Patrick Marleau continued his good start to the season scoring 2 more goals with a couple of those off beautiful setups from Joe Thornton. Logan Couture also scored a couple of goals in the Sharks’ first period onslaught. A lineup change today also occurred as James Sheppard got his first start in teal. He replaced Frazer Mclaren in the lineup.
When I had talked about San Jose getting off to a better start than they did against Calgary on Sunday night I definitely did not imagine they would come out this strong. So strong that at one point they had 6 goals while the Oilers only had 4 total shots, albeit one of those was a goal. That goal was scored by number 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov on the power play with the first of his career. San Jose’s goals came from all over the ice including two each from Marleau and Couture, and one apiece for Boyle and Vlasic.
San Jose capitalized on their power play opportunities early as Dan Boyle scored his second goal in as many games when the Sharks were given a 5 on 3 opportunity just a few minutes into the game. Then, on the ensuing 5 on 4 they scored again jumping out to the 2-0 early lead. From then until the end of the period it was all San Jose.
The tide of battle turned a little bit in the second period with Edmonton finally able to slow the Sharks down and get a goal back of their own. They had their own 5 on 3 power play after a boarding penalty by Boyle. Another rookie got his first career goal against the Sharks (who are pretty notorious in this statistical category) in defenseman Justin Schultz off of a shot from the point. Other than that Edmonton dominated play for the most part but the Sharks were able to still hold the Oilers at bay.
The Oilers struck again in the third period as another young star in Taylor Hall scored to cut the San Jose lead to 6-3. A penalty for delay of game against Joe Pavelski marked a key point in the Edmonton comeback at about eight and a half minutes left to play in the period. The Sharks ended up getting the crucial kill with the penalty looking the best it had all game. Edmonton kept buzzing around the net generating a few more scoring chances but in the end Niemi stayed strong and the Sharks came away with the win.
In the end the great first period carried the Sharks through the rest of the game. Obviously the top two lines were great tonight, but the 3rd and 4th lines were also working really well together and at times working the cycle well in the offensive zone.
The one sore spot through the game was the penalty kill but it did come up big at the end of the game to shut the door on the Oilers comeback. There were positives (Brad Stuart looked impressive) and negatives (Marleau was still too passive) when a man down and more work will need to be done, but I’m sure they will get back to top form soon.
My 3 Stars of the Game
1. Patrick Marleau (2 goals, 1 assist)
2. Logan Couture (2 goals, 1 assist)
3. Joe Thornton (3 assists)