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Sharks not so inviting in McLellan's return
San Jose takes 2-1 shootout win
1/14/16 - By Mike Lee -

Former Sharks head coach Todd McLellan made his return to San Jose on Thursday night. It's been eight months since McLellan and the Sharks parted, but it was the former San Jose bench boss' first chance to face Bay Area fans. Playing at SAP Center with his roster full of baby-faced Oilers, McLellan just missed on a chance to go 2-0 against his former team. The Sharks had to stretch things to the shootout in order to avenge an overtime loss to the Oilers earrlier this season. Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi buried shots in the shootout to escape with a 2-1 win.

The Oilers haven't exactly torn it up this season, but the rag-tag group of young players seemed to rise to the occasion on their coach's behalf. After staking the Sharks to an early 1-0 lead, Edmonton seemed to control the game.

A scoreless 3rd period was a blessing for San Jose, who seemed to surrender the majority of quality scoring chances. The overtime did not favor the Sharks, who aren't blessed with much team speed. Edmonton's fresh legs had an advantage, but it was goaltender Martin Jones who kept things close enough to steal two points.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic put the Sharks on the board 11:29 into the contest with a 40-foot shot that caught the crossbar for the defenseman's 5th goal of the season. Joe Thornton started the scoring sequence by skating the puck off his own end boards and lifting a long pass to Melker Karlsson up the right wing. Karlsson dished the puck to Vlasic on his left as the two skated up ice on a 2-on-1. Vlasic elected to shoot the puck, rather than try to force a pass back to Karlsson, floating it over Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot's right shoulder.

San Jose seemed to have things under control, outshooting the Oilers by a significant margin in the 2nd period, but Nail Yakuppov had other ideas.

Skating in his first game after missing 22 contests with an ankle injury, Yakupov deposited a Lauri Korpikoski pass off an Oilers 2-on-1 rush. Vlasic just missed on another chance from the slot, but his shot sailed wide left. Justin Schultz cleared the puck off the corner glass, banking it down the ice to Korpikoski who had only Justin Braun to deal with. Braun failed to commit to either skater, and when he lifted his stick off the ice, Korpikoski feathered a pass under it to Yakuof on the left side for the easy deposit.

The Sharks whiffed on four power play opportunities, including a delay of game penalty to Zack Kassian with 3:25 left in regulation. After vaulting over a series of teams in the power play rankings in December, the Sharks have suddenly gone cold with the man advantage. The Kassian penalty setup what was a golden opportunity to take the two points without allowing the Oilers to leave town with any points in the standings.

That's relevant, given that the Oilers sit only 7 points behind San Jose.

After a hair-raising overtime period that saw both teams trade 4 shots in the extra frame, the Sharks didn't let the Oilers hang around. Pavelski led off the shootout with a goal that beat Talbot, staking San Jose with the early lead. Martin Jones stopped Eberle, setting up Donskoi's goal on the other end.

Jones shut the door on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to wrap things up.

Talbot finished the evening with 36 saves, while Jones made 24 stops.


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1 2 3 OT SO T
EDM 0 1 0 0 0 1
SJ 1 0 0 0 1 2
1st period - 1, SJ, Vlasic 5 (Karlsson, Thornton), 11:29.
2nd period - 2, EDM, Yakupov 3 (Korpikoski, Schultz), 8:02.
3rd period - None.
Overtime - None.
Shootout - SJ: Pavelski (goal), Donskoi (goal). EDM: Eberle (miss), Nugent-Hopkins (miss).
1st period - DeMelo, SJ (tripping), 2:36; Gryba, EDM (holding), 9:01.
2nd period - Gryba, EDM (interference), 2:26; Nugent-Hopkins, EDM (holding), 19:37.
3rd period - Kassian, EDM (delay of game - puck over glass), 16:35.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
EDM - Talbot 37 36
SJ - Jones 25 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
EDM 6 7 8 4 25
SJ 7 15 11 4 37
Power Play Conversion
EDM 0 of 1
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Martin Jones
Nail Yakupov
Logan Couture
Referees: L'Ecuyer, McCauley. Linesmen: Mach, Knorr.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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