The ice has thawed on the San Jose Sharks’ 2016-17 season, and it only took 56 seconds to do it.
Despite a valiant effort throughout a closely contested series, a shaky start to the second period led to a 3-1 loss against the Edmonton Oilers, derailing any hopes of the Sharks continuing their playoff run, let alone returning to the Stanley Cup Finals.
After a virtually even first period in which Edmonton edged San Jose in shots on goal, 9-6, the Sharks came out particularly flat to begin the second.
Recalling the first goal scored by Edmonton, Sharks forward Logan Couture said:
“A shot from the point that gets blocked and a breakaway. … Give guys breakaways and they’re gonna score more often than not.”
But the Oilers weren’t done offensively after securing a 1-0 lead at the SAP Center.
Upon intercepting a pass between the two Sharks, Edmonton forward Anton Slepyshev would skate 120 feet uncontested to score an unassisted goal against Jones, giving Edmonton their second goal in less than two minutes into the second period.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer, commented on the two quick goals:
“You’ve got control of the offensive zone and we’re buzzing. You know, they block a shot and turn that into a breakaway. The other one we make, we miss a pass, you know. Both off offensive zone times. So those are things, you know, you don’t have an explanation for. Its not a breakdown. It’s, you know, a mistake. A play by them. A bounce that they stuck in our net.”
The Sharks would continue to grind throughout the remaining 18 minutes of the second period and continue the pursuit of even a single goal during the third.
Two power play opportunities from Edmonton slashing and tripping penalties were met with no goals. This was similar to the theme of Game 3, where the Sharks went 0-for-2 when possessing the man advantage.
The tide, however, would look to change for San Jose late in the third period with one swing of the stick from a savvy 37-year-old veteran.
Another power play opportunity with four and a half minutes to go in the third would give the Sharks one last chance to send the game to overtime, but a missed shot would bounce off of the Edmonton crossbar and end the hopes of San Jose forcing a game seven in Edmonton.
San Jose finished the night going 0-for-3 on the power play, and consequently ended their season right where it started back in October: at home in front of a lively crowd chanting “lets go Sharks.”
And that level of energy is something that Sharks players don’t take for granted, including fan favorite Brent Burns:
“This is one of the best buildings to play in in the league, easily. You hear that energy at the end of the third. A lot of guys were playing a lot of minutes right there. You feed off of that energy. You know, this is a really special place to play the way they treat us off of the ice, you know, not just at The Tank. This is a great city to play hockey in and, you know, that energy is second to none.”
The honorable yet fruitless effort for San Jose cut their playoff run short, and those ultra-supportive fans will have to wait another six months until hockey returns to the Bay Area.