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Sharks snap losing streak
Special teams shines in 3-2 win
3/12/12 - By Mike Lee -

They're not dead yet. While it looked as if they may throw another game out the window, the Sharks salvaged two points with a goal early in the 3rd period and held on for a 3-2 win over the host Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Monday night. Logan Couture's deflection of a Dan Boyle shot 38 seconds into the 3rd period to give the Sharks the goal they would need to break their 5-game losing streak. The win doesn't even push the Sharks into a playoff spot, but it inches them closer to the top eight teams in the Western Conference.

By virtue of the Colorado Avalanche beating Anaheim in overtime and the Phoenix Coyotes losing to the Nashville Predators in the shootout, the Sharks sit in 9th place in the West, a point behind Colorado, and two points behind the Coyotes. San Jose trails Pacific Division leader Dallas by 4 points.

Scoreboard watching aside, the Sharks accomplished some things they hadn't through the first 11 days of the month. They won for starters. It was their first victory since February 28th against the Philadelphia Flyers.

They also hadn't scored a power play goal in six games. They doubled up on that feat, scoring a pair of goals on the man-advantage against Edmonton.

San Jose opened the scoring with a traditional 5-on-5 goal 67 seconds into the game. After cycling the puck in the Oilers zone, Marc-Edouard Vlasic found himself with the puck at the point. Vlasic fired a shot in on Oilers Devin Dubnyk, who knocked it down, but didn't control it. Tommy Wingels took a stab at the loose puck sliding through the crease from left to right, but the puck hit the right post. Torrey Mitchell followed WIngles through the slot and whipped the rebound into the Oilers net as Dubnyk was turned around trying to find Wingels shot.

Both teams played back and forth hockey for most of the remainder of the period. Off-setting minors to Daniel Winnik and Jeff Petry with 1:23 left in the period setup a 4-on-4 situation that Edmonton exploited. Ryan Whitney carried the puck up the left wing, then uncorked a blast from the left dot, beating Antti Niemi with 50 seconds left in the period.

Special teams finally headed in the right direction midway through the 2nd period after Taylor Hall was sent off for tripping. Joe Thornton found himself in an unusual position, parked in the slot, when Patrick Marleau sent a lateral feed form the left side. From foreign territory, Thornton took a foreign approach to the situation, shooting rather than passing. His chip shot from between the circles beat Dubnyk for his 15th goal of the season.

Hall converted three minutes later for the "here we go again" moment of the game. Putting teams away has been a struggle for San Jose of late, and Hall's 26th goal of the season was a turning point moment for San Jose. The Sharks were buzzing Dubnyk when Brent Burns tried firing a shot from the right point. Hall blocked the shot out into the neutral zone, then raced up ice and fired a shot past Niemi.

Linus Omark closed out the period by lifting a puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty that carried over to the 3rd period. The Sharks took advantage of the help when Boyle's shot from the high slot nicked Couture on the way to the net.

Niemi faced a relatively light load, seeing only 22 shots total. His teammates buckled down in the final 20 minutes, allowing only 6 shots to reach the net.





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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 1 3
EDM 1 1 0 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Mitchell 8 (Wingels, Vlasic), 1:07. 2, EDM, Whitney 3 (Schultz, Belanger), 19:10.
2nd period - 3, SJ, Thornton 15 (Marleau, Pavelski), 11:36, (pp). 4, EDM, Hall 26 (unassisted), 14:54.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Couture 28 (Boyle, Thornton), 0:38, (pp).
Penalties
1st period - Winnik, SJ (slashing), 18:37; Petry, EDM (slashing), 18:37.
2nd period - Murray, SJ (holding), 5:24; Hall, EDM (tripping), 11:29; Omark, EDM (delay of game - puck over glass), 19:12.
3rd period - Smyth, EDM (10 min misconduct), 19:47.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 22 20
EDM - Dubnyk 33 30
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 10 13 10 33
EDM 9 7 6 22
Power Play Conversion
SJ 2 of 2
EDM 0 of 1
3 Stars of the Game
Joe Thornton
Ryan Whitney
Dan Boyle
Attendence
16,839
Officials
Referees: Kowal, Walsh. Linesmen: Lazarowich, Wheler.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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