After two games in Edmonton, the series is tied 1-1. This series has been very physical, with Oilers throwing themselves at Sharks. San Jose, however, has had no answer to that physicality. As the road team, it is important to go on the road and steal a game, which is exactly what the Sharks did. Now, the series heads to Silicon Valley for Games Three and Four at the Shark Tank.
What Edmonton needs to do
The Oilers started the series hot. They scored two goals in the first period of Game One. That was about the only good from that game. However, Game Two was a completely different animal. The Oilers came out and, literally, hit the Sharks in the mouth. Their physical game was not matched by the Sharks at all. They scored two goals in Game Two, but the way they scored was not exactly conventional. Two, count them, TWO shorthanded goals. That was all the offense in Game Two. Cam Talbot came in and shutout San Jose, while the Edmonton defense yielded just 16 shots.
Edmonton needs to come out again on the road and dominate the physical game. The Sharks do not have an enforcer to protect their skaters, so they can be vulnerable. Hard hits, and a lot of them, is what took the Sharks out of their game.
What San Jose needs to do
If the Sharks come out and dominate the way they did from periods two and three from Game One, they will be fine. They dominated the neutral zone, which kept the Oilers from getting any real momentum going. They also outshot Edmonton 44-19. While Game One was pretty, for the most part, Game Two was downright disgusting. The Sharks power play went 0-6 with two shorthanded goals given up. The PP has been an issue all season, and Game Two magnified the Sharks’ biggest weakness.
If the Sharks want to win this series and go deep in the playoffs, they need to figure out the power play. They also cannot, I repeat CANNOT, let plays like this happen without some sort of retaliation. Maybe Coach DeBoer will think about starting Micheal Haley for Game Three.
Connor McDavid and the Oilers came out Game Two and popped the Sharks in the mouth. San Jose needs to do the same in Games Three and Four to regain momentum in this series. The Tank will be rocking and that should energize the boys in Teal. Which will prevail, youth or experience? Check back here with the Armchair All-Americans after Game Four, and for coverage on how the other series are going.
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