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Sharks grab foothold in West
2-1 win in Edmonton extends lead to 6 points
4/2/09 - By Mike Lee -

The tail end of the Sharks swing through Alberta started well for San Jose and ended with the first sweep of the Edmonton and Calgary on the road in franchise history. Thursday night’s 2-1 squeaker over the Oilers ended an 18-year quest, but it didn’t come easy. Evgeni Nabokov’s 25 saves made goals by Jonathan Cheechoo and Dan Boyle stand up as the Sharks extended their lead in the Western Conference to 6 points over the Detroit Red Wings.

Cheechoo wasted little time scoring his 2nd goal in as many games. The Sharks forward grabbed a Jeremy Roenick feed along the left wing, then cut back toward the slot, sliding underneath a Joe Thornton screen before whipping a shot past Dwayne Roloson for his 11th goal of the season.

Boyle just missed on a chance to extend the Sharks lead early in the 2nd period, but he rang a shot off the post after San Jose opened the period flying.

An interference penalty to Denis Grebeshkov at 7:49 of the 2nd period, gave the Sharks a power play chance after controlling much of the play early. Boyle would convert on the power play, the Sharks 9th consecutive game scoring on the man advantage. Boyle pinched from the right point to lift a Christian Ehrhoff deflection over Roloson for the 2-0 lead.

Shawn Horcoff put yet another shot off the post, after Ales Hemsky misfired on a breakaway chance.

Milan Michalek clipped Hemsky late in the period, giving the Oilers a man advantage, but an Ales Kotalik tripping call on Joe Pavelski 45 seconds later should have even things up. Instead, Pavelski was also whistled for diving on what appeared to be a high sticking penalty against him. Rather than 4-on-4 hockey, the Pavelski infraction would open up the ice for Edmonton .

Sheldon Souray would use that extra ice to hit Dustin Penner with a pass from the end boards to the Oilers forward at the Sharks blueline. Penner sent a diagonal pass to Robert Nilsson, who tapped a drop pass to Sam Gagne back in the slot. Gagner slid toward the net and lifted a shot over Evgeni Nabokov’s right shoulder with 1:42 left in the period.

The Oilers season hinged on the final period, so they came out firing. With the ice tilting in Edmonton ’s favor, San Jose didn’t help themselves by icing the puck on two chances to gain center ice. Travis Moen made things interesting by taking an interference penalty with 12 minutes to play.

The Sharks penalty killing unit dispatched the Oilers, and then almost turned the tables on Edmonton when Milan Michalek had a breakaway chance right before Moen’s penalty was about to expire. Roloson stood up Michalek, denying the Sharks forward.

Douglas Murray gave the Oilers their 5th power play of the game with 6:46 minutes to play in regulation by taking a tripping minor. Once again, the Sharks were able to kill the penalty, but the Oilers aided the effort by putting several shots wide of the net.

Edmonton outshot the Sharks 9-5 in the final period, but they couldn’t get anything past Nabokov. Oilers head coach Craig MasTavish pulled Roloson with 1:07 left in the game, but the Sharks tied the puck up, preventing any rubber from even reaching Nabokov.

Game Notes:

Defenseman Rob Blake and forward Marcel Goc returned to the lineup after nursing injuries. Tom Cavanagh was reassigned to Worcester to make room for Goc.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 0 2
EDM 0 1 0 1
1st period - 1, SJ, Cheechoo 11 (Roenick, Blake), 0:52.
2nd period - 2, SJ, Boyle 16 (Pavelski, Ehrhoff), 8:16, (pp). 3, EDM, Gagner 15 (Nilsson, Penner), 18:18, (pp).
3rd period - None
Penalties
1st period - Roloson, EDM (delay of game – puck over glass), 13:33; Roenick, SJ (goaltender interference), 14:17; Michalek, SJ (hooking), 16:12.
2nd period - Grebeshkov, EDM (interference), 7:49; Hemsky, EDM (hooking), 12:02; Michalek, SJ (high sticking), 16:50; Pavelski, SJ (diving), 17:35; Kotalik, EDM (tripping), 17:35.
3rd period - Moen, SJ (interference), 8:05; Murray, SJ (tripping), 13:14.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Nabokov 26 25
EDM - Roloson 22 20
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 8 9 5 22
EDM 6 11 9 26
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
EDM 1 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Dan Boyle
Evgeni Nabokov
Sam Gagner
Attendence
16,839
Officials
Referees: LaRue, Lee. Linesmen: Cvik, Wheler.

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