Over the past 26 years, the Edmonton Oilers and San Jose Sharks have made the playoffs in the same year five times. Due to the old playoff format and an 11-year playoff drought in Oil Country, the two Western Conference clubs have met just once in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
This one series came way back in 2006, the last time Edmonton made the playoffs. The matchup didn’t come easy, however. After squeaking in as the eighth seed, the Oilers knocked off the 124 point, Presidents’ Trophy-winning Detroit Red Wings in six games. The Sharks, also a lower seed, defeated the Nashville Predators with ease in just five games.
History of a Series: Edmonton Oilers versus San Jose Sharks
Game One – May 7, 2006: Sharks Win 2-1
Both teams had multiple days rest between the finale of their first round and the start of the second round. The Sharks had a full week, while the Oilers had five days.
The Oilers got out to a swift start when Jaroslav Spacek scored on the power play just 2:33 into the game to give Edmonton an early lead.
San Jose, home at the HP Pavilion, tied the game up shortly after with Patrick Marleau‘s eighth of the playoffs.
The Sharks allowed just 16 shots on goal, taking Game One at home.
Game Two – May 8, 2006: Sharks Win 2-1
With back-to-back games to start the series, the Sharks got out to a hot start in Game Two. Tom Preissing scored his first of the postseason 4:26 into the game to give San Jose an early 1-0 lead.
Then came the turning point. Five minutes into the second period, Sharks rookie Milan Michalek was blindsided by Raffi Torres. The hit was legal at the time but would receive a hefty suspension if it occurred in 2017.
Michalek, with two assists already in the series, would miss the next two games of the series.
Game Three – May 10, 2006: Oilers Win 3-2, 3OT
Edmonton headed home down 2-0, needing a big effort at Rexall Place to get back in the series.
San Jose came on strong in the second, putting two past Dwayne Roloson with goals from Patrick Marleau and Patrick Rissmiller.
Raffi Torres tied the game 13:13 into the third, sending the game to overtime.
Roloson and Toskala stood on their heads, with the game finally ending in triple overtime. Facing the possibility of a 3-0 deficit, Edmonton peppered Toskala with 58 shots. Shawn Horcoff finally ended the game 2:24 into the third overtime with his second of the playoffs.
Game Four – May 12, 2006: Oilers Win 6-3
A good goaltending series prior to Game Four, the floodgates opened in the pivotal fourth game.
Despite the Sharks holding a 3-1 lead ten minutes into the second period, San Jose quickly fell apart.
After allowing five goals in three games, Vesa Toskala was lit up for five goals in 48:33 before being replaced by Evgeni Nabokov.
Game Five – May 14, 2006: Oilers Win 6-3
Foreshadowing his future Toronto Maple Leaf career, Vesa Toskala fell apart once again in Game Five.
With just 18 shots on goal, the Oilers put six past Toskala to win their third straight and take a 3-2 series lead.
Game Six – May 17, 2006: Oilers Win 2-0
After two big offensive games, the series went back to the low scoring style of the first two games.
With a trip to the Conference Finals on the line, the Oilers were anxious and their actions reflected it. Edmonton took eight penalties, killing them all.
The Sharks just couldn’t beat Dwayne Roloson. All series long they had trouble against Roloson, never scoring more than three goals in one game.
Michael Peca scored the game-winner 8:21 into the first, while Shawn Horcoff tallied his fourth of the series to put the game away.
Roloson stopped all 24 shots, continuing his impressive 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs performance.
Back in 2006, it was a young San Jose team entering their prime. Edmonton were the underdogs, riding a hot goaltender and a future hall-of-fame defenseman. The situation is completely different in 2017, but if this upcoming first round series can be as entertaining as the series in 2006, we are in for a fantastic first round matchup.