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Toskala chased in rout
Edmonton scores 5 unanswered in 6-3 win
5/11/06 - by Mike Lee

The firm grasp the Sharks once had on their Western Conference Semi-Final series with the Edmonton Oilers has been reduced to a limp-wristed hope that they'll be able to snap out of the funk that has enveloped them since they lost in triple overtime on Wednesday night. San Jose opened up a 3-1 lead on the Oilers in Game 4, then kicked their skates up and enjoyed a scoring show put on by the host Edmontonians. The Oilers would rally for five unanswered goals to crush the Sharks 6-3 at Rexall Place on Friday night.

San Jose did everything they wanted to do to open the game even though they were outshot by the Oilers by a heavy margin in the 1st period. San Jose only mustered two shots on goal in the period, but they connected on two of them to jump out to an early 2-0 lead.

Nils Ekman decided to finally join the party and put on an offensive show in the first seven minutes of the game. He started by setting up the game's opening goal with a nifty move inside the Oilers zone, before feathering a pass to Joe Thornton across the slot. Thornton deposited the pass for the game's opening goal.

Ekman would score himself just under three minutes later when he took a faceoff win by Patrick Marleau and snapped it past Oilers netminder Dwayne Roloson. Marleau swatted at the drop, poking the puck past the two Oilers defenders stationed on the right circle's perimeter near the slot. Ekman skated past them toward the goal, grabbing the puck and beating Roloson just inside the left post.

Shawn Horcoff would deflect a Jason Smith shot past Vesa Toskala at the 12:55 mark to cut the Sharks lead to 2-1, but Edmonton generated few legitimate scoring chances in he period even thought they outshot San Jose 15-4 in the period.

Jonathen Cheechoo would score his third goal of the playoffs midway through the 2nd period after Thornton intercepted a clearing attempt by Chris Pronger in the Edmonton zone. Thornton skated around the back of the Oilers net from left to right, before hitting Cheechoo with a pass that the winger one-timed past Roloson.

It was all down hill from their for the Sharks.

Michael Peca would throw a prayer at Toskala from a severe angle near the left corner at 12:28, but the puck kicked off of Toskala's left pad and trickled in to the back of the net.

"It was just a matter of time before we got some bounces," said Peca. "I think we are doing a much better job getting pucks to the net and getting our forecheck going. I think they seemed a little too satisfied with their start, but one thing we have been all year is resilient."

The Sharks narrowly missed pushing their lead back to two goals when Sergei Samsonov was whistled for hooking at 13:29. The Sharks power play had a golden opportunity to score, but Thornton rang a shot off the left post. As they tried cycling the play back to their own blueline, the puck kicked out of the zone just as Samsonov was stepping out of the box.

As the Oilers winger sprinted to the puck as it crossed the Sharks blueline, Toskala made a costly decision and tried to skate out and swat the puck out of his own zone. He got to the puck first, but his clearing attempt hit Samsonov in the chest. The rebound bounced toward the open Sharks goal, where Samsonov easily gathered it in and backhanded the equalizer.

"Everybody makes mistakes. It's a new game on Sunday," said Toskala. "I have been playing good for three or four months. I will not let one mistake at the blue line destroy my confidence."

Jason Smith, Ales Hemsky would within the first eight minutes of the 3rd period, which ended Toskala's day. Forgotten goaltender Evgeni Nabokov would replace Toskala, and promptly allowed Jarred Stoll to score on a power play with six minutes to play.

"We were guilty of trying to sit back and be comfortable with the lead," Sharks forward Scott Thornton said.

"It gets them flying to San Jose feeling the same way that we did flying to Edmonton and realizing how important that next game is," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. It will be the first time in that game in San Jose we've had any opportunity in the series to take hold of it."

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1 2 3 T
SJ 2 1 0 3
EDM 1 2 3 6
1st period - 1, San Jose, Thornton 2 (Ekman, Cheechoo), 3:47. 2, San Jose, Ekman 2 (Marleau), 6:40. 3, Edmonton, Horcoff 3 (Smith, Pronger), 12:55.
2nd period - 4, San Jose, Cheechoo 3 (Thornton, Rissmiller), 9:02. 5, Edmonton, Peca 1 (Moreau, Torres), 12:28. 6, Edmonton, Samsonov 3, 15:35.
3rd period - 7, Edmonton, Smith 1 (Samsonov, Laraque), 2:57. 8, Edmonton, Hemsky 3 (Smyth, Smith), 8:19. 9, Edmonton, Stoll 3 (Spacek, Pronger), 14:00, (pp).
1st period - Peca, EDM (interference), 13:56; Marleau, SJS (hooking), 15:00.
2nd period - Torres, EDM (delay of game), 1:02; Cheechoo, SJS (holding), 9:33; Samsonov, EDM (hooking), 13:29.
3rd period - Carle, SJS (roughing), 5:42; Rissmiller, SJS (hooking), 12:35; Nieminen, SJS (cross-checking), 13:13; Moreau, EDM (holding the stick), 17:50.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Toskala 31 26
SJ - Nabokov 4 3
EDM - Roloson 25 22
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 4 15 6 25
EDM 15 9 11 35
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 4
EDM 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Jason Smith
Ryan Smyth
Raffi Torres
Referees: Paul Devorski, Don VanMassenhoven. Linesmen: Jay Sharrers, Mark Wheler.

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