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Big opening period vaults Sharks
SJ sweeps Alberta with 6-3 win in Edmonton
1/22/13 - By Mike Lee -

If you pick up a Canadian newspaper on any given day, you'll likely find a story about one of the young phenom's that play for the Edmonton Oilers. There's no doubt that the Oilers are stocked with young talent, but on Tuesday night, the Sharks crew of veteran talent handed down a lesson in depositing the puck into the net. Led by another two-goal performance by Patrick Marleau, the Sharks unloaded on the Oilers in a 6-goal 1st period to cruise to a 6-3 win at Rexall Place in Alberta.

Half of San Jose's scoring came via the power play, vaulting the Sharks into the top five of the league power play rankings. The lone hole in the Sharks game on Tuesday night continues to be the penalty kill. San Jose allowed two of Edmonton's goals with a man in the penalty box. After only two games, the Sharks already rank toward the bottom of the penalty kill stats.

Edmonton's nightmare period started with penalties by Ales Hemsky and Jeff Petry took penalties 47 second apart early in the contest. Dan Boyle converted on his 2nd 5-on-3 goal in as many periods to stake the Sharks to the 1-0 lead.

With Petry serving the remainder of his penalty, Logan Couture scored his 1st goal of the season to give San Jose their second power play goal of the night. Couture took a feed from Marleau along the left wing boards before racing into the Oilers zone and snapping a wrist shot that slipped between the left post and Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk's blocker.

Brad Stuart was sent off for interference at 7:49 for what appeared to be a relatively suspect call. Edmonton used the man-advantage to halve the Sharks lead when highly touted rookie Nail Yakupov scored his 1st career NHL goal.

San Jose would then proceed to ruin Edmonton's opening night festivities by scoring four more goals to close out the period.

Marleau followed up his two-goal performance in Calgary on Sunday, with a pair of back-to-back tallies midway through the period. He scored his first of the evening wristing a shot from 20-feet out past Dubnyk. Defenseman Brad Stuart earned the secondary assist on the play, for his first point as a Shark in almost 8 years.

Corey Potter made Marleau's second a bit easier by exiting to the penalty box for roughing at 10:33 of the period. Joe Thornton setup the goal with a pass from the right corner as Marleau cruised down the slot and snapped a shot that caught the top right corner of the Edmonton goal.

Couture added his 2nd score of the night with 1:51 left in the period, banging home a rebound from the doorstep after Martin Havlat put a shot on Dubnyk from the right side. Hovering around the left post, Couture did little more than lift the puck over Dubnyk's right pad to push the Sharks lead to 5-1.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic got in on the scoring act by pumping a shot past Dubnyk from the slot at 19:20 of the period. Michal Handzus earned an honorary assist for his screen on Dubnyk, which completely blocked the Oiler netmionder's view of the puck. Vlasic stepped into a Tommy Wingels feed, beating Dubnyk to the glove side.

The period mercifully came to an end, but not before the Sharks had set a franchise record for goals in an opening period.

Dubnyk's night also came to an end, having surrendered six goals on 17 shots. Yann Danis replaced him and pitched a shutout over the final 40 minutes.

Edmonton tried to chip away at the Sharks lead over the last two periods, but the Sharks big lead was just too steep a hill to climb.

Penalties bit the Sharks midway through the 2nd period, when Vlasic took an interference penalty at 13:25 and Boyle followed it up with a boarding penalty on Ryan Smyth 34 seconds later. Rookie defenseman Justin Schultz converted on the ensuing 5-on-3 for his 1st NHL goal. Schultz cranked a shot from the right circle to cut the Sharks lead to 6-2.

Taylor Hall converted the first even strength goal of the season against Antti Niemi 3 minutes into the 3rd period to cap the scoring. If not for a penalty kill that has started the season slow, Niemi would have a near perfect 6 periods in the books so far this year.

Forward James Sheppard made his Sharks debut, logging 8:10 of ice time on 10 shifts. IT was Sheppard's first game on NHL ice in almost three years after destroying his knee in an ATV accident. The one-time blue chip prospect played sparingly, but he showed that his rehabilitation has paid dividends.

The opposition gets a little tougher on Thursday night, when the Sharks return home for their home-opener against the Phoenix Coyotes. The defending Pacific Division Champions is off to a slow start, having dropped both of their first two games to start the season, but they will look to get their season back on track against San Jose. Phoenix won the season series with San Jose last year, taking 4 of 6 games.



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Scoring
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 0 0 6
EDM 1 1 1 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Boyle 2 (Pavelski, Thornton), 3:17, (pp). 2, SJ, Couture 1 (Marleau), 4:30, (pp). 3, EDM, Yakupov 1 (Gagner, Hemsky), 8:25, (pp). 4, SJ, Marleau 3 (Thornton, Stuart), 10:02. 5, Marleau 4 (Thornton, Couture), 11:07, (pp). 6, SJ, Couture 2 (Havlat, Galiardi), 18:09. 7, SJ, Vlasic 1 (Wingels, Galiardi), 19:20.
2nd period - 8, EDM, Schultz 1 (Nugent-Hopkins, Eberle), 14:25, (pp).
3rd period - 9, EDM, Hall 1 (Eberle, Smid), 3:34.
Penalties
1st period - Hemsky, EDM (holding), 2:16; Petry, EDM (tripping), 3:03; Stuart, SJ (interference), 7:49; Potter, EDM (roughing), 10:33.
2nd period - Smyth, EDM (roughing), 8:35; Vlasic, SJ (interference), 13:25; Boyle, SJ (boarding), 13:59.
3rd period - Clowe, SJ (cross checking), 5:55; Belanger, EDM (slashing), 5:55; Irwin, SJ (tripping), 7:47; Pavelski, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 11:31; Hemsky, EDM (interference), 17:30.
Goaltending
Shots Saves
SJ - Niemi 29 26
EDM - Dubnyk 17 11
EDM - Danis 14 14
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 17 9 5 31
EDM 7 17 5 29
Power Play Conversion
SJ 3 of 5
EDM 2 of 5
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Logan Couture
Justin Schultz
Attendence
16,839
Officials
Referees: Dwyer, Walkom. Linesmen: Cvik, Kovachik.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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