The San Jose Sharks ventured into Edmonton with the goal of spoiling their second straight home opener in the Canadian Province of Alberta. What the Sharks did on the way to that goal was record setting in nature in what would become an early rout. A team record six goals in the first period coupled with 26 saves from Antti Niemi led team teal to a 6-3 rout of the Oilers making the Sharks party crashers for the second time in three days.
A Party Has Never Been Crashed Quite Like This- The Sharks had a first period that can only be described as one no Sharks fans anywhere would have in their wildest dreams. The Sharks jumped on the Oilers early and often…very often. Two back to back Oilers penalties to Ales Hemsky and Jeff Petry each for holding would quickly open up the flood gates. Dan Boyle’s slap shot from the point got past besieged Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk to give the Sharks the early one goal lead off the 5 on 3 at the 3:17. Boyle’s goal was his second the season with assists from both Pavelski and Thornton. The Sharks were only getting warmed up. Just a moment later with the Sharks continued on the power play and Logan Couture cashed in a pass from Joe Pavelski to give team teal a 2-0. Couture’s goal was his first of the season and was assisted by Marleau and Pavelski who registered his second point of the game at 4:30 of the first.
The Oilers would soon get on the board themselves thanks to a power play of their own when Brad Stuart was called for interference minor. Edmonton’s Nail Yakupov drilled a slap shot that beat Niemi on his right for his first career goal which at the time cut the Sharks lead to one at the 8:25. Yakupov’s tally was assisted by Simon Gagne and Ales Hemsky. This joy did not last very long unfortunately for the sellout crowd at Rexal Place. No sooner did the public address announcer finish announcing the Oilers goal, Patrick Marleau would wrist shot the puck top shelf beating Dubnyk. Marleau goal was his third of the season with assists from Thornton and Brad Stuart. 65 seconds later Marleau stuffed another puck under Dubnyk for a 4-1 Sharks lead. Marleau’s tally made it his fourth goal of season and was assisted by both Thornton and Couture.
Towards the end of the period, Logan Couture made it a 5-1 San Jose lead when fired a snap shot that beat Dubnyk at 18:09. Couture scored his second of nigh and the season with the assists from Martin Havlat and T.J. Galiardi. Not long after the Couture goal, Mark Edoward-Vlasic would add another tally for the Sharks as he blasted the puck from the high slot to beat Oilers net minder Dubnyk who was screened perfectly by San Jose Michal Handzus in the opening period. Vlasic’s tally was his first of the year with assists coming from Wingels and Galiardi. The first period was to remember for the Sharks and a forgettable one for the Oilers.
Fixing The Oil Leak- The Oilers settled things down in the second period and managed to keep the Sharks off of the scoreboard as Yann Danis replaced Dubnyk. Danis would face only nine shots on goal and was able to restore some order for Edmonton. Danis would go on to pitch two shut out periods. The Oilers would cut the Sharks lead to 6-2 when Justin Schultz scored a Power Play Goal thanks to back to back penalties on Vlasic and Boyle, giving the Oilers with a 5 on 3 man advantage. Schultz’s goal beat Niemi top shelf at 14:25 of the second period. The Sharks however would quickly settle things down after Schultz’s goal and kill of the remainder of the power play. The Oilers would outshoot the Sharks 17-9 in the period however with Niemi being very sharp could not make another dent on the scoreboard before the end of the period.
The final period saw more of the same with the Sharks playing the rope-a-dope roll and keeping the Oilers at bay. Taylor Hall scored five minutes into the period to bring Edmonton to within 6-3, however this would be all the Oilers could muster with their best efforts. After giving up two power play goals in the first two periods, the Sharks shut down the Oilers attack on two successful penalty kills. The Sharks defensive efforts were very strong in allowing only four more Edmonton shots on goal after Hall had scored. The Sharks equally were shut down by the Oilers who played good defense in the final two periods in addition to Danis’ relief net minding. However having defense for only 40 minutes in a 60 minute game will usually be very costly. Couture and Marleau were named the number two and one stars of the game respectively. The Oilers’ Schultz got credit for the game’s third star of the evening.
Shark Bytes- Marleau’s two goals on the evening give him four in the first two games in showing an early hot hand. Couture meanwhile ended the evening also with his first two goals of the season. Boyle’s goal was his third in two games, and Vlasic’s tally was his first in the early campaign. The Sharks with the win go to 2-0-0 and return home for what will be a very tough and telling homestand for team teal. The Sharks welcome the Phoenix Coyotes into HP Pavillon (aka The Shark Tank) Thursday night, followed by back to back games Saturday and Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche and the Vancouver Canucks.
The Sharks will be tested early in the young season and with the 48 game schedule being what it is, team teal is going to need to get enough rest and be asked to do a little more than maybe normal. However all other teams in the league are in the same boat and the Sharks at least have the luxury of not having to travel for the next six games. Following the six game homestand however is an equally lengthy road trip meaning the Sharks will certainly have their work cut out for them in this abbreviated season.
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