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Sharks can't exorcize playoffs demons
SJ drops 5-3 decision in Edmonton
12/18/17 - By Mike Lee -

The Sharks were exposed as a tired and slow team last spring during their abridged playoff run by the Edmonton Oilers. With a chance to avenge their playoff elimination, especially against a struggling Oilers team, the Sharks looked like that slow and old team on Monday night at Rogers Place in Edmonton. San Jose grabbed an early lead then let the Oilers take control. San Jose used some of that veteran savvy to keep it close, but in the end, the Sharks didn't have enough to keep pace in a 5-3 loss.

An imbalance in drive was evident from top to bottom. That started with goaltender Martin Jones, who jut couldn't come up with the big story necessary to keep his team in the game. The veterans and youngsters alike just weren't good enough.

With leading scorer Logan Couture out of the lineup, San Jose needed someone to step up, but it wouldn't happen.

Joe Pavelski got back on to the score sheet by putting his 7th goal of the season past Cam Talbot while Nathan Walker sat in the penalty box for hauling down Dylan DeMelo. Pavelski was lurking in the slot when a Kevin Labanc chance deflected off the Oilers netminder. San Jose's captain was in the right place at the right time, punching home the deflection from 8 feet out for the 1-0 lead.

Tomas Hertl was sent off at 12:40 after the Oilers persisted to moan about a puck over glass penalty. The penalty call was odd because it came from the lineseman, even though referee Tim Peel called a deflection initially. Mark Letestu converted right at the penalty was expiring by pumping a one-time chance from the left dot off a Leon Draisaitl feed.

The Sharks fell asleep late in the period, allowing the Oilers to move the puck at will in their zone, culminating with a Ryan Strome goal at 18:51. Jujhar Khaira drew the entire Sharks defense over to the right side of the zone with a pass to Draisaitl, who spotted Frome sitting all by his lonesome outside the left post. For whatever reason, defenseman Brent Burns floated over to the right side where his partner Brendan Dillon was already pursuing the puck. That mistake setup Frome for a tap in goal and the Oilers first lead of the night.

Drake Caggiula made it a 3-1 game 6:36 into the second period after the Sharks after San Jose was caught defensively. Caggiula gathered a feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins after he slipped past Pavelski, depositing his 5th goal of the season.

San Jose answered just under 2 minutes later when a Tomas Hertl shot clipped Timo Meier on the way to the Oilers net. Meier was trying to skate to the front of the net and ended up screening Talbot. Hertl uncorked his shot from Meier's shadow, which made it even harder for Talbot to pick up. The puck appeared to graze Meier's leg, before slipping past Talbot.

The Sharks had to come out firing in the 3rd period, but they were more flat that firepower. Patrick Maroon pumped a shot past Jones 8:23 into the final frame for his 9th goal of the season. The Oilers forward carried a Nugent-Hopkins feed up the left wing and unloaded from 18 feet out, as Jones could only flail at the shot.

Marcus Sorensen once again cut the Oilers lead to a single goal after taking a Justin Braun feed as he skated up the slot, before side stepping Talbot with a move to his right for the easy deposit. The goal was the 2nd of the season for the Sharks rookie.

The deficit forced San Jose to pull Jones late in the game, which netted nothing in terms of quality scoring chances, and iced the game when Frome bagged an empty-net goal late.

Game Notes:

* Justin Braun was the only Shark to finish with a positive plus/minus. The defenseman Had an assist on Marcus Sorensen's goal. Joe Thornton, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Chris Tierney, and Dylan Demelo all finshed -2.

* Mikkel Boedker seems to be working himself into the doghouse. The forward was demoted off the 2nd line where he started the game, and finished on the 4th line. He saw limited ice time in the 3rd period.

* San Jose failed to generate double digit shot numbers in any of the three periods during the game. More importantly, Edmonton kept the Sharks away from Talbot most of the night. San Jose have few shot attempts inside the dots.


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1 2 3 T
SJ 1 1 1 3
EDM 2 1 2 5
1st period - 1, SJ, Pavelski 7 (Labanc, Burns), 6:15, (pp). 2, EDM, Letestu 8 (Draisaitl, Klefbom), 14:42. 3, EDM, Strome 5 (Draisaitl, Khaira), 18:51.
2nd period - 4, EDM, Nugent-Hopkins 14 (Caggiula, Maroon), 6:36. 5, SJ, Meier 5 (Hertl, Labanc), 8:32.
3rd period - 6, EDM, Maroon 9 (Nugent-Hopkins), 8:23. 7, SJ, Sorensen 2 (Braun), 11:58. 8, EDM, Strome 6 (Benning), 19:52, (en).
1st period - Labanc, SJ (high sticking), 2:43; Walker, EDM (holding), 5:24; Hertl, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 12:40.
2nd period - Russell, EDM (holding), 12:37; Pavelski, SJ (tripping), 13:15; Strome, EDM (tripping), 14:46.
3rd period - None.
Shots Saves
SJ - Jones 28 24
SJ - empty net 1 0
EDM - Talbot 21 18
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 T
SJ 6 7 8 21
EDM 8 10 11 29
Power Play Conversion
SJ 1 of 3
EDM 0 of 2
3 Stars of the Game
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Ryan Strome
Brent Burns
Rogers Place - 18,347
Referees: Voss, Peel. Linesmen: Heyer, Bisebois.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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