A Pacific Division crown and a match with in-province rival Calgary was still in play until the closing minutes of the game, but Anaheim got the point they needed and Edmonton will have to settle for a first-round matchup with the Sharks. Couture has been skating after being hit in the face by a redirected slap shot March 25. Thornton injured his left knee in a collision a week ago against the Vancouver Canucks.
Couture is a critical piece as he would be tasked with shadowing and shutting down McDavid, the NHL's fleet-footed scoring champion.
Because of the 10 straight seasons out of the playoffs, Edmonton fans seemed to insist on having angst about the Oilers managing to make the playoffs nearly all the way down to the day it became a mathematical certainty. Lucic has 101 playoff games under his belt, including two trips to the Stanley Cup final with the Boston Bruins.
SAN JOSE The Sharks will face their former coach and one of the hottest teams in the National Hockey League to start the postseason.
They also rank either first, second, or third on the Sharks in shot attempts, unblocked shot attempts, and expected goals per 60 minutes, among players who have played 50 minutes with the man advantage.
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin, a veteran of 105 playoff games, said that McDavid shouldn't be fazed by his first trip to the postseason. Jones cemented his status with a terrific performance last spring in leading the Sharks to the Stanley Cup finals. "I think everyone in the city is extremely excited and so are we - we're looking forward to this". They know the level that they have to play at when this time of year starts.
"You know they're confident".
Here's the thing about the last games of the season: there are a lot of B and C grade jokes that don't make the cut.
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"This is usually the last day (of the season) for me", Eberle said.
The Sharks should have a playoff experience edge over the Oilers.
"I suspect Crosby might win the Ted Lindsay as the Most Outstanding Player, but it's conceivable that McDavid could be voted the Most Outstanding Player and could also be judged most valuable to his team".
"It's been frustrating. This is usually the last day (of the season) for me", Eberle said. I think you've got to look at Bobrovsky.
The stats favor the Oilers. The Oilers finished second in the Pacific Division with 103 points. Leon Draisaitl ended the season with the seventh most points making the Oilers the only National Hockey League team to have multiple top ten scorers.
Note: Oilers head coach Todd McLellan said after the game backup goalie Laurent Brossoit will start Sunday. All three parted ways with the Sharks two years ago and are back in the playoffs facing their former team.
It's tough to beat a team twice in as many days, but the Canucks are one of many teams just waiting for the offseason to arrive so they can recharge. Make no mistake, they do have guys who have been their before.