Although Couture's appearance on the top line provides Sharks fans with reason for optimism, the alternate captain continues to experience tremendous pain and has yet to take significant contact to the facial area even though he participated in battle drills Monday. He has done his part and more to help the Edmonton Oilers make the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in more than 10 years.
The Oilers enter the playoffs with Lucic giving everyone a vivid example of how to play at this time of year on a second line thats finally performing like their credentials say they should perform. Are they in a prime position to unseat the defending Western Conference champions?
"I didn't know it was just going to be us, I thought (Thornton) was going to be out there with us", Couture said. There isn't much onus put on regular season series, though they can hold a little bit of weight.
Shortly after Anton Slepyshev's goal was disallowed upon review for an offside call with six minutes left in the second, the Oilers made up for it when McDavid extended his point streak to 14 games by setting up Caggiula on a rush to make it 3-1.
The Sharks should have a playoff experience edge over the Oilers. Not as confident as their media contingent, mind you.
After a sluggish first period, Edmonton opened the scoring 61 seconds into the second when Eberle's shot ramped up off Stecher's stick and beat Miller upstairs on the shortside for his 17th after Vancouver turned the puck over. They set a franchise record winning their last nine games at home. At the other end, the Oilers fired 44 shots on goal, with Richard Bachman stopping 39 of them. The Sharks have better overall defensive stats but the two penalty kill percentages are virtually identical.
Edmonton Oilers fans looking to take in some long-awaited National Hockey League playoffs saw their options get a lot more expensive Monday. Jordan Eberle will make his playoff debut after 507 regular season games. By the numbers, the Oilers do hold a slight advantage over the Sharks. Saturday's matchup is a good chance to play spoiler for an Edmonton team that is still trying for a Pacific Division title.
How about a few days in San Francisco to see the Oilers take on the Sharks later in the series?
"When you picture the last game at the Joe - except if it would have been game seven of the Stanley Cup final - this was very nice", Zetterberg said. Edmonton won each of the last three meetings, all in regulation: 4-1 on January 26, 3-2 on March 30, and 4-2 on Thursday. At 20 years, 86 days, McDavid became the third-youngest player to win the Art Ross Trophy, behind only Crosby (19 years, 244 days in 2006-07) and Wayne Gretzky (20 years, 69 days in 1980-81). "Honestly the seats themselves don't really matter it's just going to the playoffs period, that is the big accomplishment here".