Sloppy turnovers, a weak transition game and ugly zone entries and exits need to be eliminated.

The Sharks look like a team that was in the Stanley Cup Finals last year and the Oilers are clearly in tough, as we all expected.

  • Oiler Al

    Shots on goal 28-7 in the last two periods.Maroon & Drisaitl , didnt have a shot on goal all game!Both guys look out of shape!D-men dont have a clue how to move the puck out, standing around staring up the ice while everyone idles. [nice system]Playing to defend on the 4X4..dumb. 4 th line and #25 &#62 on the ice in overtme?? McLellan did not match Connor up against Burns.Terrible effort and terrible coaching.

  • JimmyV1965

    I think everyone should take a chill pill. The Oil played crappy. They took a 2-0 lead and became overconfident. I’ve never seen so many cutsie drop passes and most of them failed. After taking so many penalties, the Sharks gained momentum and then the boys totally lost their confidence. Instead of failed drop passes they couldn’t make any passes. They were off their game. Pro hockey players simply don’t make that many failed passes.

    Even if the Oil lose the series in 4 games it’s been an awesome year. They have exceeded my expectations. We move on, tweak the roster and come back even stronger next year.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    Sloppy play and lazy passes. That was the story of the game last night after the first period. The Sharks didn’t find a new gear or anything – they played consistently. It’s just that after the first twenty, whenever a San Jose player wanted the puck it was gifted to them one way or another by an Oiler.

    No point complaining about the officiating – its going to be that way through the entire playoffs. Obviously the league doesn’t give a crap about its premier players and allows the refs to ignore the rulebook for ‘parity’. Same old story. Will only change if someone publicly humiliates the league by calling them on it publicly – but none of the hockey press have the balls to do that. I almost barfed listening to the homerism from the HNIC crew last night.

    McLellan should just task someone to follow Connor around all day whacking him with a stick and getting in his face. Get him used to it so that he isn’t thrown off his game when the other teams do it and are allowed to get away with it.

    But we’re good. This is play-off hockey. The boys got hit last night but I’m looking forward to seeing how they come out on Friday. San Jose might have just poked the bear.

  • oilerjed

    If you are going to make that call on Cagguilla then there you HAVE to make those calls when it comes to hooking/holding/slashing and interfering on McDavid. AMIRIGHT? This league really needs a lesson in intergrity, but it doesn’t help when it is accepted around the league as it is. Even commentators on HNIC are suggesting that a good game plan for McDavid is to commit 50 penalties against him and hope that only 10 get called.

    In the words of the Big Arisotle, that is horriawful.

  • Britts94

    I would put in Slepyshev for Caggiula. Took two easily preventable penalties and then the Hockey Gods rewarded him by snapping his stick in a breakaway. Overall lots of sloppy neutral zone turnovers. Sharks did a great job of limiting speed through the NZ and that’s something the coaching staff will have to deal with.

  • Been there

    The officiating has and will continue to favour American based teams. The league wants American TV ratings and Canadian teams will not give them that, but that being said coaching plays a huge part in success. What is a call against our teams is not necessarily a call against their teams. A lot! For some reason TMac is determined to play Caggiula no matter that he is not quite ready. I noticed no Oiler was willing to hit Couture, not even bumping him. I thought maybe they were just resting Maroon the last game but after last night I am thinking maybe he is hurting, did not play physical or go to the dirty areas. As for McDavid I would move Kassian up and then see if the Sharks want to manhandle him or agitate with Pavelski all over him.

  • toprightcorner

    When the Sportsnet panel was talking about the non calls n McDavid, you know the reffing was bad. Hoping with them saying something that McDavid will not continue to get mugged all over the ice