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Sluggish start
Offense lackluster in season opener
10/4/07 - by Mike Lee

The quest for Lord Stanley's Cup may need a kick start. Opening the 2007-08 regular season in Edmonton on Thursday night, the Sharks looked nothing like the world beaters that all the pundits are making San Jose out to be. A late gift by referee Greg Kimmerly enabled the Sharks to salvage a point, but the host Oilers prevailed from a bad call to win in the shootout.

Hopefully the Sharks got the message after their lack luster performance, that the NHL doesn't hand out Championships based on what preseason prognosticators say in September. The absence of any fluid flow and energy left the Sharks with little to show for it on the score board.

The chances were there, but the shots were just good enough to kiss the post on four occasions. Steve Bernier rang a shot off the left post on the Sharks first power play after Shawn Horcoff was sent off for tripping Joe Thornton. Rookie Torrey Mitchell, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff and Mike Grier would all add post shots that equated to zero goals.

Things got chippy early after Raffi Torres decided to run at Kyle McLaren along the boards after an offsides call. The Sharks responded by having 4 of the 5 players on the ice respond en force. Christian Ehrhoff pounced on Torres, who would draw a roughing penalty for this misdeed.

Torres' shenanigans, which date back to the 2006 playoffs when he knocked out Milan Michalek with a dirty hit, tried to take liberties with Sharks rookie Torrey Mitchell by sticking his knee out. Mitchell escaped injury, but Sharks defenseman Douglas Murray went after Torres. The two squared off after dropping the gloves, fighting to a draw. Murray drew an instigator penalty and an extra 10-minute misconduct.

It took 40 minutes and 26 seconds to break the ice, but the Sharks finally drew first blood with the first goal of the season. Patrick Marleau snapped home his first of the season on a quick redirect in front of the net on a feed from Joe Thornton. Craig Rivet started the play by keeping the puck deep in the Oilers zone.

The Oilers would answer 1:11 later after Tom Gilbert redirected a feed from Andrew Cogliano with his skate, after the Oilers created traffic in front of Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov in front of the San Jose net. Cogliano carried the puck up the right wing before exchanging passes with Sam Gagner before whipping a pass into a crowd. Nabokov never saw the redirect, as it trickled through his pads.

The momentum had clearly shifted, tilting the ice in Edmonton's favor. The Oilers controlled the puck right after Gilbert's goal and made San Jose pay.

Edmonton struck again a minute later on a loose puck after Nabokov failed to control a blast from Sheldon Souray from the left point. Kyle Brodziak poked home the puck as it sat behind Nabokov, who got a glove on Souray's shot.

The Sharks waited until the last 11 seconds of regulation to knot the game up on a questionable penalty to Souray late in the contest. As San Jose tried to create some kind of offensive chance in the final minute of the period, Thornton carried the puck along the end boards, before getting tied up with the Oilers defenseman. Souray was whistled for holding, which gave the Sharks a power play with 42 ticks left.

Thornton tied the game at 2-2 by roofing a wrist shot from the bottom of the right circle at 19:49, bouncing the shot off the right post and the crossbar. The Rexall Place crowd voiced their displeasure with the call on Souray, then really let the officials have it after Thornton knotted the game.

After a touch and go overtime period that generated few scoring chances for either team, the game moved to the shootout, where the Sharks faltered. Jonathan Cheechoo was stuffed by Roloson on a weak wrist shot to the glove side. Ales Hemsky then bounced a backhand attempt off the left post after making 5 or 6 moves. Ryane Clowe let a weak backhand attempt bounce meekly past the right post to continue the Sharks woes.

Robert Nilsson would score on a wrist shot that beat Nabokov to the stick side, before Joe Pavelski snapped home a shot that beat Roloson to the 5-hole. Marty Reasoner was snuffed by Nabokov by throwing his body across the face of the goal, but Marleau continued his shootout ineptitude with a weak wrist shot that sailed wide right.

Jarrod Stoll ended things with a wrist shot that slipped past Nabokov, who got a glove on the shot.


Jeremy Roenick made his Sharks debut as a game time addition to the roster after Devon Setoguchi was scratched with an undisclosed injury. Mitchell made his NHL debut and had a strong game, drawing a tripping penalty on Stoll in the 3rd period.

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1 2 3 OTSOT
SJ 0 0 2 002
EDM 0 0 2 013
1st period - None.
2nd period - None.
3rd period - 1, SJ, Marleau 1 (Thornton, Rivet), 0:26; 2, EDM, Gilbert 1 (Cogliano, Gagner), 1:37; 3, EDM, Brodziak 1 (Souray, Reasoner), 2:51; 4, SJ, Thornton 1 (Rivet, Vlassic), 19:49, (pp).
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Cheechoo (miss), Clowe (miss), Pavelski (goal), Marleau (miss). EDM: Hemsky (miss), Nilsson (goal) ,Reasoner (miss), Stoll (goal) .
1st period - Horcoff, EDM (holding), 3:47; Michalek, SJ (tripping), 6:32; Torres, EDM (roughing), 14:20, McLaren, SJ (tripping), 16:48; Sanderson, EDM (high sticking), 19:47.
2nd period - Clowe, SJ (holding), 2:40; Rivet, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 6:09; Torres, EDM (kneeing), 8:32; Torres, EDM (fighting major), 8:32; Murray, SJ (instigator), 8:32; Murray, SJ (fighting major), 8:32; Murray, SJ (10 min misconduct), 8:32; Cheechoo, SJ (high sticking), 11:38; Stoll, EDM (tripping), 13:27;
3rd period - Staios, EDM (roughing), 6:39; Michalek, sJ (roughing), 6:39; Tarnstrom, EDM (holding), 12:47; Souray, EDM (holding), 19:18.
Overtime - Cheechoo, SJ (high sticking), 4:49.
  Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 25 23
EDM - Roloson 30 28
Shots On Goal
1 2 3OT T
SJ 9 4 152 30
EDM 7 4 112 25
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 6
EDM 0 of 6
3 Stars of the Game
Dwayne Roloson
Tom Gilbert
Joe Thornton
Referees: Greg Kimmerly, Chris Lee. Linesmen: Lyle Seitz, Vaughn Rody.

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