The Oilers stormed back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, but the third time wasn't a charm, as Logan Couture's early third-period power-play goal vaulted the Sharks ahead one last time, as the visitors escaped with a 3-2 win on Monday night at Rexall Place.
Devan Dubnyk made 30 saves in the loss, while Ryan Whitney and Taylor Hall scored the Oilers goals.
While the Oilers were first to strike in the teams' last meeting (10 seconds in, even), the Sharks got the job done early in sinking the orange and blue's strong-start hopes. At 1:07, Torrey Mitchell pounced on a loose puck in the crease; Devan Dubnyk, crossed up in the blue paint, didn't see San Jose's third whack as the puck was netted into the empty cage.
The home side responded well, hemming the Sharks in their own end in a well-positioned minute-long shift, which resulted in numerous scoring opportunities. Only one shot was added to the Oilers' tally, but momentum was gained.
The visitors came back strong, too, nearly potting a second goal when Andy Sutton just missed a hellacious hit on Benn Ferriero, allowing Brent Burns to rifle a wide-open shot from the slot, but Dubnyk came up big to deny the chance.
With 6:09 to play, the Oilers got their best chance. San Jose's TJ Galiardi coughed up the puck in the neutral zone, while rearguard Justin Braun couldn't corral it as it bounced across his own blueline, sending Ben Eager in on a breakaway. No 55 wasted no time, snapping a shot blocker-side, but his attempt sailed wide to preserve the Sharks' 1-0 lead.
With 49.8 seconds on the clock and with the teams playing 4-on-4 as Jeff Petry and Daniel Winnik were serving time, Ryan Whitney raced into the Sharks end, looked off Ryan Jones and ripped a slapper past Antti Niemi's glove to square the score, 1-1.
After 20 minutes, the Sharks and Oilers remained in the same score as the visitors carried a 10-9 lead in shots into the middle period.
The Oilers' top-ranked, 21.8-percent power-play went to work at 5:24 when Douglas Murray was assessed a holding minor. The advantage sputtered, however, generating only a single shot and nothing much of consequence when it comes to sustained zone time.
As the period's 10-minute mark approached, Whitney spurred a 2-on-1 opportunity with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. No. 4 dished a perfect cross-ice pass to the rookie but, while his shot connected and dribbled wide, he was drilled into the goalie (and goalpost) by Burns who raced back hard to preserve the 1-1 score.
With 8:31 to play, Dubnyk came up equally as big to keep the game knotted. Murray's point shot was a hard one, producing a juicy rebound for Galiardi at the doorstep, but the 'tender athletically sprawled and denied the chance with a thrilling right pad save.
On the same sequence, Hall was charged with tripping. It took the Sharks just seven seconds to cash, as Joe Thornto (No. 19) one-timed a Patrick Marleau pass behind Dubnyk, bar-in, on the visitors' 19th shot.
At 14:54, the Oilers beat Niemi glove-side once more. Hall blocked a shot at his own blueline and the puck hopped into the neutral zone where he only he could retrieve it. Chasing it down in full flight, the sophomore reached the top of the circle and snapped a shot low, denting the twine and making it a 2-2 game on his 26th tally of the season.
Linus Omark picked up a delay of game minor in the period's final minute when he flipped the puck up and over the glass.
The 2-2 score, 23-16 shot lead and 1:12 remaining on the power-play carried into the third.
38 seconds into the period, the Sharks made good on the remaining man-advantage. Taking a pass from Joe Thornton, Dan Boyle launched a point shot through bodies, redirected by Logan Couture, behind Dubnyk to restore the Sharks' one-goal lead.
As the midway point came and went, the Sharks extended to a 31-19 shot lead as the home side searched for a spark.
With exactly a minute on the clock, the Oilers pulled Dubnyk for an extra-attacker. But it didn't matter, as the orange and blue struggled to gain the zone and maintain consistent pressure, much as they'd done throughout the third period. As a result, a 3-2 decision to the Sharks was dropped.
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