Programming note – Sharks-Oilers coverage starts today at 6:30 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on NBC Sports California
The best-of-seven series is tied, one game apiece
Game 1: Sharks 3, Oilers 2 (OT)
Game 2: Oilers 2, Sharks 0
Game 3: Sunday, April 16, Oilers @ Sharks (7 p.m.)
Game 4: Tuesday, April 18, Oilers @ Sharks (7 p.m.)
Game 5: Thursday, April 20, Sharks @ Oilers (7:30 p.m.)
*Game 6: Saturday, April 22, Oilers @ Sharks (TBD)
*Game 7: Monday, April 24, Sharks @ Oilers (TBD)
* - if necessary
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***Tonight is the Sharks’ first home game of the series. They went 8-4 at SAP Center in the playoffs last season, and were 26-11-4 at home in the 2016-17 regular season.
“We’re excited. I think we realize what it was to us last year,” Joe Pavelski said. “We’re looking forward to getting out there in front of our crowd and kind of just feeding off that energy, because it does give you a little bit of a boost.”
***The Oilers playing a more physical game then San Jose has become the biggest storyline in the series. Edmonton not only has a 90-54 advantage in hits through the first two games, many of them have been of the heavy and punishing variety.
The Sharks, though, don’t appear to be making any lineup changes other than Joe Thornton’s potential return. Pugilist Micheal Haley won’t draw in.
“For me, it’s not about big hits. We’re not a big hit team,” Pete DeBoer said. “Our physical play is puck possession, and being heavy and hard to play against. That’s the physical side of the game, for me.”
“If you define physicality by dropping the gloves and fighting someone, no, we don’t have that. But, I think we’ve got plenty of physicality in our lineup for what I would consider physicality.”
***The first thing that needs improving from Game 2, according to Pavelski, is, “probably just our compete level a little bit. … Whether it’s on our power play or five-on-five, we can be a little better there.”
The power play, of course, will have to be better after going 0-for-6 in Game 2 while allowing two shorthanded goals. Scoring a goal or two with a man advantage also might prevent the Oilers’ from taking so many runs as Sharks players, too.
“The only way to punish teams for taking too many penalties is to put a puck in the net,” Jannik Hansen said. “You score a couple early, maybe it backs them off a little bit.”
“That being said, you need to create offensive five-on-five, too. … The penalties have been called, but everybody knows the deeper [the series] goes that harder it is to get power plays. That’s where the five-on-five has to step up.”
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Brent Burns. After he was a force in Game 1 with 18 shot attempts, Burns was held to just five attempts (and two on goal) in Game 2. The Sharks’ leading scorer in the regular season is still looking for his first point in the series, and if the Sharks power play is going to start producing, Burns will have to play a role in that, too.
Oilers: Zack Kassian. The Oilers’ forward was the star of Game 2, scoring a shorthanded goal and delivering six hits, including a pair of heavy blows on Brenden Dillon and Logan Couture. The Sharks had no response for Kassian, who was permitted to run around in creating havoc all over the ice.
Melker Karlsson – Logan Couture – Joe Pavelski
Jannik Hansen – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Joonas Donskoi – Patrick Marleau – Joel Ward
Marcus Sorensen – Chris Tierney – Timo Meier
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Drake Caggiula – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Benoit Pouliot – David Desharnais – Iiro Pakarinen
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse – Matt Benning
Cam Talbot (starter)
Sharks: Joe Thornton (left knee) is questionable.
Oilers: Oscar Klefbom (lower body) is probable. Tyler Pitlick (torn ACL) is out.
SHARKS PLAYOFF RECORD WHEN…
The Sharks are 9-5 all-time when a series is tied 1-1. They are 10-4 when leading a series two-games-to-one, and 3-10 when trailing a series two-games-to-one.
The Sharks have an all-time Game 3 record of 22-13, including 13-6 at home.
When teams are tied 1-1 in a series, the winner of Game 3 wins the series 67.6 percent of the time (202-97 record).
“It’s big boy hockey, but our guys were hanging in, sacrificing. That’s what the playoffs are about.” – Brent Burns