The San Jose Sharks defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 after a shootout win. They are now the last undefeated team and are 7-0-0 with a total of 14 points so far for the season. The Oilers pick up a point in the loss and fall to 4-2-1.
As expected, this game was much closer than the first matchup of the season which had Edmonton trying to dig out of an early 6-0 hole. The game this evening went down to the wire with both teams trading chances but both goalies standing tall and coming up big.
Antti Niemi stopped 26 of 28 shots faced while picking up the win. He improved to 6-0, including 2 shootout wins where he did not allow any goals, and a 1.97 goals against average.
Niemi’s conterpart Devan Dubnyk stopped 36 of 38 Sharks shots in the losing effort with his record falling to 4-2 and posting a 2.75 goals against average.
In a matchup that featured the top 2 power plays in the league it was the penalty kill units that had the last laugh. San Jose’s top ranked power play went 0/5 including a golden opportunity in overtime but could not capitalize. Martin Havlat, who was moved to the third line, had a great period creating a couple of great chances. One of those chances was a short-handed breakaway that was stopped by Dubnyk. Taking his place on the second line was Scott Gomez who also looked pretty good with his new linemates.
Logan Couture broke the 0-0 tie in the second period at the 7:32 mark after a great forecheck by Gomez forced a turnover inside the Oilers’ blue line. Couture jumped on the puck and wasted no time putting the puck in the back of the net and giving San Jose the 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute later Joe Pavelski also made a great play while he was forechecking by blocking a pass and then getting the takeway. He immediately puck the puck on net and got the goal giving the Sharks a quick 2-0 lead.
A couple minutes after that, at 10:56 of the second period, Sam Gagner cut the Sharks’ lead in half when he scored off of a deflection from a Mark Fistric shot from the point bringing the score to 2-1.
The third period started off with a bang as Taylor Hall scored the game-tying goal for Edmonton when he got a nice feed from Jordan Eberle on a 2-on-1 break. From that point on both teams traded chances but neither could break the time. Ryane Clowe did score, but before he put the puck in the net was called for a penalty and in effect nullifying his goal.
Overtime was as exciting as always, but neither team could break through. The Sharks were given a 4-on-3 power play that had chance after chance but Dubnyk and the Oilers defense stood tall and weathered the storm. The game ended up going into a shootout which was the second straight game that it happened for both San Jose and Edmonton.
My 3 Stars of the Game
1. Antti Niemi (26 saves)
2. Devan Dubnyk (36 saves)
3. Michal Handzus (won 64% of face-offs, 2nd shootout goal in as many games)