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Sharks beat Oilers, complete Western Canada sweep

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- The San Jose Sharks completed the first three-game sweep through Western Canada in franchise history by beating the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on Friday night.

Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau scored to help the Sharks complete a run of three wins in four days against the Calgary Flames, Vancouver Canucks and the Oilers.

"Coming off back-to-back nights, you want to get off to a good start, and we were able to do that with two early ones," said captain Joe Thornton, who assisted on the goals by Hertl and Marleau. "We just kind of rolled on after that. It is always nice to get a 2-0 lead like that when you are playing back-to-back."

The Oilers avoided being shut out at home for the fourth consecutive time when Nail Yakupov scored a second-period power-play goal, ending a 214:52 stretch without a goal at Rexall Place. But that was the only shot to beat Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock, who made 30 saves for his third win in as many starts.

"Every game, you hope for a shutout. Of course that would be awesome," Stalock said. "You look at why they haven't scored goals lately, but they have unbelievable skill up front with their forwards. They are going to be a scary team when they start scoring goals. My biggest thing is to get the win and to give the team a chance to get two points every night."

Devan Dubnyk made 34 saves for the Oilers, who've dropped five in a row, and at 4-15-2, have dropped into last place in the overall standings. Edmonton has won once in its first eight home games this season and dropped the past six at Rexall Place. They've been outscored 23-3 during that stretch.

"I'm so tired of coming in here after games and giving a reason why we lost," Oilers left wing Taylor Hall said. "You have to win. It doesn't matter how you win, if you're goalie stands on his head or you get lucky, you just have to win games.

"It's been tough to do that this year. We're all trying really hard, but we're not winning games. Something is not clicking for us, and we have to figure out what that is."

Pavelski opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 15:44 of the first period. He was left alone in front of a wide-open net after Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference inadvertently took out his own goaltender.

Hertl increased the Sharks' lead at 17:13, firing Thornton's centering feed past Dubnyk for his 12th of the season, tops among all rookies.

"Tommy has picked up right where Brent Burns left off," Thornton said. "He is very competitive and shoots the puck well. The line seems to be going well. It just seems to be rolling right now. I have a lot of confidence at the moment.

"We feel good. We weren't playing bad, even if we had a few extra-time losses. We've got points in nine of our last 10 games. We have a good team in here."

Dubnyk kept the Oilers in the game with 12 saves as the Sharks outshot Edmonton 14-6 in the first period.

Marleau made it 3-0 at 3:45 of the second period, firing a shot over Dubnyk's shoulder on a 2-on-1 rush with Jason Demers.

"I thought the game was three stages," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "I thought the first period we were hesitant, knowing what kind of team they are and knowing their record.

"I thought we were playing a little nervous, we were afraid to make a mistake. I thought that carried right through the first period. When you play hesitant, you're not closing early. We were a little bit late to everything, and we couldn't win a battle for the puck."

The Oilers missed two chances to get back in the game when Ryan Smyth couldn't tuck a wraparound into an open net and David Perron hit the post moments later. Yakupov finally got Edmonton on the board at 12:48 when he stepped into a bouncing puck and fired it through Stalock for a power-play goal.

"In the first period, we took three penalties and they scored two goals," Yakupov said. "We played better in the second and the third. Guys worked hard, we got some chances, but we still lost. It's pretty hard to come into this locker room and talk about another loss.

"It's always good when you score and you get points. But we only have four wins and we've played 21 games. I don't know what's going on. We're a little frustrated about it. We're trying to get the two points, but we can't."

The Oilers visit the Calgary Flames on Saturday night. The Sharks conclude their road trip against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

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