SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ The Edmonton Oilers capitalized on the sloppy
goaltending of Evgeni Nabokov to win their fourth consecutive game.
The 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday moved the Oilers within
one point of St. Louis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western
``He's a very good goaltender,'' said Marc-Andre Bergeron, who scored two
goals. ``Nabokov just looked tired. On my second goal he was out of position
when I got the rebound and there was no way for him to stop it.''
San Jose coach Ron Wilson noticed how Nabokov struggled.
``Their goalie was better than our goalie,'' Wilson said. ``We just have to
find a way to get Nabokov some rest. Hopefully Toskala will be back shortly.''
The Sharks' No. 1 goalie is playing more than normal since primary backup
Vesa Toskala was injured on March 13 against Los Angeles. Nabokov (26-18-8)
allowed five goals on 27 shots Sunday; in his last 10 games, Nabokov has
allowed 31 goals.
``The hidden jewel of the game was Jussi,'' said Oilers coach Craig
MacTavish, referring to recently acquired goalie Jussi Markkanen. ``Since he's
arrived, we've been playing great.
``He's so in charge out there, he keeps the team calm. And we just don't
seem as worried as we were before we got him.''
Markkanen (9-13-3) finished with 32 saves to earn his first win since Jan.
26 while playing for the New York Rangers. He was acquired by Edmonton on March
``We're in ninth spot now,'' said MacTavish. ``We have a great opportunity
tomorrow night in L.A. to get that eighth spot.''
The Sharks were tied with the Oilers 2-2 with just under eight minutes left
in the second period when Jason Smith scored a short-handed goal. He took a
drop pass from Mike York and drilled a shot past Nabokov.
Cory Cross opened the scoring for the Oilers, taking a pass from George
Laraque from behind the net and firing it over Nabokov's shoulder.
The Sharks tied it when Patrick Marleau scored his 28th goal, knocking in a
rebound off Markkanen. The goal broke Marleau's 10-game scoreless streak.
Edmonton retook the lead with 1:56 remaining in the first period when
Bergeron put in a one-timer from the left faceoff circle.
Kyle McLaren tied the game with his first career short-handed goal in the
second period. Curtis Brown won a faceoff and passed the puck to McLaren at the
top of the right face-off circle. McLaren caught Markkanen looking at a leaping
Brown and beat the distracted goalie.
After Smith's goal, Eric Brewer made it 4-2. Bergeron's second goal came off
a rebound from the left of the crease, his eighth goal of the season.