Monday, May 08, 2006

Thornton finds the range

The good news for the Edmonton Oilers was they kept Patrick Marleau off the score sheet. The bad news; Joe Thornton tallied his first points in the playoffs and the Oilers now trail their best of seven series 2 games to none.

San Jose once again found the way to win! Surviving a five on three power play in which the Sharks had two players playing without sticks, the Sharks came out of it energized. It wasn’t that much after that power play was negated, that San Jose blasted down the ice to pick up Thornton’s goal.

From that point on it seemed as thought the Oilers were cursed once again, the Sharks controlled the play with their speed, sending the puck time and time again into the Edmonton end of the ice. Out hustled on the fore-check Edmonton could only try to regain control in their own end and try to get past the wall of Sharks set up in the neutral zone, most times they were turned back to start the quest all over again. By the end of the game, the Sharks were once again full value for a 2-1 victory and the series lead.

The hits were dealt out in blazing style in this one, a crashing bashing style of hockey that left more than one player gasping for breath after a heavy collision. Dwayne Roloson found himself in the middle of things from time to time as well, as the Sharks crashed the net and wreaked havoc on Roloson. The Oiler goaltender was so frustrated with the lack of respect shown in his crease area that he came out and cross checked Nils Ekman, after Ekman shot the puck in the Oiler net after a whistle.

San Jose set up shop in the Edmonton end of the ice for far too much time on the night, by the end of the game Roloson had faced 38 shots on net, while Edmonton could only offer up 26 shots on the Sharks Vesa Toskala. The Sharks goaltender denied the Oilers throughout the game, but he also had some excellent help from a defence that managed to clear the zone of any danger.

The series now moves on to Edmonton for Wednesday’s game three, a must game for the Oiler who need to turn it up a notch more than they have. The Sharks have for the most part been in control of the series so far, for Edmonton to get back into things they need to dominate on their home ice.

It’s been a few years since the Oiler faithful have been close to a Stanley Cup berth. Unless Edmonton can re-tool the game plan quickly, the wait will be a bit longer for the folks in Oiler land.

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