|San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan watches the game against the Edmonton Oilers during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 6, 2012, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)|
Oilers beat Sharks 3-2 in shootout
SAN JOSE, Calif.—Sam Gagner scored the only goal in the shootout to help the Edmonton Oilers snap a three-game losing streak by beating San Jose 3-2 on Tuesday night in Sharks coach Todd McLellan's first game back from a concussion.
Jordan Eberle and Ryan Smyth scored in regulation for the Oilers. Devan Dubnyk made 28 saves and stopped all three San Jose attempts in the shootout as the Oilers dealt another blow to the Sharks playoff hopes.
Jim Vandermeer and Ryane Clowe scored in regulation for the Sharks, who have lost nine of 11 to drop from of first place in the Pacific Division to a three-way tie for eighth place in the Western Confernece. Antti Niemi made 26 saves, but couldn't stop Gagner's forehand shot in the second round of the shootout.
The Sharks came into the game mired in a slump and desperate for points in the tight Western Conference race. They began the day in eighth place and could have been as high as third or as low as 10th with a loss to an Edmonton team that was one of just three in the NHL that is more than 10 points out of a playoff spot.
But the Oilers still gave the Sharks plenty of trouble even though they lost their third straight game the previous night in Anaheim. They nearly took the lead early in the third, but Niemi made a sprawling save to rob Shawn Horcoff.
That play led to the first penalty of the game when Justin Braun shot the puck over the glass for a delay of game, but Edmonton's top-rated power-play unit couldn't convert on a chance that was abbreviated when Horcoff was called for tripping.
The Sharks then got a 42-second two-man advantage when Ryan Jones was sent off for high-sticking but were unable to generate any good scoring chances against Dubnyk.
Dubnyk got help when Joe Pavelski's deflection hit the post and then made a tough pad save to stop Patrick Marleau with less than 4 minutes to play.
The teams traded goals in a span of less than a minute late in the second period to head into the third tied at 2. Clowe, who had just one goal in his previous 15 contests, gave the Sharks the brief lead when Dubnyk misplayed a dump-in off the end boards and Logan Couture fed Clowe for the tap-in goal.
Just 54 seconds later, Jeff Petry's blast from the point deflected off Smyth and went past Niemi to tie the game at 2.
The Sharks got a boost when McLellan returned to the bench after missing the previous three games with concussion symptoms after being hit in the head by a stick in Minnesota on Feb. 26. San Jose lost two of three at home without McLellan, scoring just two goals in the three games.
That lasted all of 10 seconds as the Oilers took advantage of a misplay by Dan Boyle to score the fastest goal ever by the Sharks. Boyle could not control Ryan Whitney's dump-in in front of the net and an opportunistic Eberle batted the puck out of mid-air past Niemi for the goal just 10 seconds into the game.
The Sharks tied it about 3 minutes later after a miscue by Edmonton. Boyle intercepted a poor clearing attempt by Gagner and fed Vandermeer, who beat Dubnyk with a slap shot from the top of the circle for his first goal in more than a year. Vandermeer last scored when playing for Edmonton on March 1, 2011, against Nashville.
Even though the Sharks controlled the play for much of the first the Oilers had a golden chance to take the lead in the final minute, but Gagner shot wide all alone at the side of the net in the final minute of the period.
NOTES: The previous fastest goal against the Sharks came when Vancouver's Martin Gelinas scored 16 seconds into a game on Nov. 25, 1995. ... The fastest goal ever by an Oilers player came When Wayne Gretzky scored 8 seconds into a game against the Rangers on Dec. 14, 1983. ... Pavelski missed most of the first period after being hit in the face by a puck and crashing into the end boards.