Playing in front of a rabid Rogers Place crowd, the Edmonton Oilers were the heroes in the first two games of their series against the San Jose Sharks. Now they’ll hit the road and play the villains.
“If you’re going to go far in the playoffs, you have to get used to that,” said winger Zack Kassian, who will likely be the chief villain in San Jose after steamrolling several Sharks in Edmonton’s game two victory. “Those are fun games to play in. I don’t think you change the style of game at all. I think it’s just a matter of controlled emotion in the away arena.”
“That’s the fun part of playoff hockey. The crowd and the energy go up five of six more notches,” said winger Milan Lucic of going into the SAP Center in San Jose for games three and four. “To be successful, you have to be able to get wins on the road. The ‘Shark Tank’ is known for being one of the hardest buildings to play in.”
“For me, playoffs is like a boxing match,” said head coach Todd McLellan. “You throw a jab, you take a jab, you throw one, and they kind of even out. They’ve gone to their corner. We’ve gone to ours. Everybody is regrouping. You gotta start all over again. If you come out with your hands down, you’re gonna get knocked out.”
The Oilers held an optional practice at Rogers Place before departing for San Jose Saturday afternoon. Defenceman Oscar Klefbom didn’t skate but McLellan says he will be available for game three on Sunday. Klefbom blocked a shot in the third period of game two on Friday and didn’t return to action.
Meanwhile, the Oilers recalled defenceman Griffin Reinhart on Saturday from the Bakersfield Condors.
The move looks like a “just in case” scenario.
The series is tied 1-1. Game three is on 630 CHED Sunday with the Face-off Show at 6pm. The game starts at 8pm. (jrw)