The Drill of Victory- Joe Pavelski and the Sharks Power Play had one of their more productive nights Tuesday in Edmonton. Pavelski netted three goals for a hat trick while the Sharks power play converted all three of their opportunities in Team Teal’s 5-2 rout of the Oilers. The win came in the same place where back on January 29th the Sharks could not buy a goal thanks to the performance of a lifetime by Oilers Goalie Ben Scrivens. This time however there would be no record 59-save shut out for Scrivens or the Oilers. The Sharks finally broke through on Scrivens in the second period, ending a personal streak of 79 straight saves against Team Teal. It seemed that once the Sharks finally broke through with the first goal, the flood gates started to open up in the Sharks favor. After turning away their first 20 shots on goal, Scrivens would yield five goals over the next 13 shots on goal from Team Teal as the Sharks were finally able to drill the back of the Edmonton net. The victory also allowed the Sharks to pick up an all important two points in the standings to keep pace with the Western Conference leading St Louis Blues. More importantly, it allowed the Sharks to stretch their lead in the Pacific Division to four points over arch rival Anaheim, who has three games in hand at the end of play Tuesday.
Niemi Tested Early- The Sharks started the game looking like they were still a little weary from a tough shootout loss in Calgary the night before. Antti Niemi who did not play against the Flames did not get off to the best start either as he yielded a goal on the Oilers second shot of the game. Edmonton's David Perron was able to slide the puck past Niemi at 4:11 of the opening period. Niemi would have several close calls as the Oilers looked like a team that was determined to redeem themselves from a bad game three nights previous. Niemi would soon be challenged again by Perron, and also have to hold off close range scoring attempts from Sam Ganger and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. However Niemi got better as the period went on and would go on to make nine saves. The Sharks meanwhile never really got any quality scoring chances until towards the end of the period however would manage six of their 11 shots on goal over the final five minutes of the opening frame.
Striking Oil- The Sharks noticeably picked up their play in the middle period and started to get the better end of the scoring opportunities. San Jose's first seven shots of the period would be turned away from Scrivens before things would get very interesting, very quickly. Team Teal would get their first break of the game when veteran Oiler Ryan Smyth would get called for a holding penalty. Where the Sharks have had trouble with their power play in the past, tonight would turn out to be the exception. Scrivens would stop the first two shots from Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau. However Marleau’s shot on goal would rebound directly to Pavelski who buried the puck into an open area of the net to tie the game at the 6:28 mark of the second period. Just a few moments later the Sharks would get their second power play chance of the game when Andrew Ference was also called for holding. Team Teal would take control of the Oilers zone and pepper Scrivens before Marleau scored his 31st goal of the season at the 9:57 mark to give the Sharks their first lead in Edmonton since November 15th. Late in the period Martin Havlat would net his ninth goal of the season as he was able to beat Scrivens with a blistering slap shot just 31 seconds before the second intermission.
Completing The Hat Trick- Team Teal wasted very little time in erasing any hopes for an Oilers comeback thanks to an early power play opportunity when Taylor Hall was sent to the penalty box for another hold. Just a moment later Pavelski stationed in front of the Oilers goal crease took a perfect feed pass from Dan Boyle, then turned around and simply went to shelf on Scrivens to give the Sharks a three goal lead just 1:17 into the final stanza. At the 13 minute mark Pavelski secured his hat trick when he drilled a solid wrist shot that beat Scrivens to his right after taking a perfect feed pass from Joe Thornton. From this point the Sharks were able to coast in with two points secured in Pacific Division standings. Hall would add a late goal for the Oilers.
Next Sharks Game- The Sharks return home for a match up against the Winnipeg Jets at the Shark Tank Thursday night. The Jets and Sharks have split two games this season with each team winning on their home ice. The puck drops at 7:30pm PDT and the game can be seen on CSN-CA in Northern California, and heard over the Sharks Radio Network.
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