EDMONTON -- The San Jose Sharks have an opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Edmonton Oilers entering Game 2 at Rogers Place on Friday (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).
The Sharks won 3-2 in overtime in Game 1 on Wednesday, coming back after they were trailing 2-0 in the first period. It was the first playoff game for the Oilers (who were outshot 44-19) in 11 years.
Here are 5 keys for Game 2:
1. Health of Joe Thornton
Sharks center Joe Thornton missed Game 1 with a knee injury sustained at the Vancouver Canucks on April 2. Thornton practiced Thursday and was the last player off the ice at morning skate Friday. He will be a game-time decision. "It was nice to get a little extra [time] in there," Thornton said. "It was good to test it a little bit more today." Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said winning Game 1 would not factor into the decision on whether Thornton plays. "He's going to decide when he's ready to play and help us," DeBoer said. "Where the series is at has no bearing on that. When he says go, he's in."
2. Oilers penalty trouble
The Oilers took seven minor penalties in Game 1, allowing the Sharks to gain momentum in the second period. San Jose was 1-for-6 on the power play and scored the tying goal at 4-on-4. "There is a fine line between playing aggressive and crossing the line," Edmonton forward Drake Caggiula, who took two offensive-zone penalties in Game 1 said. "With physical play, you have to make sure you're on that line and not crossing it." The Oilers want to set a physical tone in Game 2, but need to be more disciplined. "It could just be the excitement level of young players that haven't been there [playoffs] before," Caggiula said. "You're a little overanxious, you're on your toes a little too much and you're too excited. That can result in, A, taking penalties or B, your energy levels are really high and then by the end of the game you're crashing."
3. Oilers shift length
Edmonton thought they were on the ice too long at times by taking extended shifts in Game 1 and are focused on taking shorter shifts and making more efficient line changes. "I think it's a matter of trying to leave the next line the best opportunity to have success," forward Jordan Eberle said. "Whether that's getting a shot on net and then changing in the offensive zone or worrying about getting off early so that the next line can come out and do the work, and [saving] your energy, and [trying] to get some momentum that way."
4. Playoff performer
Sharks forward Joel Ward scored in Game 1 and has 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists) in 78 playoff games. Ward had 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 78 regular season games this season. "You just go out there and try to have fun, that's just the key," Ward said of his increased production in the postseason. "Just embrace the moment and the environment and just go out there and have fun." Ward is in his second season with San Jose. He had 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 24 playoff games last season. "This is his time of year," DeBoer said. "[GM] Doug [Wilson] and the staff put a lot of thought when you're acquiring guys or you're signing guys that have history of playing at this time of year and finding another level, and Joel has done that his whole career."
5. Second playoff game for Connor McDavid
Oilers captain Connor McDavid had an assist in Game 1 to extend his point streak to 15 games, dating to March 14 of the regular season. However, the leading scorer in the NHL had difficulty finding space in the offensive zone in his first playoff game. McDavid is looking to be more involved offensively and have more control of the puck. "I think it starts on faceoffs, you have to bear down and you have to be smarter with the puck as well," he said. "We turned it over a bunch, we were sloppy with our chip-ins and our rims and stuff like that. We just have be better overall with the puck." McDavid had 100 points this season (30 goals, 70 assists), finishing 11 points ahead of Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby and Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane.
Sharks projected lineup
Injured: Joe Thornton (knee)
Oilers projected lineup
Injured: Tyler Pitlick (knee)
The Sharks are expected to use the same lineup if Thornton can't play. If Thornton does play, Sorensen likely would be scratched. ... Slepyshev is expected to replace Pakarinen on the fourth line for Edmonton and Benning could replace Gryba on the third defensive pairing.
Burns has three points (one goal, two assists) in his past four games. ... Vlasic has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in his past eight games. ... McDavid has 26 points (seven goals, 19 assists) during his 15-game point streak dating to the regular season. ... Draisaitl has 21 points (six goals, 15 assists) in his past 15 games.
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