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Season ends with a whimper
Roloson shutsout SJ 2-0
5/17/06 - by Mike Lee

Game, set, match. The season is over for the San Jose Sharks, after sputtering in Edmonton on Wednesday with nary a whimper. The 2-0 at Rexall Place was a fitting end to a series that went from a "can't lose" two games to none lead to four straight loses and a date with Friday morning tee-time. The Sharks made Dwayne Roloson look like Martin Brodeur with an anemic offense and a power play that went AWOL after the Nashville series.

Vesa Toskala and Joe Thornton were the only standouts on this most painful of nights, but the two couldn't carry an entire team. This is a team sport after all, and the Oilers played like a team from the moment the puck was dropped.

"This is obviously an exciting day," forward Ryan Smyth said. "We want to go down to Anaheim and give ourselves another chance. ... It's nice to shut another team out."

Kyle McLaren looked lost on the ice, struggling complete passes that were sure things four games earlier. Matt Carle played like you would expect a rookie with less than 40 games of professional experience under his belt to play.

Michael Peca exploited the Sharks defense in the first period, albeit with a hook that knocked Scott Hannan off the puck. Peca picked Hannan's pocket after wrapping his stick around Hannan's right arm and disrupting him enough to lose control of the puck, then fall flat on his face while trying to over correct as Peca skated around him.

The Oilers forward skated in all alone and beat Toskala with a wrist shot from ten feet out.

The Sharks offense was no better.

Patrick Marleau, who led the NHL in playoff scoring, failed to deliver any scoring for the first time in ten games. Thornton created several scoring chances, but linemates Jonathan Cheechoo and Nils Ekman failed to cash in.

The most telling moment midway through the 1st period when the Sharks squandered a minute and a half long 5-on-3 after Jaroslav Spacek and Jarrett Stoll were sent off infractions.

The Sharks tried lulling Roloson to sleep by passing the puck back and forth on the perimeter, never generating any serious scoring chances. In order to do that, the puck has to be within close proximity to the goal mouth, but the San Jose power play unit never felt inclined to take a shot at depositing it. The Oilers penalty kill inspired the crowd, sending the 16,839 into a frenzy.

"We had our opportunities but we never scored," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "It certainly wasn't for lack of trying or lack of effort. It was one of those nights where we always would seem to be a foot away from a rebound or overskated an open opportunity.

The absence of a power play in the series was the kiss of death for the Sharks. San Jose went 0-for-8 in the game, and 2-for-35 in the series.

For as lethargic as the Sharks played, they somehow found themselves down by a single goal for most of the game. Edmonton would ensure that no comeback was in the evenings plans when Shawn Horcoff snapped home a Todd Harvey pass at 11:37.

Ironic that the former Shark Harvey would setup the play after making his first appearance in the series.

The Sharks had a chance to make a game of it ate when Smyth was whistled for tripping at 17:29 and Wilson pulled Toskala for the two man advantage. San Jose could do nothing with the personnel advantage, and burned up the power play time chasing down clearing attempt after clearing attempt.

What started as a promising look at a return to the Western Conference Finals, ended with a half hearted collapse in four straight games.

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1 2 3 T
SJ 0 0 0 0
EDM 1 0 1 2
1st period - 1, Edmonton, Peca 2, 8:21.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 2, Edmonton, Horcoff 5 (Harvey, Smyth), 11:37.
1st period - Greene, EDM (tripping), 2:20; Ekman, SJS (goaltender interference), 2:58; Ekman, SJS (tripping), 6:25; Pronger, EDM (interference), 6:25; Spacek, EDM (hooking), 11:45; Stoll, EDM (holding), 12:18; Pisani, EDM (boarding), 15:53.
2nd period - Smith, SJS (tripping), 3:25; Ehrhoff, SJS (hooking), 6:38; Torres, EDM (tripping), 12:02; Stoll, EDM (hooking), 18:06.
3rd period - S.Thornton, SJS (interference), 1:25; Preissing, SJS (interference), 4:36; Torres, EDM (roughing), 13:09; Smyth, EDM (tripping), 17:29.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Toskala 26 24
EDM - Roloson 24 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 12 6 6 24
EDM 10 7 9 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 8
EDM 0 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Michael Peca
Dwayne Roloson
Shawn Horcoff
Referees: Rob Shick, Brad Watson. Linesmen: Derek Amell, Jay Sharrers.

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