The Edmonton Oilers opened their Western Conference Semifinal series on May 7th with a tough 2-1 loss at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California. Luckily for the Oilers, they were able to get right back at it the very next night in Northern California with Game 2 against the Sharks.
Unfortunately, things turned out the exact same way for the Oilers, a close 2-1 loss to the fifth-seeded Sharks.
This time, San Jose opened the scoring. Patrick Marleau fired a puck on net from the slot that Dwayne Roloson knocked away, but the rebound bounced out in front of the net creating a scrum. Milan Michalek collected the puck and fired a shot that was blocked and popped to Steve Bernier, who dropped it back to Tom Preissing. Preissing blasted a shot through traffic that beat Roloson at 4:26, giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead in the game.
Edmonton would even the score at 1-1 15:23 into the second period on Sergei Samsonov’s second of the playoffs. Steve Staios fired a shot on goal that Vessa Toskala knocked away, but a scrum ensued and the puck bounced to Samsonov at the top of the crease, who fired a backhand shot by Toskala.
The Sharks needed just 2:06 to respond. On the powerplay, Jonathan Cheechoo found clean air and fired a shot that missed the net but came right to Joe Thornton, who knocked the puck down and batted it into the empty net at 17:29.
For the second game in a row, the third period was scoreless, and the Sharks took home a key 2-1 victory. San Jose now led the series 2-0, and was in full control as the action shifted back to Rexall Place.
One thing of note from this game? Edmonton came alive physically. Young Raffi Torres put a massive hit on Michalek in the second period that began to shift the momentum towards Edmonton. Up until that point, the Sharks were physically bullying the Oilers in the series. Torres’ hit, while not being enough in Game 2, set the tone for the remainder of the series for Edmonton.