By Jesse Campigotto
If you're not an Oilers or Sharks fan, you might have forgotten about this series. Thanks to some strange scheduling, Edmonton and San Jose will play their first game tonight. Meanwhile, the other Western Conference series (Anaheim vs. Colorado) is already two games deep.
Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see if the surprising Oilers can continue their run after knocking off top-seeded Detroit in the first round.
San Jose, meanwhile, has been on a roll since acquiring Joe Thornton at mid-season, but will be looking for bigger numbers from the league's top scorer after he was relatively quiet against Nashville in the first round.
It should be worth the wait.
GAME OVERThanks for joining us tonight. Check back tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. ET for live commentary on Game 2 of the Ottawa-Buffalo series. It should be a dandy.
THIRD PERIOD, 20:00Final score: San Jose 2, Edmonton 1. And it's over. The Sharks clear the zone and time expires. Nieminen gets in a final shot at Pronger as the horn sounds. Eerily, Pronger just skates away again. He must be plotting something.
THIRD PERIOD, 19:35Nieminen might cost the Sharks this game yet. He missed a shot on the empty net from inside the Oilers' blue-line, then iced the puck twice after that. Coach Ron Wilson is not pleased.
THIRD PERIOD, 18:35Maybe an extra attacker will help. Roloson is on the bench.
THIRD PERIOD, 16:00And here comes the trap. If the Oilers are going to get the tying goal, they'll have to get past the wall of San Jose players waiting in the neutral zone.
THIRD PERIOD, 14:08No score for Edmonton on its power play. In fact, the Sharks nearly extend their lead with a flurry of chances after the penalty expires.
THIRD PERIOD, 10:49Edmonton has been outshot 14-5 since the beginning of the second period, but here's a good chance coming up. Joe Thornton was just called for tripping Roloson.
THIRD PERIOD, 6:43The Sharks are doing a fine job killing penalties tonight, too. They kill off the Oilers' fourth power play.
THIRD PERIOD, 5:43The Oilers do a good job in penalty killing as the Sharks can't get a shot on goal during the first power play of the period. After that penalty expires, super-pest Ville Nieminen hits Pronger after the whistle. Pronger considers retaliating for a second but thinks better of it and skates away. If I were Nieminen, I'd keep my head up.
SECOND PERIOD, 20:00The Oilers kill off a penalty in the dying minutes of the second and head to the dressing room trailing 2-1. The Sharks, meanwhile, are looking very tough. They've got lots of speed and they're bodychecking like gangbusters. Assuming, of course, that gangbusters like to bodycheck when they're not out busting gangs.
SECOND PERIOD, 16:40Edmonton nearly ties it when Jarrett Stoll rips a wrist shot off the post on a 3-on-2. Unfortunately, the play does nothing to add to the Oilers' modest shot total.
SECOND PERIOD, 13:32Pronger is getting booed every time he touches the puck. Unless the San Jose fans were also supporters of Canada's Olympic hockey team, I'm not sure why.
SECOND PERIOD, 11:53The Oilers finally get their first shot of the second.
SECOND PERIOD, 10:34Hughson just informed us that Edmonton has yet to register a shot on goal this period.
SECOND PERIOD, 9:26Minutes ago, the Oilers' Ryan Smyth was clipped with what looked like an elbow to the head by the more conventionally surnamed Mark Smith. Smyth with a y is still in the game but he appeared shaken up on the bench for a while.
SECOND PERIOD, 7:57The Sharks are really flying. Or swimming, maybe. A slick-looking power play didn't net them a goal, but they kept the puck bottled in the Edmonton zone for a good while after that. Again, it didn't produce a score, but the Sharks have the Oilers on their heels.
SECOND PERIOD, 3:14San Jose 2, Edmonton 1. Roloson makes two nice saves in rapid succession on Milan Michalek, but the puck squirts back to the point to Christian Ehrhoff, who blasts it in.
FIRST PERIOD, 20:00The opening period ends with the teams tied 1-1. San Jose will start the second period on a power play, though, as Jason Smith was called for holding with 46 seconds left in the first.
FIRST PERIOD, 17:20Jonathan Cheechoo displays some nice stickhandling and dances in for a good chance. Roloson holds his ground, though, and makes the save.
FIRST PERIOD, 12:31Here's a rarity: a goalie getting a penalty for holding. Roloson is whistled after he grabs the sweater of a Sharks players during a scramble.
FIRST PERIOD, 10:30An interesting fact about San Jose's arena, the [insert corporate sponsor here] Pavilion. The "press box" isn't actually a box - it's bascially just a designated area in the first row of the upper deck. Hughson and colour man Greg Millen are calling the game from, more or less, right in the crowd.
FIRST PERIOD, 7:42Edmonton 1, San Jose 1. The Oilers turn the puck over just outside their blue-line and the Sharks make them pay. Bernier picks up the puck behind the Edmonton yet and sets up the red-hot Patrick Marleau for a one-timer.
FIRST PERIOD, 7:10Jim Hughson gives us an interesting fact: Chris Pronger didn't take his first penalty of the Detroit series until the sixth and final game. Are you sure this is *the* Chris Pronger? The same guy that was called for roughly 37 penalties a game at the Olympics?
FIRST PERIOD, 2:33Edmonton 1, San Jose 0. With the Oilers looking smooth on the game's first power-play, Ales Hemsky feeds the puck cross-ice to Jaroslav Spacek, who one-times it past Toskala.
FIRST PERIOD, 1:55A CBC replay shows the Oilers' Ethan Moreau jawing with the Sharks' Steve Bernier before a face-off. If you're watching at home with your kids, here's hoping they can't read lips.
FIRST PERIOD, 0:25Our starting goalies are Dwayne Roloson for Edmonton and Vesa Toskala for San Jose. Not marquee names, but that's a good matchup. Both guys played very well in the first round.
MOMENTS TO GAME TIMEThe pre-game laser-light display in San Jose features both Sharks and Oilers logos displayed on the ice. Classy move to include the visitors. Don't you love Californians?