EDMONTON, Alberta — The Sharks were handed one power play opportunity after another Friday night as the Edmonton Oilers repeatedly put themselves down a man with a handful of reckless plays.
Not only did the Sharks not capitalize, but their ineffectiveness with the man advantage proved to be their undoing in Game 2.
Zack Kassian and Connor McDavid both scored shorthanded goals, helping the Oilers earn a rough-and-tumble 2-0 win over the Sharks to level the opening round series at one win apiece.
The Sharks finished the game 0-for-6 with the man advantage and didn’t generate much at even strength as they wasted a solid performance from goalie Martin Jones, who finished with 34 saves. Eight of his saves on the penalty kill, another one of the few bright spots for the Sharks as they killed all four Oilers power play chances.
The Sharks were outshot 36-16 for the game as Oilers goalie Cam Talbot earned the shutout. Game 3 is Sunday night in San Jose as the series now turns into a best-of-five.
On Kassian’s goal, Brent Burns had left the puck for Joe Pavelski near the Oilers blue line. Pavelski lost control of it, and it came to Mark Letestu, who found a streaking Kassian. He skated toward Jones and buried a wrist shot for the game’s opening goal just 42 seconds into the second period.
The Sharks’ power play came after a cross checking call on Oilers winger Patrick Maroon, who leveled Marc-Edouard Vlasic in front of the Edmonton net with 45 seconds to go in the first period.
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. McDavid’s goal came with Milan Lucic in the box for high-sticking.
It was obvious the Oilers wanted continue the physical play they displayed at times in Game 1. Through two periods, Edmonton had been credited with 33 hits to the Sharks’ 10.
Among the hits, Logan Couture was leveled by Kassian with 7:20 to go in the second period, sending the sold-out Rogers Place crowd into a state of delirium.
But the physical play also made the Oilers have to kill more penalties than they wanted. Kassian was called for roughing at the 13:04 mark of the first period and Maroon was given an elbowing penalty 7:02 into the second period.
The Sharks were unable to take advantage, continuing a season-long power malaise.
The Sharks’ power play finished the regular season ranked 25th in the NHL at just 16.7 percent, one of the team’s worst percentages over the last 15 years.
In their playoff opener Wednesday without Joe Thornton, the Sharks went 1-for-6 with the man advantage, with Joel Ward scoring their only goal.
Thornton appears to be making progress from a left knee injury he suffered on April 2, but he remained out of the lineup Friday with still no clear idea on when he’ll return.
“It was alright, not great,” Couture said of the Sharks’ power play in Game 1. “We created some chances. We scored a goal. They scored a goal. … Obviously we had more chances than they did on the power play, but it’s got to be better and create some momentum for us.”
The Oilers played at their usual fast tempo when they were at even strength in the second period when they outshot the Sharks 12-6 to keep momentum.
Jones made nine saves in the first period, stopping a pair of quality chances by Maroon on the Oilers’ first power play, and later saving a shot by Jordan Eberle on a shot from the slot.
The Sharks were not able to convert on their first power play chance in the first period when Zack Kassian went to the box for roughing Chris Tierney.