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Karlsson's OT Winner gives Sharks 1-0 WCQF lead
Sharks storm back from 2-0 deficit to win on the road
4/12/17 - By Mike Lee -

With the way the Sharks have played the last 6 weeks and Joe Thornton not being able to make the call for Game 1 of the Sharks Western Conference Quarter Final matchup with the Edmonton Oilers, it was easy to believe the Sharks had a tough hill to climb on Wednesday night in Alberta. When they fell behind 2-0 in the 1st period, it seemed as if that hill turned into Mt Everest. The task became almost insurmountable as Rogers Arena crowd laid into the Sharks after the host Oilers scored a pair of opening period goals.

The one major advantage the Sharks have over the Oilers is experience, and they used that advantage with reckless abandon, storming back from that 2-goal deficit with three straight goals, including a Melker Karlsson goal 3:22 into overtime to help the Sharks take the opening foray in the series.

With the odds stacked against them, San Jose settled down after that horrendous start and chipped away at Edmonton with 43 minutes of commanding play to close out the game.

It was an improbable finish to a game that started off as a reminder of how poorly the Sharks played to close out the regular season. The playoffs are a new season altogether and the Sharks used it to re-start their play.

If San Jose wants to move on to the next round, they may want to get off to better starts than Wednesday night's affair. Oscar Klefbom staked the Oilers to an early 1-0 lead by putting a routine shot past Martin Jones with a shot from the left side. Klefbom received a Jordan Eberle feed from the right wing, carrying the puck two strides up ice before whipping a wrist shot that looked like something Jones stops 99 times out of 100. This was that 100th chance, as it slipped through his pads after Paul Martin tried to get a stick in front of Klefbom's shot.

Mikkel Boedker setup the first of three Edmonton power play chances with an interference infraction with 3:31 remaining in the opening frame. The Oilers cashed in when Milan Lucic snapped a rebound chance past Jones from the low slot. Mark Letestu and Connor McDavid tried to push shots past Jones, but the Sharks goaltender made the saves. Jones couldn't make a third after Lucic gobbled up a rebound off Letestu's stick and used defenseman Justin Braun to screen his shot past Jones.

A Drake Caggiula hooking penalty late in the period almost netted the Sharks a goal, but Cam Talbot was up to the task. The two teams traded 10 shots apiece in the opening frame, but Edmonton carried the big 2-0 lead into the 1st intermission.

That penalty would eventually cost Edmonton when Joel Ward deposited the puck past Talbot for the Sharks 1st goal of the playoffs. Ward was the benefactor of a fantastic setup by Joonas Donski, who received a winding feed behind the Oilers net, then took a stride out to the right side of the post before slipping a blind backhand pass over to the off post where Ward was lurking. Donskoi timed the pass perfectly as Darnell Nurse slid over to the right side to take away that side of the net from the Sharks forward.

San Jose simply outplayed the Oilers from that point forward. The Sharks outshot Edmonton 10-4 in that middle period and had several quality scoring chances, but Talbot kept his club's slim lead intact.

He would not be able to defend the Sharks onslaught in the 3rd period, which saw the Sharks outshoot Edmonton 18-3. Tomas Hertl looked like a man possessed at 5:22 of the period, collecting a puck behind the net before making a move to the crease and jamming a shot on Talbot. Hertl's shot was denied, but the puck kicked over to the right post where defenseman Paul Martin read the play and pinched in as Hertl was drawing all the attention on the opposite side of the crease. Martin tapped home the rebound to tie the game at 2-2.

Talbot saved his team from losing in regulation as he held the tie even though the remainder of the game essentially took place in the Oilers zone.

Brent Burns looked as if he had Talbot dead to rights after waiting him out on a play that saw the Sharks defenseman hold the puck as he tapped danced across the slot from right to left. Burns tried to put a shot on net, but Talbot made an incredible toe save to keep the game knotted.

Rather than drag things out, the Sharks kept up the pressure into the overtime period, outshooting the Oilers 6-2 in the brief extra stanza.

Karlsson ended things in dramatic fashion with a shot from the left side on a partial breakaway after captain Joe Pavelski sprung with a quick pass off the right wing boards as be crossed the red line. Karlsson gathered Pavelski's feed and took two strides before picking his spot on the far post for the game winner.

The Sharks mobbed Karlsson on the ice as Talbot made a bee-line for the dressing room as soon as he realized he had missed the save.

Game Notes:

* The game winning goal was Melker Karlsson's 6th career playoff goal.

* Joe Thornton made the trip to Edmonton, but he was a game time decision to miss the game. Thornton had told reporters last week that there was "no doubt" that he would play in Game 1. That claim appears to be some good old fashioned playoff misinformation.

* Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl combined for 18 faceoff wins in 25 draws. Hertl was particularly good, winning 11 of 15 chances.

* Logan Couture played in the game, his first game action since having several teeth knocked out when he took a puck to the face, and wore a protective cage to protect the injured portion of his face.

* Brent Burns and hurtled combined for 15 of the Sharks 44 shots on goal.


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1 2 3 OT T
SJ 0 1 1 1 3
EDM 2 0 0 0 2
1st period - 1, EDM, Klefbaum 1 (Ebele, Lucic), 6:44. 2, EDM, Lucic 1 (Letestu, McDavid), 17:07, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Ward 1 (Donsoki, Vlasic), 1:43, (pp).
3rd period - 4, SJ, Martin 1 (Hertl), 5:22.
Overtime - 5, SJ, Karlsson 1 (Pavelski, Vlasic), 3:22
1st period - Eberle, EDM (tripping), 9:18; Kassian, EDN (high sticking), 13:24; Boedker, SJ (interference), 16:29; Caggiula, EDM (hooking, 19:45.
2nd period - Burns, SJ (tripping), 5:22; Karlsson, SJ (slashing), 7:51; Gryba, EDM (elbowing), 12:32; Caggiula, EDM (high sticking), 19:02.
3rd period - Vlasic, SJ (roughing), 4:51; Maroon, EDM (roughing), 4:51; Lucic, EMD (slashing), 11:13
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 19 17
EDM - Talbot 44 41
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
SJ 10 10 18 6 44
EDM 10 4 3 2 19
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 6
EDM 1 of 3
3 Stars of the Game
Melker Karlsson
Cam Talbot
Brent Burns
Rogers Place - 18,347
Referees: Furlatt, Peel. Linesmen: Heyer, Gibbons.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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