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Edmonton Oilers vs San Jose Sharks

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Edmonton Oilers (Seed 8)

The Oilers were simply tougher and worked harder than the heavily favored Detroit Red Wings, beating them in six games. One thing Edmonton proved in the first round was that they could play with the game on the line. Three of their four victories were one-goal contests and the other was a two-goal win.

In goal, rookie tender Dwayne Roloson saved 93% of the shots he saw. His 2.5 GAA was certainly good enough to win, but it may not be good enough to win against San Jose.

The Oilers were able to shut down the Detroit powerhouse of Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lindstrom and Brendan Shanahan. During the regular season each man finished with 80 points of more; during the series they were held to a total of 11 points and five goals.

But the Oilers also won the series by utilizing their scorers, while they neutralized one of the best attacks in the NHL. For Edmonton to win this series, they will have to get near perfect goaltending. For the Sharks, Toskala was a half goal better in his first series than Roloson was in his. That figure will have to be reversed for the Oilers to win this round. One thing is for sure, a rookie goalie will be in net for the next series.

San Jose Sharks (Seed 5)

In five games, the Sharks eliminated their first round opponent the Nashville Predators. They didn’t blow the Predators out; they simply kept it close enough to win.

Three of their victories were one-goal contests. Of course close scores demand tough goaltending and the Sharks got just that from rookie Vesa Toskala. In his four victories, Toskala posted a 1.5 goals against average, which included a shutout.

San Jose’s Joe Thornton, this year’s scoring champion and MVP candidate, had four assists in five games, while Patrick Marleau scored eight goals in the series. The Sharks defense seemed to be everywhere, ably feeding the puck to goal scorers.

The defense was responsible for 18 of San Jose’s 32 assists. Defensemen Tom Preissing, Christian Ehrhoff and Matt Carle didn’t score a goal, but they accounted for 14 assists.

This team can win. They play a tough, unrelenting game with a sure defense and a speedy offense. In goal, Toskala looks like the real thing. The Sharks are playing an Edmonton team that beat number one seed Detroit. Edmonton feels that they can beat anyone. A disciplined San Jose team may prove them wrong.

Second Round Playoff Series Prediction:

San Jose over Edmonton in 5 games

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