Playoff experience gives Sharks an edge in Game 1 win over Oilers


After getting 10 shots on net in the first, Edmonton managed just nine more through the next three periods. Milan Lucic pumped a mid-range shot past Martin Jones, and the Oilers were up 2-0 after two.

Joel Ward says his team stuck with the process. Additionally, they managed a goal against the Sharks, and it can do more damage.

Yes, the Oilers have lost home ice advantage, but they also saw that their best is good enough to win this series. They were almost 12 per cent below the league average in the percentage of loose pucks recovered in their defensive zone, a brutal performance.

The onus is on them now, especially in the defensive and neutral zones, to compete as hard as the their opponent did in game one. There were chances for the Oilers to stretch the lead - Connor McDavid snuck behind the defense for two Grade-A chances - but in the end, it looked and felt like the Sharks were more comfortable with the amped-up intensity of the playoff environment. Edmonton winger Jordan Eberle said that took a toll.

"You guys keep talking about experience", DeBoer said. "The guys who kill (the penalties) are wasting a lot of energy and the guys who aren't are sitting on the bench". "We talk about it all the time".

The sold out crowd, which was already revved up from seeing its first Oilers playoff game in 11 years, didn't need long to be sent into a frenzy. The Sharks' power play has suffered from the absence of dominant center Joe Thornton. He missed seven games after having his mouth and teeth smashed by a deflected puck.

It was Edmonton's first playoff win since the spring of 2006.

They will be available at Game 2 on Friday at the north LRT entrance on a first-come first-serve basis, two hours before puck drop.

"We've got to be able to maintain a pace throughout the game".

"At this time of year there is always another good team that gets in your way so it's not going to be handed to you, you have to go earn it".

McDavid's goal came at the 10:31 mark of the third period, as he picked up loose puck in his own end, streaked up the wall and beat Jones for his first career playoff goal. On Thursday, Todd McLellan made mention of Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski seeing extended minutes on the power play (they had a whopping 9:36 and 8:42, respectively), while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins spent 6:20 killing penalties.

Letestu promptly passed it to a streaking Kassian, who barreled in alone and fired a wrist shot low past the blocker of goalie Martin Jones.

The Penguins built a 3-0 lead in the second period with goals from Bryan Rust, Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino.

The Sharks had 44 shots on net.

"We didn't tonight, and that's got to get fixed going forward". We did a good job during the regular season.

The Oilers continued to dictate the pace in the early going. However, Thornton is expected to be a game time decision in Game 2.