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Shuffling the deck lights a fire
Rough stuff from Oilers helps wake up offense
2/17/09 - By Mike Lee

With a rash of injuries and illness hitting the Sharks roster, head coach Todd McLellan was forced to shuffle his lines on Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers. The lineup musical chairs resulted in some new life from players not normally seen on the score sheet and a 4-2 win at HP Pavilion. Patrick Marleau scored a pair of goals, including a short-handed tally that put the Sharks in front.

The Sharks finally broke the habit of allowing the opposition to score the first goal, but they allowed the Oilers to end the period with the lead. Edmonton would turn to a physical game plan in an attempt to get the Sharks off their game, but San Jose responded with a little life.

"It was an emotional second period it was very good for us to go through it," said McLellan. "The first period I think you could tell we were coming back from a long trip we were a little sluggish, they had played three games in four nights it wasn't a real polished period. I'm not sure either team had a lot of emotion tied to the game, but once that entered it became a pretty competitive night."

Joe Pavelski opened the scoring with his 17th goal of the season off a Milan Michalek feed in the slot. Michalek intercepted an Oiler clearing attempt along the left wing boards, creating the scoring chance after the Sharks opened the game with a bit of energy that was absent on the tail end of their recent road trip.

"We haven't got the first goal lately and that has been a topic for us," said Pavelski. "We go do that and go get a couple of quick ones."

Their early success was quickly erased when Oilers tough guy Zach Stortini punched home his 4th goal of the season at 12:18. Kyle Brodziak forced the issue by crashing the net with the puck, but Evgeni Nabokov denied the Oilers centerman, but Stortini stabbed at the rebound, slipping it into the Sharks goal.

Nabokov fell victim to a bad break after Dan Boyle was sent off for tripping late in the period. As the Sharks goaltender tried tracking a dump in that wound around the end boards, the puck kicked out into the slot to Eric Cole for the easy empty-net deposit.

Marleau would even things up 1:48 into the 2nd period with his 31st of the season. The Sharks captain chipped a Jonathan Cheechoo pass behind Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray, before snapping a shot past Dwayne Roloson.

A penalty fest would ensue, putting the Sharks down by two men two minutes later. Moments after a tripping penalty to Marleau expired, the Sharks captain found himself racing up the ice with Mike Grier after a turnover in the Sharks zone. Grier drew Roloson over to the right post, before slipping a perfect pass to Marleau on the off wing for the short-handed goal.

"We kept our cool and that was a good sign for us," said Thornton.

The Oilers were a bit agitated by the Sharks good fortune, so they turned to a more physical approach to the game, which included more contact even after whistles had blown. That resulted in a brief 5-on-3 for the Sharks, but San Jose failed to capitalize.

Things got chippy, starting with a scrap between Theo Pekham and Claude Lemieux. Ethan Moreau and Brad Staubitz would drop the gloves later in the period, but both earned roughing double minors. Stortini and Alexei Semenov would mix it up on the next drop of the puck

The Oilers plan to focus the Sharks attention on the rough stuff fizzled with 54 seconds remaining in the period when Joe Thornton scored his 14th goal of the season. Lukas Kaspar put a knuckle ball on net after his stick broke, crossing up Roloson. The netminder was forced to make the save with his right leg pad, but he gave up a huge rebound to Thornton in near the left dot for the put back.

"The swing with them having the lead, then us getting the lead, everbody's emotions started to get up," said Marleau. "A couple of bumps here and there after the whistle and some guys took exception to that. That draws a crowd."

Things calmed down in the 3rd period, allowing the Oilers to focus on scoring rather than trying to muscle up on the Sharks. Horcoff had a shot ring off the left post, then Ales Hemsky had a point blank shot turned aside by Nabokov with 7 minutes to play.

A Joe Pavelski holding penalty with just under 5 minutes in regulation gave the Oilers an opening, but the Sharks penalty killers applied a hefty forecheck that kept the puck pinned in the Oilers zone for most of the penalty.

Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish pulled Roloson with 1:40 to play, then Semenov hoisted the puck out of play for a delay of game penalty to give Edmonton a 2 man advantage. The Semenov penalty allowed the Sharks to clear the puck without drawing the icing, and they took full advantage, sending the puck down ice three times to kill the clock.

"The battle was good," said MacTavish. "The guys battled hard and stood up for one another and you know it was impressive in a lot of ways. I think that's what we are going to take out of the game. You know on back to back nights we didn't lay down that's for sure and that was a real positive side of the game."

Game Notes:

Marleau’s goal was his 600th career point. Lemieux’s scrap with Peckham earned him his first penalty as a Shark after 10 games on the roster. When it was pointed out to the 43-year old veteran that Pekham is only 21, Lemieux cracked that, "that's not much to put on his resume, beating up an old man."


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1 2 3 T
EDM 2 0 0 2
SJ 1 3 0 4
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 17 (Michalek), 10:08. 2, EDM, Stortini 4 (Brodziak, Gilbert), 12:18. 3, EDM, Cole 13 (Souray, Gilbert), 19:08, (pp).
2nd period - 4, SJ, Marleau 31 (Cheechoo, Murray), 1:48. 5, SJ, Marleau 32 (Grier), 5:43, (sh). 6, SJ, Thornton 14 (Kaspar), 19:06.
3rd period - None.
1st period - Boyle, SJ (tripping), 18:12; Cheechoo, SJ (hooking), 19:29.
2nd period - Pouliot, EDM (tripping), 2:25; Marleau, SJ (tripping), 3:30; Vlasic, SJ (tripping), 3:51; Strudwick, EDM (roughing), 7:10; Peckham, EDM (fighting major), 7:10; Semenov, SJ (roughing), 7:10; Lemieux, SJ (fighting major), 7:10; Lemieux, SJ (10 min misconduct), 7:10; Staios, EDM (roughing), 10:45; Moreau, EDM (cross checking), 11:01; Clowe, SJ (roughing), 11:01; Horcoff, EDM (high sticking), 11:27; Moreau, EDM (roughing), 16:42; Moreau, EDM (roughing), 16:42; Staubitz, SJ (roughing), 16:42; Staubitz, SJ (roughing), 16:42; Stortini, EDM (fighting major), 16:47; Semenov, SJ (fighting major), 16:47.
3rd period - Horcoff, EDM (high sticking) 9:57; Pavelski, SJ (holding), 15:11; Semenov, SJ (delay of game – puck over glass), 18:44.
Shots Saves
EDM - Roloson 31 27
SJ - Nabokov 26 24
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
EDM 6 7 13 26
SJ 8 17 6 31
Power Play Conversion
EDM 1 of 8
SJ 0 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Patrick Marleau
Mike Grier
Joe Pavelski
Referees: Watson, Auger. Linesmen: Cameron, Galloway.

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