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Scrivens makes 59 saves as Oilers blank Sharks

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens put on a goaltending clinic Wednesday, stopping 59 shots in a 3-0 win against the San Jose Sharks.

It was Scrivens' first shutout with the Oilers, his fourth of the season and the fifth of his career.

The 59-save shutout over 60 minutes broke the NHL record previously held by Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, who made 54 saves in a 2-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on April 3, 2012.

"It's one of those nights, it's very fortunate," Scrivens said. "I owe the shot-keeper a beer, I think. Every shutout you get is a team effort, and I know people roll their eyes at that, especially when shots are a bit lopsided like tonight. But [defenseman] Nick Schultz blocks a shot with five or six minutes left, and you know that shot is going in the net. I could tell that puck was going in. That's a huge block, and you don't get a shutout without a lot of help in front."

Justin Schultz, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle scored for the Oilers (18-32-6), extending their win streak to three games. It's the second time this season the Oilers have won three straight. They are still looking for their first four-game winning streak.

The Sharks (34-14-6) have lost two in a row, each by shutout. They lost 1-0 to the struggling Los Angeles Kings on Monday.

"That's how I thought our skaters were playing the game; they were watching Ben play," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "It's one of those nights. I'm so happy for Ben and proud of him, and then you're mad at the same time. There is such a separation in this league between San Jose, and (the) Anaheim (Ducks), Chicago (Blackhawks), St. Louis (Blues) and L.A., and the rest of the teams that we play.

"That is a hell of a hockey team. You preach all the time how you need a team to win a game, but now I'm rethinking it. It looked like we just needed to score one goal, and Ben won that game on his own. It was an incredible thing to watch. I've never seen that before."

The Sharks took the play to the Oilers from the opening faceoff; they outshot Edmonton 20-7 in the first period.

However, Justin Schultz scored the only goal, floating a seeing-eye point shot past Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi at 10:51 to put the Oilers ahead 1-0 going into the first intermission.

"Hats off to the goaltender. He was tremendous," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said of Scrivens. "Probably first, second and third star. If he wasn't, he deserved it. Heck of a performance. In all my years in the League, I don't think I've seen that, so give him credit."

As good as Scrivens was in the first period, he was just warming up. It was in the second when the Spruce Grove, Alberta, native stole the show.

Scrivens made 22 saves in the middle period, including an unbelievable glove stop on Bracken Kearns, a save on a shorthanded breakaway by Patrick Marleau, a sprawling pad save on Marleau moments later, and a quick glove save on Jason Demers off a rebound.

Scrivens had 42 saves after two periods. His season high going into the game was 38, coming against the Sharks as a member of the Kings on Nov. 27.

"[Scrivens] was on, obviously," Eakins said. "I've seen that kid stop a lot of pucks. I've watched him develop in the East Coast League. He was up and down with our team with the [Toronto] Marlies, and he's turned into an NHL goaltender. I have a history with him, and I'm very proud of his development and where he is today.

"We were overwhelmed in the game. I thought San Jose was firing on all cylinders, and right from our back end to our forwards, we just couldn't shake it. We were standing around watching, and we were playing a cautious, cautious game, which you can't do in this league."

The 59 shots matched the most surrendered in Oilers franchise history. The previous franchise record for saves was held by Bill Ranford, who stopped 56 shots on March 17, 1993, in a 4-3 win against the New York Rangers.

"Towards the end of the first period, you could sense that [Scrivens] was feeling it and he could do something special," Hall said. "Obviously, you don't want to give up 59 shots, but sometimes a goalie has to stand on his head, and that has to be one of the best performance by a goalie I have ever seen."

The Sharks had dominated the Oilers in their previous two games, outscoring Edmonton 8-2 in the process. They would have dominated on the scoreboard again Wednesday had it not been for Scrivens, acquired in a trade with the Kings on Jan. 15 for a third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.

"I had an awful, awful warmup. It was an inauspicious start to it," Scrivens said. "It's one of those things where you try not to look at the forest while you're in the trees. You try to focus on the process and give yourself a chance to make that save, and when the puck drops again, you try to focus on the next one and don't try to get too far ahead of yourself."

In the third period, Hall increased the Oilers lead at 6:10, taking a cross-ice feed from Eberle and roofing a shot over Niemi, who made 24 saves.

The Sharks continued to pour on the pressure, but were unable to beat Scrivens, regardless of the number of bodies they piled in front of the net. Eberle scored at 18:40 on the power play to give the Oilers a three-goal lead.

"We had enough shots, quality shots, but some we missed hitting our spots and some he made good saves," Marleau said. "It's one of those things, you just stick with it and hope eventually it's going to break.

"You run into a hot goalie, it's tough, but it's a good lesson for us. There are certain things you have to do to overcome that. I'm sure there's going to be videos shown on things we could have done differently."

The Oilers move on to open a four-game road trip Saturday against the Boston Bruins. The Sharks conclude a two-game road trip against the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

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