San Jose Sharks' Melker Karlsson (68) and Patrick Marleau (12) celebrate a goal as Oilers' Darnell Nurse (25) skates past during overtime National Hockey League playoff action in Edmonton, Alta., on Wednesday, April 12, 2017.
The San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers meet Friday in game two of the first round of the National Hockey League playoffs at the Rogers Place.
EDMONTON, Alberta There's no question the Sharks need to pay close attention to Edmonton Oilers power forwards Milan Lucic and Patrick Maroon in this opening-round playoff series after they combined to score five goals in the last two meetings between the teams. The series continues in Edmonton Friday night at 7:30 for Game 2.
The Sharks had a first period to forget but found a rhythm in the second period, with Joel Ward's power play goal helping to change the momentum.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a breakout year last season by registering a career-high 39 points. But despite a long history with numerous key players on the Sharks, McLellan sees little advantage. "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. "I hope to come out tomorrow and join the guys, but we'll just have to wait and see".
This time the Oilers were in control for the entire night and it was the veteran, battle-hardened Sharks who spent much of the night on their heels.
Wave after wave of fans decked out in their orange jerseys streamed into the arena in anticipation of the first playoff game to be played in Edmonton in 11 years.
Edmonton absolutely has to get contributions from outside the McDavid line (and they did in the first period when Lucic fed Oscar Klefbom for the game's first goal), but for most of Wednesday's game it wasn't clear which players other than Zack Kassian were ready to step up. Last year, the power play and depth players made an impact to propel San Jose into the final.
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Sharks: Joe Thornton (left knee) is doubtful. Couture, who was the leading scorer of last season's playoffs, will center Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson on San Jose's first line Wednesday evening. Anything can happen, any team can get hot or ride a hot goalie until they end and more often than not it does. They'll need to hit the ice like they're playing in game 82 of the season against Vancouver.
"I don't think there's a lot of fear in young players", he said. - The Sharks can't get discouraged if things don't go as planned in Edmonton.
"(We're) just not coming off at the right time".
"You identify where he is, and you make sure that whoever it might be is in that area denies him the puck", Olczyk said.
"He's played 82 games with that target on his back", said McLellan. "We expect it and we'll deal with it like we always have". The win was even more surprising as the Sharks finished the season 1-22-1 when trailing after 2 periods.
Win streaks were immediately followed with poor performances, and a nine-point lead in the Pacific Division vanquished.
"A split is what you want", Burns said of heading home with the series knotted "We know we have better games in us than we showed tonight". "It's just a matter of outworking and outplaying them".