Oilers fall prey to Sharks
|Edmonton and San Jose players pile up during a scrum in front of the net January 9, 2009 in Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
Two goals by Patrick Marleau and 25 saves by Evgeni Nabokov helped propel the San Jose Sharks to a 4-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers Friday night. Defenceman Denis Grebeshkov scored Edmonton's lone goal, while Dwayne Roloson took the loss for the home team.
With the exception of Robert Nilsson's opening-minute breakaway that was sabotaged by a broken stick, both clubs were slow to create offensive opportunities early in the game. At 5:23, San Jose's Brad Staubitz earned an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for picking on Zack Stortini
, but the Oilers were unable to beat Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov on their two powerplay shots.
The powerplay tables turned two minutes later when Steve Staios was called for slashing. Unlike the Oil, the Sharks required only one powerplay shot -- a slapper courtesy of defenceman Devin Setoguchi -- to beat Dwayne Roloson and take the first lead of the game.
Two minutes after that, the powerplay tables turned back again thanks to a second penalty to Staubitz. Although the Sharks managed a pair of shorthanded attempts, the Oilers forced themselves back in on Nabokov and found their equalizer. After cutting across the slot, blueliner Denis Grebeshkov received a crisp pass from eagle-eyed Andrew Cogliano
and snapped it into the visiting net to tie the game at one.
The classic beauty of Grebeshkov's goal was eclipsed by an unlikely goal for Staubitz. When faced with Staubitz's slapshot from in front of the Oilers bench, Roloson caught a piece with his glove but then saw the puck slip out the top and into the net to put the Sharks up 2-1.
With 34 seconds left in the frame, Patrick Marleau made it 3-1 for the Sharks by snaking past a pair of Oilers and beating Roloson with a snapshot that slid under the cross bar.
After Roloson allowed three goals on seven shots, Mathieu Garon led the Oilers onto the ice for the second period. At the one-minute mark at the opposite end of the ice, Nabokov was called for delay of game, but Edmonton's third powerplay failed to result in a second powerplay goal.
The Oilers came to within one shot of the Sharks' 18 when Erik Cole earned a tripping penalty behind the visiting net near the end of the period. Seven seconds into San Jose's powerplay, a shoving match erupted in Garon's crease, resulting in coincidental roughing minors to Staios and Milan Michalek.
With just over a minute left in Cole's penalty and just under three minutes left on the clock, Marleau scored his second goal of the game to give the Sharks a 4-1 lead.
An animated fight between Jason Strudwick
and Alexei Semenov erupted after the goal. The Oilers killed Strudwick's extra two for slashing, staying within three goals heading into the final frame.
Six minutes into the third, back-and-forth play came to a screeching halt when Stortini and Staubitz finished what they started in the first by dropping their gloves deep in the Oilers zone. Early in the scrap, the Shark threw the Oiler off-balance and Stortini slammed his back and head against the ice. Shook up on the play, he required attention from the trainers and assistance to exit the ice.
Both players earned fighting majors for the incident, but Staubitz wouldn't be alone in the box for long as Rob Blake was called for cross-checking 24 seconds later. Two more Sharks infractions kept the Oilers on the powerplay through the mid-point of the period, but the club struggled to gain momentum on the man-advantages and couldn't close in on San Jose.
Despite tallying 26 shots on Nabokov, Grebeshkov's first-period goal would be Edmonton's lone of the night, resulting in a 4-1 loss to San Jose Friday night.
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