Sharks Explode For Seven (7!) Goals in Game 4 Rout
By: Sam Lubman
There may or may not have been a sense of impending doom hanging over SAP Center before the puck dropped for Game 4 between the San Jose Sharks and the Edmonton Oilers. And could you blame anyone for thinking that? The Sharks offense was straight anemic the first three games in this series and had been scoreless for 120 straight minutes. But the funny thing about hockey, especially playoff hockey, is how fast something like that can change. And change it did, as the Sharks posted a touchdown in Game 4, beating the Oilers 7-0.
Coming into this game, I figured a fast start was a must for the Sharks. Get out early, get the crowd into the game and go from there. Joe Pavelski wasted no time getting to that strategy, scoring 15 seconds into the game. And yes, 15 seconds is the fasted goal to start a game in Sharks playoff history. And that was all she wrote, we just didn’t know it yet. The Sharks hands down dominated this whole game from start to finish, and the Oilers seemed out of sync and lost the entire game.
One factor that really hasn't played a major part too much in this series, until tonight maybe, was the age/ experience difference between the two teams. It showed a bit late in Game 1 when the Sharks won in overtime, and it was abundant in Game 4. The Sharks are WAAAAYYYYYY more playoff savvy that the Oilers are, and the Oilers played like a team that was way in over its head tonight. The Sharks held McDavid scoreless for the second game in a row, after he tallied at least one point in his last 16 games, including the first two games in this series.
This is McDavid's first bout with the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and it will in no way be his last. But for his first time under the big lights, the second year center and Hart Trophy favorite is looking like the youngster that he is. Oilers head coach Todd McClellen mentioned after the game that this isn't a coachable fix for McDavid, he simply needs to learn how to play on the big stage. He will get there someday, but if the Sharks can keep someday from arriving for three more games, then they will win this series. The Oilers showed their age big time tonight, especially when they got down big and started getting a little too chippy on the ice.
One tense moment came in the second when Leon Draistail was given a game misconduct and ejected. Draistail speared Chris Tierney in the hockey pucks, something that is very frowned upon, to say the least, in the hockey community. Tierney left the ice briefly, but came back for the third period and was in good spirits in the locker room after the game (I'm sure the 7-0 final score played a role in that). Head coach Pete DeBoer expects the league to review the incident, which could draw a suspension for Draistail.
Hey, you know who else had a really good game? (Marcus Sorensen?) Yes, he did, by getting his first career playoff goal, but that is not who I was talking about/ (Brent Burns?) Okay, yes, Burnsie did get three assists on the night, which is big because he has struggled to get any offensive momentum in this series. No, I am talking about Martin Jones, who was his usual Martin Jones playoff self. But Playoffs Martin Jones is so incredibly good, and tonight he quietly pitched a shutout, and I would hazard to guess he barely broke a sweat in the process. Of course, Jonsey got some huge help from the Sharks defense. After allowing 12 shots in the first period, the Sharks held the Oilers to 11 in the final 40 minutes of play. Five of those shots came in the second when the Sharks scored four goals. Yes, the Sharks almost had as many goals as the Oilers did shots. These are the kind of fun stats you get in a 7-0 rout.
Game 5 is Thursday in Edmonton. Will the Sharks have some momentum going into the game? Maybe. This one will definitely sit with the Oilers for a bit, but there is no guarantee that that hangover lingers when the teams cross our northern border.
Game 5 is Thursday at 7:30 pm on 98.5 KFOX. Go Sharks!