Sharks nip Oilers 2-1
|Dwayne Roloson prepares for a shot from San Jose's Joe Thornton during Thursday night's game at Rexall Place. The Sharks went on to win 2-1. (Photo by Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
The Oilers faced an imposing foe in the Sharks Thursday night, and although Sam Gagner
got his club within one with a goal late in the second period, the NHL's top club finished on top of a 2-1 decision to take the two points. Jonathan Cheechoo and Dan Boyle scored for San Jose, while Dwayne Roloson stopped 20 shots in the losing effort.
One minute and two shots into the game, the Sharks took a bite out of the Oilers. After skating up the left wing and dodging a sliding Steve Staios, Jonathan Cheechoo snapped the puck past Roloson to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead.
came close to tying the game soon after, but Evgeni Nabokov's left post silently deflected the puck. Near the six-minute mark, Jeremy Roenick intercepted the puck in the Oilers zone and spun back in on Roloson, but the goalie made the quick save and then another on the rebound to prevent a second Sharks goal.
San Jose held a narrow shot lead for the rest of the period, thanks in part to the right post that blocked Ales Kotalik's shot near the 13-minute mark. With six saves to his name, Roloson took a delay of game penalty and the Sharks benefited from the game's first powerplay, but the goalie redeemed himself by drawing a goaltender interference penalty from Roenick to cut the man-advantage in half.
A second consecutive Sharks penalty streched the Oilers powerplay by two minutes, but Nabokov kept the home team from tallying an equalizer, ensuring his club would take their one-goal, two-shot lead into the second period.
630 CHED's Dan Tencer talks to Tom Gilbert after the first period
The Sharks dominated the first few minutes of the middle frame but the Oilers soon found their stride to assume an 11-9 shot lead by the six-minute mark. But the extra shots failed to net an opening Oilers goal, and the Sharks responded with their second strike.
With 12 minutes left on the clock and Denis Grebeshkov serving an interference penalty, Dan Boyle took advantage of a sprawled-out Roloson by lifting the puck over the goalie and across the line for a 2-0 San Jose lead.
Penalty box doors kept swinging as the period continued but both lamps remained unlit -- until Sam Gagner
skated in with the torch. In the final two minutes of the frame, Sheldon Souray
hit Dustin Penner
with a stretch pass, Penner fed the puck to Nilsson, and Nilsson dropped it off for Gagner. The young forward skated up the slot and surprised Nabokov with a snapshot that got the Oilers on the board and back within one heading into the third period.
Edmonton had an excellent chance to even things up early in the third when the puck rested out of Nabokov's reach in the blue paint, but a Shark beat the Oilers to the punch and cleared it away safely. A few minutes later, Kotalik came within inches of tying things up, but the puck bounced off the post and touched the line without crossing.
Fourth and fifth powerplays helped the Oilers maintain the shot lead and keep pressure on Nabokov as time ticked down, but bouncing pucks and solid saves kept an equalizer out of reach.
Roloson left his net with one minute remaining in regulation, and though six Oilers skaters increased their club's shot count to 26, Nabokov held on until the final buzzer to secure a 2-1 Sharks victory.
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