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OILERS OFF TO ANAHEIM!

Wednesday, 17.05.2006 / 9:29 PM / Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers
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OILERS OFF TO ANAHEIM!
After losing the first two games of the series, the Oilers were able to take apart the Sharks with surgical precision in winning the next four straight.

"They did a great job of double-teaming Joe," noted Sharks head coach Ron Wilson.

The Oilers were able to play a physical game and take the play to San Jose, particularly beginning in Game 2 with Raffi Torres' hit on Sharks rookie Milan Michalek.

"The turning point of that series was the hit on Milan Michalek," Wilson said. "Tearing that line apart and having an impact on the rest of the series."

The game was Edmonton's second series-clinching victory on home ice in the past 17 days.

"The determination, we've always had that. Now we've sprinkled in a little bit of finish," mentioned Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

Dwayne Roloson made 24 saves with the shutout.

"It was a good night for Roli to pitch a shutout," MacTavish said. "He played unbelievable for us."

Todd Harvey drew into the lineup for the first time this series and made a difference with an assist on Horcoff's insurance marker.

"He played exceptionally well," MacTavish stated. "I couldn't believe he only played 7:33. He did the job, got the puck out and made the play on the insurance goal."

The crowd got going early after a pair of big hits by Georges Laraque and Rem Murray behind the Sharks net.

San Jose had the best scoring chance early when Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo broke toward the Oiler net. Thornton found Cheechoo in the slot but he couldn't pull the trigger.

Toskala made a big stop for the Sharks three minutes later, denying a Torres backhander from the slot. Pisani tried a wraparound but lost a handle on the puck before it squirted out to Torres in the slot.

Michael Peca came within inches of scoring the game's first goal eight minutes into the period. Peca split the Sharks defence and Toskala had to stack the pads to deny him on the deke attempt.

Less than a minute later, Peca broke away again but this time he made no mistake. After Hannan fell down trying to slow down the Oilers' centre, he broke in alone and rifled the puck high behind Toskala.

San Jose roared right back after the goal and put some pressure on the Oilers defence. Cheechoo had another solid chance, one-timing a shot from the slot. He didn't get a lot on it and Roloson was able to stick out his left pad to make the save.

With 8:15 to play in the period, Roloson made a nice glove stop on Marleau as he was streaking into the Oilers' zone. Marleau was being hooked from behind on the play by Spacek, who was sent off for two minutes.

30 seconds later, Stoll got called after getting tangled up with Christian Ehrhoff in the San Jose zone, putting the Sharks on a two-man advantage for 1:27.

Although the Sharks were able to move the puck around Edmonton's zone with ease for the entire power play, they couldn't get any pucks to the net as the Oilers' penalty kill stood tall.

Peca had another partial breakaway with two minutes to play in the opening period but couldn't out-maneouvre Toskala.

After one period, the Oilers were leading by a goal but San Jose had a 12-10 edge in shots.

Toskala came up huge on several occasions early in the second period. He had to be sharp in denying a Chris Pronger blast from the point that was deflected on its way to the net.

Minutes later, Ryan Smyth broke in on a breakaway but Toskala made another big save to keep it a one-goal game. Smyth was hooked from behind by Ehrhoff on the play, putting Edmonton on their second power play.

After a stellar penalty kill, Shawn Horcoff broke into the Sharks zone all alone and tried to wrist the puck past Toskala but the Sharks netminder was equal to the task.

In the final minute, with San Jose on the power play, Roloson made a huge stop off Nils Ekman who wired it from the slot. 30 seconds later, Matt Carle fired a shot from the left circle that beat Roloson but rang off the left post.

After two, shots were 18-17 in favour of the Sharks with Edmonton still clinging to their one-goal edge.

San Jose's penalty killers stepped up in the first seven minutes of period three, killing off a pair of penalties. Toskala was called upon to make a pair of big stops and he responded to the challenge.

With 8:23 to play in the third, Shawn Horcoff scored to double the Oilers' lead to 2-0. Todd Harvey pushed the puck to Horcoff in the slot where he roofed it over Toskala. The goal came after some hard forechecking by Harvey, Smyth and Horcoff.

With the minutes ticking off in the period, just as a Raffi Torres penalty expired Smyth and Horcoff broke in on a two-on-one. Horcoff's shot rang off the left post behind Toskala to keep it a two-goal game.

A minute later, Toskala made a huge save on Ethan Moreau as he tried to go five-hole on a breakaway.

San Jose got another man-power advantage with 1:30 left after Ryan Smyth tripped up a Shark at the blueline.

NOTES: Todd Harvey made his first appearance of the series and was in the starting lineup alongside Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff. Brad Winchester was a healthy scratch... With Alyn McCauley out due to injury, Defenceman Rob Davison drew into the lineup for the Sharks. San Jose dressed seven blueliners as a result... The win marked the first time the Oilers advanced to the third round since 1992... It also marked the first time an eighth seed has advanced to the third round since the NHL adopted the conference format in 1994.
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