Prior to tonight's game, much of the talk was surrounding San Jose's decision to call up AHL tough guy Micheal Haley, as a response to Darnell Nurse's beat down off Roman Polak, the last time these teams met.
I'll get this out of the way early. Haley fought Nurse, Nurse held his own. Haley barely played otherwise, and in my mind the fight was pretty far down the list of memorable events from this game.
I'm saying that now, after the Oilers scored six goals in the final 40 minutes of a come-from-behind victory over the playoff bound Sharks. After the first 20 minutes, however, the fight was really the only somewhat interesting thing that Oilers fans had to talk about.
The team played atrociously in the first period. During a second intermission interview, Pat Maroon said that it was the worst they have played since he joined the team. After the game, Adam Clendening expressed that Todd McLellan tore into his team during the first intermission. Whatever McLellan said worked wonders. After being thoroughly outplayed, not to mention outscored 2-0 in the first, the Oilers pushed back hard in the second.
While the Oilers still trailed 22-13 in shots after two, they had actually taken the lead in even-strength shot attempts. More importantly, the Oilers led 4-3 after two, despite a Sharks power play that went 2 for 4 in the opening 40.
Korpikoski, Hall, Clendening and Maroon all scored in a four goal second period, that no one could have seen coming.
The third period was perhaps just as impressive for the Oilers, but for a different reason. Edmonton has a tendency to play poorly with a lead. Score-effects are something that effects every team, but the Oilers seem to have even more trouble with leads than most teams do. However, the Oilers played very sound defensive hockey in the third, surrendering only five shots on goal to a dangerous Sharks team. Jordan Eberle scored with 7:06 remaining, on a shift that was ignited by a highlight reel McDavid rush, which resulted in an unofficial tertiary assist for the dynamic rookie. Finally, with the Sharks' net empty, Taylor Hall iced the game with his second tally of the night. 6-3 Oilers final.
As I've said before, single game possession stats are all about units. Tonight's top unit for the Oilers was the McDavid line. He, Eberle and Maroon all finished with Corsi differentials of ten or higher tonight. On the blueline, the Nurse-Clendening and Oesterle-Reinhart pairings were solid in terms of possession. While the Fayne-Sekera pairing had trouble shutting down the Thornton-Pavelski-Hertl line. I'll cut them some slack though, as San Jose's top line is arguably the best unit in the league.
Corey's Game Puck
My game puck for tonight's game goes to Patrick 'Big Rig' Maroon, who had an outstanding night in every facet of the game. Maroon had a goal, two assists, was a +3 in goals and a +11 in shot-attempts. Plus he was physically engaged all-night. He definitely got under the skin of most of the Sharks. I like Maroon's style of play, but I'd be the first to point it out if I didn't think he was being effective. That certainly wasn't the case tonight. The man was a certified beast. Even if the Sharks had laser beams attached to their heads, I doubt they would have been a match for the Big Rig.