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Pavelski's hat trick powers Sharks past Oilers

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- This time, Joe Pavelski and the San Jose Sharks solved Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens.

Pavelski scored a hat trick and added an assist for the Sharks in a 5-2 win against the Oilers on Tuesday night. In the Sharks' previous visit to Rexall Place, a 3-0 victory for the Oilers on Jan. 29, Scrivens stopped 59 shots, the most in a shutout in NHL history.

"He's been hot against us, but we knew we could get to him and we just had to stay with it," Pavelski said. "The first goal is how we were going to have to score against him, it was going to have to be into an empty net."

Patrick Marleau and Marty Havlat also scored for San Jose, which snapped a two-game skid.

Goaltender Antti Niemi made 28 saves in the win, which moved San Jose (47-18-9) four points ahead of the Anaheim Ducks in the race for first place in the Pacific Division. The Ducks have played three fewer games.

Scrivens stopped 29 shots, and David Perron and Taylor Hall scored for the Oilers (25-39-9) who've lost three in a row.

"I thought we were a little bit rusty to start, trying to find our legs early," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said. "We knew they would have a pretty strong push after their last game here [an 8-1 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday]. We settled in, did some good things and managed the puck a little better. Everybody contributed. We got an opportunity to play all four lines. It was good to see guys dig in and find a way to win."

Perron opened the scoring on the Oilers' first shot of the game at 4:11 of the first period, weaving his way between a pair of Sharks and snapping a shot over Niemi's shoulder. Perron took a drop pass from Hall just inside the San Jose blue line, skated around Sharks center Tyler Kennedy and cut inside defenseman Brad Stuart before beating Niemi.

Scrivens stopped all 11 shots he faced in the first period, but the Sharks got to him at 6:28 of the second when Pavelski scored on the power play. Pavelski was able to get to a loose puck in front and fired it past Scrivens with Oilers left wing Ryan Smyth in the penalty box.

Dating back to their first encounter in Edmonton, Scrivens stopped 78 consecutive San Jose shots before giving up a goal to the Sharks.

"Any time you play on back-to-back nights, you want to keep it tight early," Pavelski said. "They got an early one on that [zone] entry, we know they're a dangerous team. On back-to-back nights, your special teams have to be good and they were [Tuesday]."

The Sharks finished 3-for-3 on the power play against the Oilers. They went into the game with the 23rd-ranked power play in the League.

"The numbers aren't that important, it's when they come and how they come," McLellan said. "We've had nights like this and it just hasn't gone in. When you look at the power play standings and the numbers and that type of stuff, you panic over it outside the room, but we don't inside the room. We finally got a reward for playing basically the same way that we have."

Marleau put the Sharks up 2-1 at 9:57 with another power-play goal; the puck bounced to him in the slot and he fired it past Scrivens.

The Sharks increased their lead to 3-1 with 31 seconds left in the period when Havlat beat Scrivens with a little help from Oilers defenseman Jeff Petry. Havlat got to a loose puck at the Oilers' blue line and as he was shooting, had his stick slashed by Petry. The puck changed directions and beat Scrivens.

"We need to show to ourselves that we can play the right way," Scrivens said. "I don't know what it is that we refuse to buy in completely. It's not one guy, a line, a defense pairing. It's just kind of waves throughout the team. It's not wanting to do what we have to do. We had some tough bounces [Tuesday] that probably added to the scoring differential. You can't give a team like that the chances on the power play because they have skilled guys who will make you pay and they did [Tuesday]."

Pavelski added his second of the game at 1:17 of the third period, again on the power play, to give San Jose a 4-1 lead. He was left alone in front with plenty of time to beat Scrivens to the short side. Pavelski completed his hat trick at 13:00 when his shot deflected off the stick of Oilers center Matt Hendricks and sailed past Scrivens.

It was the third hat trick of Pavelski's career; all have come this season.

"He has been our go-to guy as far as finishing goes," McLellan said of Pavelski. "He made the power play go. He's a very smart player that gets to the right spots and has smart people around him that get him the puck."

Hall scored the Oilers' second goal of the night with 5:04 remaining, getting to a rebound in front of the Sharks net and lifting it past Niemi.

"Those teams [San Jose], they make you work for every inch of the ice," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "They are extremely talented. They have such a veteran presence on their team. They are heavy, but the thing for me, is that they are heady. They understand the game and are a step ahead of everyone else on the ice. That comes with games played, and lots of games played. Guys like [Joe] Thornton and Marleau, they are incredibly talented."

The Sharks played without center Logan Couture, who was injured blocking a shot in a 2-1 shootout loss in Calgary on Monday.

The Oilers continue their six-game homestand Friday against the Ducks. The Sharks host the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.

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