San Jose had participated in more than 100 playoff games since Edmonton had played its last, and for 12 Oilers, it was their first foray into the Stanley Cup.
A lot was made of the Oilers playoff inexperience, with just 342 combined post-season games under their belt heading into the playoffs compared to well over 1,000 games for the Sharks, the defending Western Conference champions.
Game 2 against San Jose is in Edmonton on Friday. He swiped at the puck with this stick, giving it to Oilers Mark Letestu. Winger Joonas Donskoi came around behind the net and fed the puck in front on the backhand to Ward, who then redirected the puck past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.
Their work paid off with the tying goal at the 5:22 mark of the third period.
It the blueprint for how the Sharks want Meier to play against the Oilers. The goal came 6:44 into the game.
The victory prevented the Oilers from dropping both of their home playoff games against the Sharks.
It was the first postseason game in Edmonton since June 17, 2006, when the Oilers beat Carolina in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. Through two games, the Oilers and Sharks have attempted the same amount of unblocked shot attempts at even strength and scored the same amount of even strength goals, while the Oilers hold a slight edge in overall shot attempts (50.98%), scoring chances (50.68%), and high danger chances (51.72%), according to Natural Stat Trick.
The Oilers continued to dictate the pace in the early going.
Milan Lucic and Oscar Klefbom scored for the Oilers.
ABOUT THE OILERS: Captain Connor McDavid notched an assist in the series opener after ending the regular season with a 14-game point streak - the longest in the National Hockey League in 2016-17. The Sharks welcomed Logan Couture back to the lineup after the center missed the final seven games of the regular season with a facial injury.
Couture had been ramping things up over the course of the last week, and went through a more physical practice Tuesday to get ready for the playoff opener.
The more worrying problem for the Oilers in game one was how badly the Sharks dominated puck battles. "Guys might have been nervous the first game", the second-year star said.
"At this time of the year you just throw him out and you use him", said McLellan. Now, the 18-year-old university student is taking it all in even though he couldn't get a ticket for the game. "We're just thinking about ourselves and how we're going to prepare for the game, so I'm not going to shorten my routine for something".
If Thornton plays on Friday, that should be a huge lift for the Sharks.
"That's playoff hockey", he said. "I think we've seen one of each so far". "We expect it and we'll deal with it like we always have". We did a good job during the regular season.
Through two games in the first round, the Sharks have experienced the best of times and the worst of times.
"It's not going to bother us from our routine", Tierney said.