The Oilers opened the scoring in the second period when Jordan Eberle provided a lead for the home side. San Jose battled back and registered the game-tying marker with a third-period power-play goal, but the orange and blue kept with it and brought the game to a shootout.
Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall each scored, which countered Joe Pavelski's lone tally to propel the Oilers to a hard-fought 2-1 win Monday night.
Named as the game's First Star, Devan Dubnyk stopped 44 of the 45 Sharks shots he was tested with.
Stops, starts, whistles and line changes dominated the proceedings, as the Oilers and Sharks traded chances in the early going. By the time the game reached a TV timeout, the home side carried a slim 3-2 edge in shots, but neither team came close to cashing on an early opportunity.
The game's best chance went to San Jose 11:30 into the game when an ill-advised Oilers turnover allowed Michal Handzus to set up a wide-open Jamie McGinn in the slot; the 23-year-old stepped into a one-timer, but the attempt clunked iron beside a scrambling Devan Dubnyk.
The Oilers ended the period with a strong push, sustaining pressure and engineering scoring chances at will when Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Sam Gagner engaged on San Jose's third line. Sharks starter Thomas Greiss stopped them all, as the teams headed to the locker room tied in a scoreless game.
The visitors carried a 13-5 shot lead into the middle period.
San Jose's Colin White was assessed a hooking minor at 2:18, putting the Oilers' third-ranked, 21-percent power-play to work. The home side added three shots on Greiss, including a nifty deflection by Ryan Smyth that snapped the veteran's stick, but the scoreless game progressed.
Just for a moment, mind you. At 6:50, the Oilers made good on a chance to open up a 1-0 lead. Jeff Petry's cross-box dish connected on Sharks D man Douglas Murray's skate, propelling the puck to the sideboards where a wide-open Eberle pounced; the All-Star winger sent a slow-roller in on goal, but it was enough to beat an out-of-position Greiss for the goal.
With 6:00 to play, the Oilers stepped up their game in the physical department, too. 6'6", 245-pound rearguard Andy Sutton stepped up and lowered the boom on McGinn, causing the Shark to crumble to the ice in a heap near the penalty boxes.
Something to keep an eye on with the NHL's crackdown on headshots: the Sharks did reply, physically, with a dangerous jolt on Magnus Paajarvi. Douglas Murray pinched in and connected with No. 91's head; the Swede appeared to show no ill-effects, but there's little doubt the impact will draw the attention of Brendan Shanahan.
Through 40 minutes, the Oilers continued to lead 1-0 but were trailing in shots by a 26-12 margin.
San Jose came within inches of the tying marker early in the period when John McCarthy pulled a wraparound on an unsuspecting Dubnyk. The netminder was patrolling the cage's other side, but the rookie over-thought the maneuver; rather than tucking the puck short-side where there was room, he made an extra step to the middle where the Oilers' sophomore could get back in time to block the attempt.
With 14:23 on the clock, Ales Hemsky was assessed a questionable major penalty (and game misconduct) for kneeing Brent Burns. It took the Sharks only 46 seconds to pull even, as Dan Boyle's on-the-ice point shot was tipped by Logan Couture up and behind a defenceless Dubnyk on San Jose's 31st shot.
About a minute later, Joe Pavelski tried a similar play, but his long-range wrister struck No. 40's glove-side post. Following that, the Sharks peppered Dubnyk with an additional four shots, but the Oilers were able to kill the rest off.
After 60 minutes, San Jose was up 43-17 in shots but the game was headed to overtime.
Played much like the first period, the teams traded chances but nothing too dangerous was rifled on net. As such, a shootout was in order.
Bringing back a move that worked so well during the 2007-08 season, Sam Gagner was first to score in the skills competition with his patended forehand deke. Joe Pavelski squared the score in the shootout's third round, but Taylor Hall completed the effort with a nifty backhand move to beat Greiss and earn a 2-1 win for the home side.
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