Joe Pavelski

Sharks smoke Oilers 7-0, frustrate McDavid, tie series 2-2

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People don’t need to wonder about the San Jose Sharks’ scoring ability after Tuesday.

Also not a concern: Cam Talbot being in their heads. And you can probably cross quite a few other things off that list, as you’d expect with the Sharks throttling Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers 7-0 in Game 4.

With that, it’s a “three-game series” as the Sharks tied things up 2-2.

Watch Sharks vs. Oilers: Game 5 on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBC Sports app)

The Sharks set the tone with a franchise-record 1-0 goal just 15 seconds in, with Joe Pavelski ending Cam Talbot’s shutout streak at 120:15. (More on that here.) San Jose would ultimately chase Talbot from the Oilers’ net on a night where their once-struggling power play went 4-for-8.

Part of that special teams dominance came after Leon Draisaitl was tossed from the game for spearing Chris Tierney in the groin. Tierney was able to return to the contest, which might lower the odds of a suspension, but check out more on that ugly bit of violence here.

“Ugly” is a pretty good word to describe the Oilers’ overall effort after grinding out two tough wins. The Sharks seemed to frustrate Connor McDavid, who’s now suffering from an extremely rare two-game pointless streak.

Of course, it’s also important to note that you don’t get a single bonus for winning a playoff game by seven goals or by winning an overtime thriller. Really, the Oilers might find themselves galvanized by such a resounding defeat, especially with the series shifting to Edmonton for Game 5.

The young Oilers were shaking off questions about experience and style of play before Tuesday, yet this was the sort of setback people were waiting for, especially against grizzled veterans in San Jose.

Now we get the next narrative wrinkle: how the NHL’s budding superstar and Edmonton’s other fresh faces react to this resounding rout.

Sharks score fastest goal in team playoff history after being shut out twice

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Sometimes stats are almost too fitting.

Cam Talbot had shut out the San Jose Sharks for two straight games, helping the Edmonton Oilers turn the series on its head with a 2-1 edge. To be totally honest, the Sharks didn’t make life that difficult for Talbot, as the Oilers netminder’s shutouts involved 16 and 23 stops.

So, of course the Sharks broke their epic slump by scoring the fastest goal in franchise playoff history. What other type of goal would do? Joe Pavelski made it 1-0 just 15 seconds in.

That’s weird stuff, although the bar has been raised on weird a bit lately.

This ended Talbot’s shutout streak at a neat-and-tidy 120:15, as the last shot that beat him was Game 1’s overtime-winner.

Watch Sharks vs. Oilers: Game 5 on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NBC Sports app)

San Jose’s power play was bad all year, now it’s proving costly

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The Sharks were the NHL’s third-best team with the man advantage last year, and they carried that over to the playoffs by scoring at a 24 percent clip.

This year, same story.

Sorta.

Stream Sharks vs. Oilers on NBC Sports

San Jose has certainly carried its regular-season PP over to the postseason — only it’s been lousy, not stellar. The Sharks finished 25th in the NHL this year with a 16.7 percent success rate, and are now 1-for-14 through three games against the Oilers.

In Sunday’s 1-0 Game 3 loss, San Jose had two chances with the man advantage. It didn’t score, which makes sense because it wasn’t credited with a single shot on goal.

“You’ve got to shoot the puck,” Logan Couture said, per NBC Sports California. “You’ve got to score some goals. We know that. Obviously that’s been a concern for us all season, our power play hasn’t been where we need it to be.

“We need it to be better. It’s simple to say, it’s easy to say, but we’ve got to be better.”

It’s puzzling why the unit is so bad. All the guys that made last year’s PP so dynamic are still there — Joe Pavelski, Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Brent Burns — but the production isn’t. Last year, the Pavelski-Marleau-Thornton trio combined for 31 PPG.

This year? Just 16.

Head coach Peter DeBoer suggested the group wasn’t “hungry enough” and got outworked, and some of that surely has to do with the Oilers.

Edmonton was a good penalty killing team at home during the regular season — 82.3 percent at Rogers Place — and that carried over to Games 1 and 2, when the Oilers surrendered just one PPG on 12 opportunities. They also got a massive shorthanded goal from Zack Kassian, and have started using captain Connor McDavid more and more on the PK.

After averaging just 48 seconds of shorthanded ice time during the regular season, McDavid is up to 1:57 per in the playoffs.

“He can skate, he’s got great instincts,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said of McDavid on the kill, per TSN. “His stamina is second to none. Those are all pretty good qualities for a penalty killer.”

Toews believes Blackhawks ‘have that feeling again’ heading into playoffs

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The Chicago Blackhawks have been here so many times before. They’re 16 postseason wins away from a fourth Stanley Cup title in eight years, and their veteran core knows it has the talent and the experience to survive the two-month playoff grind.

Nobody else in the Western Conference playoff picture can say any of that.

