SAN JOSE SHARKS KEYS TO GAME 6
1. Production from Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo on the power play. In the last 3 Edmonton Oiler wins, Patrick Marleau has a goal and 2 assists [-2], Joe Thornton has a goal and 3 assists [even], and Jonathan Cheechoo has 2 goals and 2 assists [+1]. In those three losses, only Patrick Marleau has a point on the power play (primary assist on Christian Ehrhoff's 2nd period PP goal Sunday).
2. Faceoffs. The Edmonton Oilers lead San Jose 151-101 in faceoffs during the 3-game winning streak, including several key third period draws. Team FO% leaders during the playoffs: SJ, Mark Smith 58% [38-27, 15th, 10GP], Joe Thornton 42% [110-149, 74th, 10GP], Patrick Marleau 40% [59-90, 84th ,10GP]. EDM, Shawn Horcoff 55% [143-116, 23rd, 11GP], Jarret Stoll 55% [111-92, 28th, 11GP], Michael Peca 51% [93-88, 45th, 11GP]. Sharks center Marcel Goc won 13 of 18 for 72% in Game 5.
3. Get the puck deep. In the 6-3 loss during game 5 at San Jose, the Sharks repeatedly failed to get the puck deep in Edmonton's zone. Dump the puck in, hammer the defenseman trying to play it, and make the Oilers skate the entire 200 feet to create offense. The Sharks set the tone with physical play in the first two games, but Oilers have answered that and then some in the last three.
4. Manage the officials. Dwayne Roloson averages more equipment breaks, and argues more calls with the referees than the entire Sharks team combined. Several "gritty" Edmonton forwards are also taking advantage of tight officiating to manufacture penalties. Uncontested up until this point, San Jose needs to fight back. If it is preordained that refs are going to determine a game, make them call it in your favor.