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Sharks bounce back to beat Oilers

by Eric Gilmore

SAN JOSE -- San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan didn't hold back Tuesday night after his team's lackluster 6-3 road loss against the Anaheim Ducks.

McLellan let the Sharks have it, harshly criticizing their effort and performance. He continued sending that message Thursday morning, prior to the game against the Edmonton Oilers at SAP Center.

Message delivered and received.

The Sharks rebounded from one of their worst losses of the season in a big way, getting goals from five players in a 5-1 victory against the Oilers. Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau, Bracken Kearns, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored for San Jose, and goaltender Antti Niemi made 23 saves.

"We were just ready to go as soon as the puck dropped, and I thought for a full 60 [minutes] we kept the pressure on and dictated the pace of the game tonight," said Sharks captain Joe Thornton, who had two assists and extended his point streak to six games.

"We're a team that when you lose one, you like to get back and get the next one and I think we proved that tonight. We have a lot of good character players in this room. Go out and work hard and that's what we did tonight. There's no secret. Just get back to work. We didn't work as hard as we feel we should have in Anaheim and we got back to it tonight."

Burns and Marleau scored goals 49 seconds apart in the first period, giving the Sharks a 2-0 lead. Kearns and Couture connected 1:27 apart in the second period to make it 4-0.

Edmonton's Nail Yakupov scored at 15:39 to make it 4-1, but Pavelski scored at 5:44 of the third to put the game away.

The Sharks improved to 15-1-3 at SAP Center and won their fifth straight home game. With 58 points, the Sharks pulled within five of first place Anaheim in the Pacific Division. The Sharks won a game by more than two goals for the first time since Nov. 29 when they beat the St. Louis Blues 6-3.

McLellan said his message got through.

"The role players played some pretty good roles tonight. You saw shots that were blocked," McLellan said. "There was some physicality, they won battles, they checked well. That was a good sign. The go-to offensive guys were productive. It was a team effort. I thought we were good until it was 4-0 and then we got sloppy. We've got to get that out of our game. We talked about it again. The response in the third was good."

The Oilers , who visit the Ducks on Friday night, lost their third straight game and saw their four-game point streak snapped. Goaltender Devan Dubnyk, starting for the first time since his 27-save shutout of the Calgary Flames on Dec. 27, allowed five goals on 36 shots.

"They proved why their record is the way it is and we showed why we have the record we do," Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference said. "If you want any kind of success against good teams like that, you can't make it harder on yourselves. You have to limit the mistakes.

"We didn't come in here and give ourselves a chance. It's always critical to take away momentum after they score. To have them score on back-to-back shifts is disappointing."

Burns scored his 13th of the season at 14:37, taking a pass from Pavelski in the lower right circle and beating Dubnyk to the stick side. Marleau made it 2-0 at 15:26 of the first with an unassisted goal. He stole the puck from Yakupov along the boards in Edmonton's defensive zone, skated toward the slot and snapped a shot through traffic and past Dubnyk for his team-high 18th goal of the season.

Marleau's goal was also the 422nd of his career, tying him with former Shark Owen Nolan for 73rd place on the NHL's all-time list.

After being a healthy scratch Tuesday night against the Phoenix Coyotes, Yakupov returned to the lineup and skated at left wing on the second line. Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said he wanted Yakupov to play a "simple game" and play sound defensively, but his turnover helped put the Oilers in a two-goal hole.

"We turned it over again and again and again," Yakupov said. "We made too many mistakes. My teammates encourage me to keep going."

The Sharks outshot Edmonton 17-7 in the first period, with Burns taking five shots.

Kearns increased San Jose's lead to 3-0 at 7:18 of the middle period with his third NHL goal; he's scored in each of San Jose's past three games. Kearns, 32, took a pass from Andrew Desjardins in the high slot and ripped a one-timer over Dubnyk's glove.

"Another lucky one and I'll take it and try to keep it going," Kearns said. "I thought we played well tonight and had some sustained pressure. They talked about a quick release against this goalie and that's what I tried to do there and on a few other shots. That one found the back of the net."

Couture made it 4-0 at 8:45 with his 13th goal of the season and 200th career point. Edmonton turned over the puck in San Jose's end, and John McCarthy hit a wide-open Couture in stride with a long pass near the blue line. Couture wristed a shot into the upper right corner, extending his goal streak to three games after a 10-game drought.

"I've always said, my whole career, as a goal scorer you're streaky," Couture said. "You're hot and you're cold. You go through stretches you don't score, and you go through stretches where everything starts going in. We saw a guy like (Pavelski) go through it earlier this year. Hopefully now I've had my cold streak for the year and can move past it and keep contributing and helping the team win. I want to score goals and I want to help the team."

Yakupov scored his seventh goal of the season at 15:39. He reached high to grab a loose puck, set it down in the left circle, wristed a shot past Niemi and celebrated with a fist pump.

One day after being named to the U.S. Olympic team for the second time, Pavelski scored his 17th goal of the season, ripping a long slap shot inside the right post. After Pavelski scored, fans at SAP Center chanted, "USA! USA! USA!"

"It's cool," Pavelski said. "Obviously it's fun. It's an exciting time with the Olympics coming up. It's more than any team, any sport. It's more about a country thing. Regardless of where you are, it's a pretty special time during the Olympics."

During a long stretch in the second period, Eakins kept his top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron on the bench.

"We're not a deep enough team to have that line have an off-night," Eakins said. "They weren't very good and so it was time for them to sit and watch. They took it well and did not hang their heads. I talked to them between periods and explained how important they were to our team. We need them every night to be in the game."

Sharks forward Mike Brown, a former Oiler, got hit by San Jose shots in his foot and his back during a sequence late in the game and struggled to get off the ice.

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