SAN JOSE – One year after making their first-ever trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the Sharks’ season has come to an end in the first round of the playoffs.
Leon Draisaitl and Anton Slepyshev scored early second period goals, and the Oilers held on for a 3-1 win that included a late Connor McDavid empty net goal to eliminate the Sharks in six games at SAP Center on Saturday.
Edmonton, in its first playoff since 2006, will advance to face Anaheim in the second round.
The Oilers were the aggressors early, controlling much of the opening frame yet not denting the scoreboard.
That changed early in the second, though.
Oscar Klefbom blocked Justin Braun’s point shot in the high slot, resulting in a Draisaitl breakaway. The winger held Braun off on a backcheck and slipped the puck through Martin Jones’ five-hole at the 54-second mark.
Less than a minute later, Chris Tierney and Paul Martin couldn’t connect on a pass in the offensive zone, and the puck trickled out to the neutral zone. That’s where Slepyshev took control, speeding in on a breakaway of his own and converting at 1:50.
The Sharks finally showed some life at that point, and had a pair of great chances to get one back on the next few shifts. Marcus Sorensen couldn’t quite reach a Logan Couture pass on a two-on-one, though, and Cam Talbot kicked aside a Patrick Marleau partial breakaway.
San Jose went on its first power play of the game with 3:13 left in the second, but the Oilers killed it off. Talbot made another pad save on Joonas Donskoi’s turnaround wrist shot from between the circles with 20 seconds before the intermission to preserve the two-goal cushion.
Marleau brought Sharks back to within one in the third period. Logan Couture pushed the puck through the slot to the team’s all-time leading scorer, who tapped in his team-leading third goal of the series.
The Sharks had a chance to tie it on a power play when Edmonton was called for too many men, but Joe Pavekski’s backhand from just outside the blue paint rang off the crossbar and post with 3:45 to go.
McDavid’s empty net goal, his first even strength point in the series, came at 19:59.
The Sharks have now lost 12 of 13 series in which they’ve trailed three games to two. They are just 6-18 all-time in Game 6 of a playoff series, including 2-9 when facing elimination.
The Sharks failed on all three of their power plays. They finished 5-for-26 in the series, although four of them game in their Game 4 blowout.
Edmonton had just one power play and did not score, going 2-for-16 in the series.
Jones played in all six games for the duration, allowing two goals on 20 shots in Game 6. He’s now 16-14 in his playoff career.
Talbot stopped 27 of 28 shots, and in his first season as a number one starter on a playoff team recorded all four wins. The only game in which he didn’t play the entirety was Game 4, when he was pulled after allowing five goals.
Donskoi drew back into the lineup after he was a healthy scratch in Game 5. Timo Meier came out for the first time in the series.
Klefbom did not play in the third period, presumably due to injury.
An offseason a month-and-a-half longer than last year awaits the Sharks, bringing with it more uncertainties than in recent memory. The Sharks have a number of players not yet signed for next season, none bigger than pending unrestricted free agents Joe Thornton and Marleau.