Sharks beat Oilers 3-2 in overtime in Game 1
The veteran San Jose Sharks taught the upstart Edmonton Oilers a lesson in playoff intensity, spotting them two early goals Wednesday night and then roaring back to win.
Melker Karlsson scored at 3:22 of overtime and San Jose came back to beat Edmonton 3-2 in Game 1 of their first-round Western Conference series.
“We got the chance and I snuck it in,” said Karlsson, who fired a snap shot from the top of the right circle past goalie Cam Talbot. “I got a little space and (Joe Pavelski) saw me in the middle. It was a half-breakaway. It was nice.”
The Oilers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period only to get outshot 34-9 the rest of the way. The Sharks came back and tied the game with just more than 15 minutes left in regulation.
Joel Ward and Paul Martin scored for San Jose.
Milan Lucic and Oscar Klefbom scored for the Oilers before 18,347 fans at sold-out Rogers Place.
Edmonton center Connor McDavid, the NHL’s leading scorer in the regular season, had one assist in his playoff debut to extend his point streak to 15 games. For the most part, however, he was held in check by the Sharks.
“We did a good job starting the game but we’ve got to finish,” McDavid said. “They had the puck all night. They played in our zone. When you don’t have the puck you’re not going to get many shots on goal.”
It was the first playoff game in the Oilers’ new downtown arena and the team’s first postseason game in almost 11 years.
The Sharks played without star center Joe Thornton, who is day to day with a left knee injury. But center Logan Couture returned to the lineup with a full face cage. He missed seven games after having his mouth and teeth smashed by a deflected puck.
The teams were headed in opposite directions coming into the playoffs. The Oilers won 12 of their last 14 regular-season games, while San Jose dropped nine of 13.
The Sharks, however, are the defending Western Conference champions with 1,169 games of playoff experience on their roster compared with 342 for Edmonton.
“We were confident we could go out and turn things around (after the first period),” Couture said. “We forechecked them hard and they got caught on some long shifts.
“From the second period on, we had control of that game. It was just a matter of time before the puck was going to go in.”
Klefbom scored the Oilers’ first playoff goal since 2006 when he took a cross-ice pass in the high slot from Jordan Eberle and fired the puck low between the pads of Sharks goalie Martin Jones at 6:44.
Lucic made it 2-0 with less than three minutes to go in the period on a power play.
McDavid passed the puck to Mark Letestu, who rifled it off Jones’ pad right to Lucic. He shot again, this time through Jones’ pads.
The Sharks rebounded, dominating play for long stretches in the second and third periods. The teams each had 10 shots in the first, but San Jose outshot Edmonton 28-7 through the next 40 minutes and finished with a 44-19 edge.
San Jose cut the lead in half 1:43 into the second period on the power play. Joonas Donskoi came around behind the net and fed the puck in front on the backhand to Ward, who redirected the puck past Talbot.
San Jose tied the game just more than five minutes into the third period when Martin jumped on a rebound off Tomas Hertl’s wraparound shot and put the puck in.
The Sharks’ power play, ranked 25th in the regular season at 16.7 percent, was otherwise ineffective. San Jose was 1 for 6 with the man advantage while Edmonton was 1 for 3.
But all that time in the penalty box took a toll, according to Eberle.
“We’ve got to stay out of the box. You lose momentum by doing that,” he said. “The guys who kill (the penalties) are wasting a lot of energy and the guys who aren’t are sitting on the bench.
“We had a tough time generating some momentum after that.”
Game 2 is Friday in Edmonton, and Talbot said the Oilers’ resiliency will now be tested.
“We’ve got to let this one go,” he said. “That’s the thing that we’re going to have to work on with this group is just letting that go. We did a good job during the regular season. We’re going to have to continue that in the playoffs.”