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Injuries stack up in win
Defensive corps takes a hit in 4-3 victory over Oilers
11/27/10 - By Mike Lee -

Already skating without three regulars, the Sharks lost a couple more players to the injury bug on Saturday night and played a wild game in Edmonton, holding on to take a 4-3 decision over the host Oilers. The win may have come at a cost, as San Jose lost two defensemen to injury and were forced to play with only four blueliners for more than half the contest.

With Jason Demers officially being added to the injured reserve list and Devin Setoguchi and Scott Nichol on the shelf, the Sharks were forced to call up forwards Benn Ferriero and Tommy Wingels. Ferriero would come up big for the Sharks and defenseman Justin Braun had a huge contest for the visitors.

San Jose got off to a quick start, scoring just 70 seconds into the contest. Benn Ferriero, one of the farmhands called up from Worcester scored his 1st goal of the season on a put back in front of Oilers goaltender Devan Dubnyk. Braun, recorded his first NHL point with an assist on the play by firing the shot that bounced off Dubnyk and deflected to Ferriero.

Braun would partake in the next goal, albeit to the advantage of the Oilers. The rookie would over-skate his defensive assignment, allowing Sam Gagne to chip home a power play goal past Antero Niittymaki at 3:55 of the opening period, after Douglas Murray was sent off for tripping.

The Sharks defensive quandary would get worse when Niklas Wallin was injured less than two minutes later after missing a check on Andrew Cogliano in along the corner boards. Cogliano appeared to land on Wallin’s left leg, twisting his knee in an awkward position. The veteran defenseman would lay on the ice for several minutes until he was helped off by the Sharks training staff.

Nittymaki would make a nice save on Shawn Horcoff in tight midway through the period to keep the game tied.

The blueline injuries stacked up even further with a minute remaining in the period when Kent Huskins was checked into the side boards. He appeared to slam his head against the glass as he was hit from the side. He was able to skate off after laying on the ice, but only skated a single shift to start the 2nd period before heading to the dressing room for the rest of the evening.

San Jose would play the rest of the game with four defenseman, all of whom logged big minutes. Braun logged 22 minutes of ice time in only his second NHL game. Dan Boyle skated for 30:31 to lead all skaters.

A boarding penalty to Taylor Hall setup a San Jose goal early in the middle period. Dany Heatley fired a one-timer from the inside of the left circle after Joe Thornton fed him the puck from the left corner. Heatley converted for his 10th of the season, then was showered with a round of boos from the Rexall Place crowd that still is bitter with the sniper for nixing a trade to Edmonton in the summer of 2009.

San Jose would kill a penalty late in the period, then strike again when Heatley converted his second of the game. The sniper would take a less glamorous route, banking a centering pass off Dubnyk’s skate from behind the Oilers net at 17:04. Braun got the primary assist by putting a shot on goal that deflected to Heatley from the right point.

Joe Pavelski tacked on a fourth San Jose goal at 9:02 of the 3rd period, which setup a nice cushion for the Sharks. The Sharks centerman jumped onto the ice in the middle of the top line’s shift, than made a bee-line for the Oilers net before taking a pass from Patrick Marleau and snapping a shot past Dubnyk.

The three-goal lead would soon evaporate. Horcoff would make it a 4-2 game at 12:39 on a rebound off Niittymaki. Jordan Eberle put a shot on goal from the right dot that Niittymaki stopped, but a juicy reboun kicked out to the Oilers captain on the left side for the shot into the wide open net.

Jim Vendermeer would add another goal 57 seconds later with a shot from the point that slipped through traffic to cut the lead to a single goal. I was the first goal for Vandermeer in almost a year.

With the depleted defensive corps, things looked precarious for San Jose. Given their history of giving up 3rd period leads over the last two weeks, it looked as if another catastrophic collapse was about to strike.

Niittymaki went to work by stopping a flurry of shots and weathering a barrage by the Oilers during the last two minutes of play. Magnus Paajarvi had a point blank shot just miss from the left post. Dubnyk would head to the bench with a minute to play and the intensity would hit a crescendo with a hail of pucks and bodies in front of the Sharks net.

The depleted defense would hold on to preserve the lead, giving San Jose their first road win in over a month.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 2 1 4
EDM 1 0 2 3
1st period - 1, SJ, Ferriero 1 (Couture, Braun), 1:10. 2, EDM, Gagne 6 (Penner), 3:55, (pp).
2nd period - 3, SJ, Heatley 10 (Thornton, Boyle), 2:06, (pp). 4, SJ, Heatley 11 (Braun, Thornton), 17:04.
3rd period - 5, SJ, Pavelski 8 (Marleau, Heatley), 9:02. 6, EDM, Horcoff 7 (Eberle, Whitney), 12:39. 7, EDM, Vandermeer 1 (Gagner), 13:36.
1st period - McCarthy, EDM (roughing), 2:43; Fraser, EDM (roughing), 2:43; Murray, SJ (tripping), 3:27.
2nd period - Hall, EDM (boarding), 0:42; Jones, EDM (high sticking), 3:31; Bench, SJ (too many men), 14:08.
3rd period - Foster, EDM (hooking), 9:32.
Shots Saves
SJ Niittymaki 25 22
EDM - Dubnyk 25 21
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 5 14 6 25
EDM 9 3 13 25
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
EDM 1 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Dany Heatley
Sam Gagner
Justin Braun
Referees: Lee, McCreary. Linesmen: Cameron, Rody.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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