EDMONTON – The first storm came early, and it was expected. It was the second storm that developed out of nowhere and blew the Sharks’ house over.
After withstanding Edmonton’s first period push and even taking a lead before the opening frame was over, the Sharks were thoroughly pummeled in overtime of Game 5 of their first-round series. The Oilers’ David Desharnais scored at 18:15 of the overtime period to give his team a 4-3 win, in a result that seemed inevitable as the extra session progressed.
Leading 3-2 to start the third, the Sharks decided about midway through the frame that they’d start trying to run out the clock. It’s a strategy that’s not uncommon, especially on the road in an unfriendly environment.
They were doing it well, too, until Oscar Klefbom unleashed a powerful one-timer that beat Martin Jones to the far side with less than three minutes to go. That tied the score at 3-3.
Despite a full intermission after the third period to regroup, the Sharks still skated in overtime as if they were stunned. They were outshot 14-2, and the only reason it lasted as long as it did was the San Jose goalie.
“We started to defend with about 10 minutes left in the third, we got in that mindset, and when they tied it up and went to overtime we couldn’t get back on our toes again and reestablish our forecheck,” coach Pete DeBoer said.
Jones denied Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Connor McDavid on prime chances, doing everything he could to buy the Sharks enough time to find their legs. It never happened.
“We weren’t really going and [Jones] allowed us…to get going. We just never really got going,” Joe Pavelski said.
Instead, Draisaitl deftly set up Desharnais in the slot, and the diminutive forward whizzed a shot past Jones to put the Oilers just one win away from the second round.
“Just happens quick,” Jones said. “[Draisaitl] threw the puck from the corner, I just lost it for a second and saw it go by my shoulder.”
The Sharks seemed to have the game under control midway through the second period when David Schlemko’s seeing-eye point shot put them ahead, 3-1. It was the Sharks’ third straight goal after Patrick Maroon had given the Oilers an early lead that the Sharks erased on goals by Patrick Marleau and Mikkel Boedker.
Late in the second, though, Mark Letestu’s power play goal with just 1:27 to go with Brent Burns off on a delay of game penalty put the game within reach in the third for Edmonton. They just needed one little opening, and they got it when Desharnais skated behind the net before setting up the Klef-bomb that tied it.
“I think we battled hard tonight and we did some good things that made us [go] up 3-1, and unfortunately we couldn’t battle it out,” Boedker said.
The Sharks wouldn’t have changed anything they did in the third period, which DeBoer said he “really liked.” They were, after all, just two minutes and 46 seconds away from taking the series lead…