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Sharks didn't panic despite trailing early on road

Stayed with game plan, rallied to defeat Oilers in overtime

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

EDMONTON -- When you simply know how to get the job done under the intense pressure of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it allows you to withstand all manner of storms.

The San Jose Sharks weathered a noisy, crash-and-bang tempest at Rogers Place on Wednesday, falling behind by two goals in the opening period of their Western Conference First Round series against the Edmonton Oilers but knowing instinctually that such a deficit does not necessarily spell the end of the story.

"There wasn't much panic," Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said.

 

[RELATED: Complete Sharks vs. Oilers series coverage]

 

Pavelski sent linemate Melker Karlsson into the open on the left wing early in overtime and Karlsson buried the winner past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot at 3:22 for a come-from-behind 3-2 victory.

Game 2 in the best-of-7 series is Friday at Rogers Place (10:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN, NBCS-CA).

Video: SJS@EDM, Gm1: Karlsson snaps home overtime winner

The Sharks began their Wednesday rally with a power-play goal from Joel Ward at 1:43 of the second period.

"We were down by two but I thought we were still playing well, we just needed a lift," Ward said. "It was good to kind of put one home and start it off for the fellas.

"What we've done all year is just believe in the process and stay with it and believe in one another. If you stay with it and stay positive you will give yourself the chances."

Video: SJS@EDM, Gm1: Sharks comeback to sink Oilers in OT

The goal, Pavelski said, helped the Sharks calm down.

And they did so in a dramatic way, outshooting the Oilers 34-9 after the first period.

"We realized we played not a bad period for the first one of the playoffs, coming into this building," Pavelski said. "You could feel the energy right away; it was great. So we come out and get a pretty good start and they get one (by Oscar Klefbom) that goes off one of our guys (David Schlemko) a little bit. That happens.

"Then they get a power-play goal (by Milan Lucic). Guys responded well. We took a deep breath. We've got to go do it again. You've got to keep getting better as the games go on. We did that tonight."

The momentum was clearly in the Sharks favor by the third period when defenseman Paul Martin put home a Tomas Hertl rebound at 5:22, creating the need for overtime.

"We came back so strong," Hertl said. "The reason we went so far last year is because we kept coming back in the second and third periods. We just keep going. We have a deep team.

"If we keep playing this same way we will win the next game here, too."

Video: SJS@EDM, Gm1: Jones pads away McDavid's backhand

In enemy territory, San Jose outshot Edmonton 18-3 in the third period, and 6-2 in the short overtime.

"We took an honest evaluation of that first period and we did a lot of good things," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "They happened to score with two of their first three chances.

"At the end of the first the message from me, and more importantly, from the guys in the room, was that we feel good about our game, let's just stick with it."

San Jose, which has played 110 playoff games since the Oilers were last in the postseason in 2006, got steady performances throughout its lineup Wednesday.

"You guys keep talking about experience," DeBoer said. "I thought some of our best players were young guys tonight. (Marcus) Sorensen, (Timo) Meier, (Chris) Tierney were fantastic.

"We have a group of men in there that play the right way and have a history of knowing how to play at this time of year, playing selfless and working for each other. So I might be the only one here who's not surprised by how we played tonight."

The Oilers weren't blaming their relative lack of playoff experience for the big shift in momentum.

"I liked our start. We were edgy and playing on our toes, and then we started taking some penalties, especially in the O-zone," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "We took four O-zone penalties in a row and they're a savvy team, they're a veteran team, they took advantage of it, scored a goal and they established their momentum allowing them to get back in the game.

"They were able to grab the game and we were unable to grab it back."

Video: SJS@EDM, Gm1: Martin nets rebound to tie game in 3rd

McLellan also identified another factor, one that could certainly be attributed to playoff experience that was important in Game 1.

"They were five or seven seconds ahead of us with every change, so they caught us tired a lot of times and took advantage of us, hemmed us in," McLellan said. "When we finally got fresh guys out it was just a dump-it-out situation and they were coming right back at us."

Playing Game 1 without veteran center Joe Thornton, who missed the final three games of the regular season with a knee injury, the Sharks appeared to be limping into the postseason.

They lost nine of 13 games to finish the regular season and fell to third place in the Pacific Division.

"It doesn't matter where we were in March," DeBoer said. "We're here now and we're playing and that's all that matters."

That, and clearly, experience.

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