(CBS SF) — The San Jose Sharks will play the Edmonton Oilers in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The best-of-seven series begins Wednesday night in Edmonton.
The Oilers finished second in the Pacific Division to earn home ice advantage and won the season series against the Sharks 3-2. Edmonton is led by 20-year old phenom Connor McDavid, who led the NHL with 100 points this season, and are coached by former Sharks head coach Todd McLellan.
San Jose struggled down the stretch, winning just four of their final thirteen games. They also lost forwards Joe Thornton and Logan Couture to injury. Couture missed the final seven games after being hit in the face by a puck and Thornton went down with a knee injury last week. Head coach Pete DeBoer told reporters he expects to have both players back at some point during the playoffs.
Sharks radio analyst Bret Hedican believes the final stretch of the season has taken a toll on the team. “They’ve got health issues, they’ve got a tired team if you will and the confidence factor is something of concern for San Jose,” Hedican said on KPIX’s Gameday.
The Sharks won the Western Conference Finals last postseason and reached the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.