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Oilers 3, Sharks 2, 3OT @NHLdotcom

EDMONTON. Alberta (AP) - The Edmonton Oilers forced the San Jose Sharks to play the longest game in their history Wednesday night, and then Shawn Horcoff broke their hearts.

Horcoff scored his second playoff goal 2:24 into triple overtime, lifting the Oilers to a 3-2 win. The Oilers cut the Sharks' lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series.

Game 4 is Friday night.

Horcoff scored after he picked up a backhand pass from Ryan Smyth behind the Sharks' net and tapped it past goaltender Vesa Toskala.

"We really needed that game," said Horcoff. "It's a big lift for us right now."

He said the Oilers didn't get down even after they dominated the first period only to find themselves behind 2-1 after just six Sharks shots on net in the second period.

"I was really impressed with the composure we had in the locker room," he said. "We just don't know how to quit."

Sharks coach Ron Wilson said his team was too tentative.

"We didn't drive to the net at all. We played on the perimeter," he said.

"We'll bounce back. We've been a resilient team all along."

The previous longest game for the Sharks was in 1995, when San Jose beat Calgary in just under 22 total minutes of overtime.

It was the third-longest game in Oilers history. Their record stands at 57:34 of overtime play in a 3-2 loss to Dallas in 1999.

The Oilers also set a team record for most shots in a game with 58. The old record was 54, set in regulation time in 1984 by the high-flying Oilers of the Wayne Gretzky-Mark Messier era.

It was the first triple overtime of this year's playoffs.

"It's just an unbelievable feeling, triple overtime, it's a dream come true a goal like that," Horcoff said. "I thought we came out extremely hard; that's the type of hockey we need to play to be successful."

Toskala made 55 saves for San Jose, while Dwayne Roloson made 32 for Edmonton.

The Oilers opened the scoring on a power play midway through the first period.

Raffi Torres took the puck in the corner and passed to defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron in the high slot. He blasted a low slap shot that beat Toskala to the stick side.

Patrick Marleau got the Sharks back in the game just over a minute into the second period when he picked up the rebound from Josh Gorges' point shot that Roloson blocked but let fall in front of him. Marleau easily outmuscled Oilers defenseman Jaroslav Spacek and on his backhand flicked the puck into the yawning net for his ninth goal of the playoffs.

San Jose went ahead 2-1 halfway through the second period when Joe Thornton made a perfect pass from behind the net to a streaking Patrick Rissmiller in the slot. He shot the puck under defenseman Jason Smith and past Roloson.

It was just the Sharks' sixth shot of the game.

With just under seven minutes left in the third period, the Oilers tied it. Chris Pronger, starting from behind his net, passed to Jarret Stoll, who fired the puck through the neutral zone to Torres. He wristed a shot right faceoff dot over Toskala's glove and into the top corner of the net.

The game, like its two predecessors, featured hard skating and vicious hits.

The Oilers' Georges Laraque took a five-minute major and a game misconduct in the second period for ramming Jonathan Cheechoo's head into the glass in front of the penalty box.

The Sharks played without winger Milan Michalek, who was scratched. The 21-year-old Czech rookie had three assists in the first two games on the second line with Marleau and Steve Bernier. But he had neural network damage in Game 2 when he took an open-ice hit to the head from Torres.

Notes: Smyth was forced to leave in the second period when he took Pronger's clearing pass in the face. He was down for a few seconds, but wobbled to his feet and skated off, leaving a blood trail back to the bench as fans chanted "Smitty, Smitty!" He came back to play the rest of the game. . . Michalek was replaced by Alyn McCauley, who has been in and out of the lineup with a knee injury.

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