May as well put this up top: The Sharks came back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in overtime, and were the better team by miles after the first period, outshooting Edmonton 44-19 in their Game 1 win. Despite a late-season slump, San Jose is the better team in this series, and I bet we’re going to have the chance to talk about them for longer than we will the Oilers. So let’s embrace Edmonton’s return to the playoffs after 11 years.
I’ve cued up this video of the intro to the singing of “O Canada,” which, predictably gets taken over by the crowd. (Why American teams don’t do this is baffling to me. It’s always, always incredible. Is it just that the Canadian anthem is that much more singable?)
The crowd was bananas, at least for that first period. And why not? This team has been so bad for so long, in place with a civic memory of the team being so good for so long. (We will generally elide the fact that the Oilers bumbled their way into Connor McDavid and the accompanying decade-plus of relevance he appears bound to bring. Lots of teams turn things around by being inept for so long they eventually stumble onto a franchise player! And many teams crap away many of their high draft picks and don’t improve! In fact, many of those teams were the Oilers.)
Not that merchandise is an accurate reflection of fandom, but just look how orange the crowd was. That’s, what, 80 percent of the crowd wearing jerseys that have only existed for two seasons? That’s something.
And listen to the place when Oscar Klefbom—another future star—got things going with the game’s first goal:
Edmonton: good hockey town. Who knew? (The team itself probably needs another year or two to catch up.)