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Oilers take 3-2 series lead over San Jose on Desharnais overtime goal

Edmonton Journal logo Edmonton Journal 2017-04-21 Jim Matheson
042117-20170420DB022.JPG-0421_oilers_gamer-W.jpg © Bloom, David 042117-20170420DB022.JPG-0421_oilers_gamer-W.jpg

If the Edmonton Oilers were hoping to flush away the sour-smell of a 7-0 blowout in San Jose in Game 4 after, uh, not pissing a drop there, they did it at Rogers Place where there’s been so many stories in the playoffs about the lines for toilets being way too long.

In the one-sided overtime for Edmonton, Sharks goalie Martin Jones stoned Connor McDavid on a two-on-one with Leon Draisaitl, made a dazzling stick stop on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the crease and threw out his blocker to rob Drake Caggiula, but David Desharnais flipped one past Jones with 1:45 left for a 4-3 win off Draisaitl’s third assist of the night.

The Oilers, who now lead the series 3-2, had sent it to overtime in a spectacular game with just less than three minutes left in the third, when Oscar Klefbom blasted a screened shot past Jones after a set-up from Deharnais for his first point in 17 games. The fourth-line centre Desharnais, who’d drawn a power play with seven minutes left but the Oilers couldn’t break through, teed it up for the defenceman Klefbom, whose shot glanced off the iron and in. Fitting, after they’d smacked the post three times earlier in the game with no red light turning on.

Until Klefbom’s late goal, after Darnell Nurse and Jordan Eberle clanged the iron in the first frame, it appeared they would come up short in the first 60 minutes. They’d scored early on Patrick Maroon’s five-footer five minutes into the game from the blue paint and got another on a power play by Mark Letestu late in the second. In both cases, Draisaitl, who’d had just one shot and no points in the first four matches, set up the goals after vowing to be much better at the morning skate. He also won 10 of 11 faceoffs in regulation time in a tremendous performance.

Mikkel Boedker, Patrick Marleau and local boy David Schlemko had the regulation goals on Cam Talbot with the Sharks leading 3-1 until Letestu’s goal with 87 seconds left in the middle frame.

Before the Sharks took the ice for their morning skate, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer said he was worried about the Oilers hunger after being starved for anything positive in Game 4. And until Klefbom sent the game to extra time for the second time in the series, it appeared his team might escape with the win in 60 minutes.

But hunger is an empowering thing, moreso than momentum.

“I think response is a much better weapon for a team,” said DeBoer. “We knew we’d get a response from the Oilers and that’s a dangerous thing.”

In the second, Schlemko’s seeing-eye 55-footer sailed past Talbot just as a penalty to Maroon ended, but Letestu made it 3-2 with Edmonton’s second power play goal in 13 series tries, off a wonderful Draisaitl backhand feed.

“I’m well aware I haven’t played well,” said Draisaitl, looking in the mirror and not liking what he saw on the stats sheet, never mind the major and game misconduct in Game 4 for a spear on Chris Tierney.

Schlemko, who grew up in Edmonton and played minor hockey for the Knights of Columbus organization before joining the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers after his midget season, was talking after the morning practice about his parents being buried in a sea of orange and taking grief in their teal Sharks jerseys earlier in the series.

“Pretty ruthless,” said Schlemko, who said he was out partying as a teenager on Whyte Avenue in 2006 during the Oilers last playoff run.

“I was behaving myself, though,” he joked.

After getting the throwaway last goal in the Sharks’ pounding in San Jose, he was a misbehaving visitor for the pro-Oilers-jerseyed crowd eight and a half minutes into the second with a wrister through heavy traffic to make it 3-1. That absolutely quieted the full-house until Letestu’s power-play shot went under the bar off the Draisaitl pass.

They’d only managed one shot on a power play earlier when Timo Meier was caught holding Milan Lucic, but when Brent Burns’ backhand slipped over the glass for a delay-of-game penalty, they got one back from a predictable source as Letestu had 11 of his 16 regular-season goals come on the man advantage.

In the first, The Oilers controlled the first half of the period with Maroon getting his first of the series on a goalmouth rebound, but they later hit three posts and the Sharks bit them twice, once on a bad change, to take a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Maroon, who was warned late in the opening frame by referee Dan O’Halloran, one of the two best zebras with Wes McCauley, because of a snow-shower on Jones as he froze the puck, banged home some loose change after a Matt Benning shot five and a half minutes into the period.

He’d opened the game on the third line with Drake Caggiula taking his spot alongside Connor McDavid and Draisaitl, but snuck on with his usual suspects and scored, capping a strong start where he had four hits along with his goal.

“I didn’t look at it as a slap on the butt. They were trying to energize our team,” Maroon said of the line changes. He argued with O’Halloran when the ref got in his face for a stern talking-to, then predictably got nailed for bumping Jones behind the net in the second during one of those ‘caught you’ calls. Not a good penalty

After Nurse banged the iron a second time and muttered to his goalie, Talbot, “two (bleeping) posts”, the Sharks tied it 1-1 midway through the first with their fourth line. Boedker, who was a healthy scratch in two of the first four games even though he had a hat-trick here earlier in the season, slammed a shot past Talbot off a Chris Tierney feed.

In the 15th minute of the first, Oilers defenceman Adam Larsson went to change and missed a counter-attack as Brenden Dillon fed it to Joe Thornton. His 25-footer was bobbled by Talbot and Marleau tapped in the free puck. Bad play by Larsson and a shot that Talbot couldn’t squeeze.

ON THE BENCH: The Sharks sat Joonas Donskoi to put the $4 million winger Boedker back in on the fourth line … The Oilers fans started chanting: “Five-hole. Five-hole” very early in the game because the Sharks’ Jones had given up four goals earlier in the series through his legs … The Oilers didn’t make any lineup changes after their pasting in Game 4 with Eric Gryba still sitting on the back-end and neither Matt Hendricks, J.J. Khaira or Iiro Pakarinen in on the fourth line.

Also See: 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs

Ryan Dzingel (18) of the Ottawa Senators checks Olli Maatta (3) of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena on May 25, in Pittsburgh, Penn. 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs


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