None of the other seven teams has won a recent Stanley Cup. In fact, only three of those franchises have raised the Cup at all, and only two players were in their current uniform for it: Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who won their rings a decade ago.

So is it Chicago’s conference crown to lose when postseason play gets underway Wednesday?

Watch Blackhawks vs. Predators on NBC Sports

The top-seeded Blackhawks have been around for too long to believe anything matters except Game 1 on Thursday night against Nashville.

“I think that energy, that ambition and motivation is back,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. “We have that feeling again, that every single moment and every single game matters. It’s a lot of fun to play at this time of the year. It’s why we work all year to get to this point, and as we have said in the past, the real season begins. Obviously, we want to see what we are made of, and I think we are all pretty confident what we are able to do.”

The rest of the West is about to find out if it measures up.

Here’s what to watch in the four first-round series beginning this week:

BLACKHAWKS vs PREDATORS

Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Marian Hossa are just part of the veteran group that propelled the Blackhawks down the stretch to the West’s top record and the NHL’s third-best performance since New Year’s Day (58 points).

Yet these Blackhawks have been refreshed by an infusion of youngsters hoping for their first taste of Stanley Cup glory, most notably Artemi Panarin. The high-scoring Russian is in only his second NHL season, and his first postseason run ended abruptly last year with Chicago’s first-round loss to St. Louis.

The Predators were Chicago’s first-round postseason opponents before the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup title runs in 2010 and 2015. Nashville’s record (41-29-12) was nearly identical to last season’s mark, but the Predators have made one big change: P.K. Subban replaced Shea Weber as their top defenseman this season, headlining a blue-line corps including Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis in front of goalie Pekka Rinne.

Chicago knows that if Rinne plays at his all-world best, even the Blackhawks could have trouble scoring enough to win.

WILD vs BLUES

Minnesota was cruising toward the Central Division title before a late-season slump, while the Blues surged into the postseason after firing coach Ken Hitchcock and trading top defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk.

Both teams are regular playoff qualifiers, but both are hoping for a breakthrough this spring after years of disappointment. Keep an eye on Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk, whose proficiency against Vladimir Tarasenko and the Blues’ scorers could determine this series.

DUCKS vs FLAMES

Anybody who is aware of the Flames’ 25-game regular-season losing streak at Honda Center could be excused for thinking the Ducks have an astonishing home-ice advantage in this matchup of the five-time defending Pacific Division champions and the West’s top wild card.

The Flames are loaded with young talent, but this series rests heavily on Getzlaf, Perry, Ryan Kesler and the rest of Anaheim’s veteran core, which simply hasn’t been able to finish: The Ducks have lost a Game 7 at home in each of the last four postseasons.

The Ducks streaked into the postseason on an 11-0-3 roll, and they have more talent and experience. But after Anaheim’s first-round flop against Nashville last season, the Flames realize they might be facing some sitting Ducks in their quest for a playoff breakthrough.

OILERS vs SHARKS

Connor McDavid will make his Stanley Cup playoff debut at Rogers Place’s first postseason game on Wednesday night, and the hockey world can’t wait to see what he does next.

McDavid already won the NHL scoring title and led Edmonton back to the postseason after a 10-year absence. The Oilers even finished above the Sharks, who have much the same team that won the West last season.

San Jose might be far from full strength: Centers Joe Thornton and Logan Couture are out with injuries, and it’s unclear when they’ll return. But Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski are ready to apply their full range of playoff knowledge against the upstart Oilers and McDavid, who might be at the start of the best chapter yet in his remarkable story.

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Sedins helped sell Sharks on putting Hansen with Thornton, Pavelski

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San Jose had an idea that trade deadline acquisition Jannik Hansen would be a good fit on the club’s top line next to Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski.

But a word from Hansen’s ex-Canucks teammates — Daniel and Henrik Sedin — cemented it.

From CSN Bay area:

According [Sharks head coach] Pete DeBoer, assistant Johan Hedberg “got a note from one of the Sedins” that Hansen “would be a real good fit with those two guys. That just reinforced it,” said the coach.

Hansen has been a nice fit since making his Sharks debut on March 9. While he hasn’t exactly racked up the points — just one assist, in his first game — the club is 3-1-0 since acquiring him, and Pavelski said the 31-year-old Dane has been a nice compliment to the line.

To hear Hansen explain it, playing with Joe and Joe is a lot like playing with Danny and Hank.

“[Pavelski and Thornton] play the same way as a couple guys in Vancouver,” Hansen said, referring to the twins. “They want the puck, they want to hold on to it, they want to make the plays. For me, it’s fairly simple as to how I’m playing.

“It’s the same thing – digging pucks out, going to the net, getting pucks back for them.”

Hansen often played alongside the Sedins in recent years. When he scored a career-high 22 goals during the ’15-16 campaign, one or both of the twins routinely provided primary/secondary assists.

Hansen will look for his first goal in teal-and-black tonight, when the Sharks host the Blues in San Jose.