Friday, April 18, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Sharks beat Oilers 3-2 in shootout to open 7-0

Anton Lander, James Sheppard

Edmonton Oilers forward Anton Lander (57), of Sweden, skates toward the puck in front of San Jose Sharks center James Sheppard (15) during the first period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

SAN JOSE — Michal Handzus and Dan Boyle scored in the shootout to help the San Jose Sharks extend the best start in franchise history with their seventh straight win, 3-2 over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored unassisted goals off turnovers 39 seconds apart in the second period against Devan Dubnyk to break open a scoreless game. Antti Niemi made 26 saves as the Sharks remained the only unbeaten team in the NHL.

San Gagner scored in the second period and Taylor Hall tied it in the opening minute of the third for the Oilers, who had won two straight including a 2-1 overtime victory the previous night in Phoenix. Dubnyk made 36 saves, including seven in an overtime that included a San Jose power play.

Handzus, who scored the only shootout goal against Anaheim on Tuesday, got San Jose started when he beat Dubnyk with a forehand in the opening round. After Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins missed for Edmonton, Boyle won it with his goal in the third round.

Hall got the equalizer at the end of a pretty give-and-go with Jordan Eberle 51 seconds into the third. The Sharks thought they regained the lead later in the period but Ryane Clowe was called for interference before taking a long pass from Couture and beating Dubnyk.

That’s where the game stood until the shootout.

The Sharks took advantage of two turnovers to get their two quick strikes midway through the second. Scott Gomez pressured Ryan Whitney near the blue line before his linemate, Couture, stole the puck. Couture skated in and beat Dubnyk with a wrist shot before showing that he has Super Bowl fever.

Couture, a Buffalo Bills fan, skated toward the boards, flexed his arm and kissed his biceps — what is known as Kaepernicking — in tribute to San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Less than a minute later, Pavelski took the puck from Ladislav Smid and beat Dubnyk with his own wrister, giving him a goal in his third straight game and point in all seven this season.

Gagner cut the lead in half less than 3 minutes later when he tipped Mark Fistric’s point shot past Niemi, but the Oilers missed a chance to tie the game on a late power play in the second.

The Oilers, who came into the game trailing only San Jose in power-play efficiency, went 0 for 3 with the extra man as the Sharks have killed 16 straight penalties over the past four games. Improving a penalty-kill unit that struggled last season, especially in a playoff loss to St. Louis, has been the top priority this season in San Jose

After scoring six goals in the first period at Edmonton last week, the Sharks managed just seven shots on goal in a scoreless opening period in the rematch. It marked the first time they failed to score in the first period since the season opener at Calgary.

NOTES: The Sharks have scored first in six of seven games this season. … Edmonton captain Shawn Horcoff was scratched with a strained neck after being hit late in Wednesday’s game by Shane Doan. Anton Lander was called up from Oklahoma City of the AHL. … San Jose D Jason Demers was added to the active roster after being injured in Europe during the lockout, but did not play.

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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