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Oil takes triple OT thriller
Edmonton cuts series to 2-1
5/10/06 - by Mike Lee

Looks like we've got ourselves a series after all. While nobody underestimated the Edmonton Oilers, the Sharks two home wins to start their Western Conference semi-finals series may have left some thinking that this was going to be a cake walk. That couldn't have been further from the truth on Wednesday night, as the Oilers beat San Jose in triple overtime at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

Shawn Horcoff scored the game winner 2:24 into the third extra period, the longest game in franchise history. Edmonton overcame a 2-1 deficit in the 3rd period, then traded scoring chances over the next 40 minutes until Horcoff ended it with a shot from in close.

"It's just an unbelievable feeling, triple overtime, it's a dream come true a goal like that," Horcoff said. "I thought we came out extremely hard; that's the type of hockey we need to play to be successful."

Vesa Toskala made 55 saves in the losing effort, including 15 stops in a lopsided opening period that kept the Sharks within striking distance. Edmonton opened the game on afterburners, controlling the entire period. Marc-Andre Bergeron finally capitalized on a power play chance, even though the Oilers soundly controlled play for the entire period.

San Jose didn't get a shot on goal until the 15 minute mark of the game.

The Sharks fortunes were turn in the 2nd period. Patrick Marleau scored his 9th goal of the playoffs to knot things up at 1-1 just 1:19 into the second stanza. Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson snuffed a shot by Sharks defenseman Josh Gorges, but he failed to corral the puck which sat right next to his left pad. Marleau grabbed the loose puck in the crease then easily deposited a backhand into the net.

Patrick Rissmiller gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead eight minutes later when he deflected a pass from Joe Thornton while cutting to the net straight down the slot. The turn of events quieted a ruckus crowd who were well aware that the Oilers had failed to overcome 2-1 deficits in the two prior games.

With Milan Michalek sitting in the press box as a scratch after suffering a head injury on cheap shot by Raffi Torres in Game 2, the Sharks almost lost another key piece of their offense when Oilers goon Georges Laraque ran Jonathan Cheechoo from behind, slamming Cheechoo's head into one of the stanchions that separates the panes of glass. Laraque was assessed a major for boarding and tossed with a game misconduct.

Things finally turned for the Oilers in the 3rd period, when the Sharks elected to try and hold on to their lead, rather than go for the jugular and put the Oilers away. The smothering defense the Sharks had been playing most of the series had a momentary lapse and the Oilers snapped at the opportunity.

On a simple breakout, three Sharks defenders tried to converge on Jerett Stoll as he carried the puck up the right wing boards. Stoll saw Raffi Torres on the off wing and hit him with a pass at the Sharks blueline. Torres skated in uncontested and launched a rocket from the left dot that sailed over Toskala's left shoulder with just under seven minutes to play in regulation.

Cheechoo missed on an empty net chance later in the period when Roloson was caught out of the net after Thornton grabbed a loose puck behind the Oilers goal. Thornton slipped Cheechoo a pass, but the league's goal scoring king bounced the puck off the left post, missing a golden opportunity to put the Sharks on top with less than three minutes to play.

Surprisingly, Edmonton played a more conservative game in the overtime period. Both teams traded chances. Toskala had to stop several redirected shots during the first two overtime periods. Nils Ekman missed on a partial break that was snuffed by Roloson after Ekman carried the puck in too close to the Oilers netminder.

Cheechoo had another look at an open net toward the end of the 2nd overtime but Stoll hooked him from behind drawing a minor penalty. The Sharks failed to capitalize on the power play chance with carried over into the 3rd overtime. That miss would prove costly as Horcoff would end things two minutes later.


With Michalek in the press box, ALyn McCauley returned to action after missing the last three games to nurse a knee injury.

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1 2 3 OT 2OT 3OT T
SJ 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
EDM 1 0 1 0 0 1 3
1st period - 1, Edmonton, Bergeron 1 (Torres), 10:04, (pp).
2nd period - 2, San Jose, Marleau 9 (Gorges, Bernier), 1:19. 3, San Jose, Rissmiller 2 (J. Thornton, Cheechoo), 9:30.
3rd period - 4, Edmonton, Torres 2 (Stoll, Pronger), 13:13.
1st Overtime - None.
2nd Overtime - None.
3rd Overtime - 5, Edmonton, Horcoff (Smyth, Hemsky), 2:24.
1st period - Nieminen, SJ (tripping), 2:25; McCauley, SJ (cross checking), 8:31.
2nd period - J. Thornton, SJ (tripping), 3:06; Samsonov, EDM (tripping), 5:27; Samsonov, EDM (tripping), 10:24; Rissmiller, SJ (goaltender interference), 11:13; Laraque, EDM (major boarding, game misconduct), 13:38; J. Thornton, SJ (goaltender interference), 15:54.
3rd period - None.
1st Overtime - Ehrhoff, SJ (holding), 7:05.
2nd Overtime - Stoll, EDM (hooking), 18:49.
3rd Overtime - None.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Toskala 58 55
EDM - Roloson 34 32
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 1OT 2OT 3OT T
SJ 2 8 6 6 10 2 34
EDM 15 3 9 16 14 1 58
Power Play Conversion
SJ 0 of 5
EDM 1 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Shawn Horcoff
Vesa Toskala
Raffi Torres
Referees: Don Koharski, Dan O'Halloran. Linesmen: Jay Sharrers, Mark Wheler.

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