The comeback of all comebacks got its legs 14 years ago today when the Edmonton Oilers beat the San Jose Sharks in game four of the 2006 playoffs.
Jason Smith paced the Oilers with a goal and two assists, but before we get into that game four win, it’s important to remember what had happened two nights prior in game three.
Edmonton was already down 2-0 in the series losing games one and two on the road to San Jose.
With game three returning to Rexall Place, the ball was in Edmonton’s court in a decisive, potentially series-deciding game. If Edmonton loses, they face eliminated after dealing the Detroit Red Wings a first-round loss. A win gets them back in the series.
Marc-Andre Bergeron broke open the scoring for the Oilers with a power-play tally at the 10:04 mark of the first frame with a slapshot from the point. In the second, San Jose responded. Patrick Marleau and Patrick Rissmiller scored goals giving the visiting Sharks a 2-1 lead.
Marleau corralled a loose puck Oilers goalie Dwayne Roloson couldn’t find, while Rissmiller fired home a quick one-timer from the slot.
In the third period with the game on the line, Raffi Torres came up clutch for the Oilers. With assists by Jarret Stoll and Chris Pronger, he found the back of the net at the 13:13 mark of the period. Torres took a Stoll pass breaking into the left side of the offensive zone firing a long wrist shot that beat Vesa Toskala.
With the game tied at two, the Oilers and Sharks needed an extra frame.
Roloson came up big in the second OT when Rocket Richard trophy winner Jonathan Cheecho fired a shot that forced the Oilers goalie to slide across the crease making a big glove save.
And Horcoff was the eventual hero with the 3OT winner. His linemates Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth got a strong cycle going in the offensive zone. Smyth got deep on the forecheck forcing the Sharks defence to cough up the puck before sliding behind the net. Hemsky corralled that puck and found Smyth, who faked a wraparound attempt before finding Horcoff.
There, number 10 made no mistake in ending one of the longest playoff games in NHL history.
The win was monumental as it launched the Edmonton Oilers on a path to victory in the series.
As important as that game three was, game four was equally important.
Much like that game three, Edmonton knew how important a big game four would be for determining the series.
Joe Thornton and Nils Ekman broke open the scoring for San Jose with first period tally’s at the 3:47 and 6:40 mark, before Horcoff got the Oilers on the board at the 12:55 mark of that frame.
Cheechoo extended the San Jose lead 9:02 in the second, before Edmonton came roaring back in the form of five unanswered goals. Michael Peca and Sergei Samsonov scored at the 12:28 and 15:35 mark of the second.
In the third, Edmonton finished the game in wild style with three more goals. Jason Smith, Ales Hemsky and Stoll all contributed third-period goals to ensure the victory.
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