EDMONTON – Game 5 between the Sharks and Oilers will be remembered primarily for Edmonton’s late dominance, as it completely controlled play in overtime capped off by David Desharnais’ game-winning goal in a 4-3 triumph.
But to assume that it will be more of the same to start Game 6 would be misguided. The fact is the Sharks actually played a pretty darn good road game despite what the stats – both traditional and advanced – say.
Yes, the Sharks were outshot 48-30 in the game, and out-attempted a whopping 107-56. But they also managed to erase an early 1-0 hole to take control of the game in the second period, and were keeping the Oilers from getting any prime chances in the third, too. That veteran savvy that experienced teams show this time of year was on full display.
Oscar Klefbom’s game-tying slap shot wasn’t all that great of a scoring chance, either. He just wound up and fired the puck as hard as he could, and had Joe Pavelski been standing in just a slightly different position, the shot wouldn’t have made it through. It’s a wonder that it didn’t touch the Sharks captain, who looked to be in the right spot.
“The block is there for me, it misses me – probably got a screen on [Martin Jones] maybe a little bit, they tie it up,” Pavelski said.
While it’s concerning that the Sharks were stuck in their own end in overtime, there’s no reason to believe that will have any effect on Game 6, as this series has shown that there really is no such thing as momentum from game to game.
Edmonton responded after a horrible final two periods in Game 1, the Sharks were dominant after dropping Game 3 with their season essentially on the line, and the Oilers quickly put that 7-0 defeat behind them in time for the start of Game 5.
The Sharks shouldn’t have to change up a whole lot ahead of Game 6 at home with their season on the line.
“I liked our game,” Pete DeBoer said. “You’re left with the taste of the overtime, but the 60-minute game, we came out and weathered the storm, found a way to get the lead, found a way to play with the lead right until two minutes left.
“There was a lot of good stuff here on the road in a tough environment. I think we’ve got to remind ourselves of that and forget the overtime and what that felt like, and get ready for the next game.”
Of course, the Oilers are showing a bit of mettle themselves. They took a beating in Game 4, and the Sharks landed some more punches in the first and second periods of Game 5, too.
Edmonton still found a way to reclaim the series lead.
“Our group believes,” Todd McLellan said. “We know how bad we played in Game 4, but we were able to park it, and start again, make amends. It didn’t look good for us, but we kept at it. When we do that, we’re a tough out.”
Oilers forward Mark Letestu said: “Momentum in this series clearly hasn't carried over. It seems like we've been going back and forth. It's going to take another good game on their ice to seal this thing out. We have to be ready for it, to take it to another level."
Game 6 should be another dandy. Both teams have a right to feel pretty good about themselves headed into it.
“There’s a lot of mood swings [in the series], but that’s the way it goes,” Mikkel Boedker said. “You’ve got to play every game like it’s the last game. … We get [to go] home now, and we’ll look to tie it up.”