EDMONTON - It looked like yet another Edmonton Oilers collapse, until Jarret Stoll rescued his teammates.
Stoll's shootout goal overcame a late game-tying goal from Joe Thornton, as the Oilers made their first step towards erasing the memory of last season's late collapse with a 3-2 victory over the Sharks.
The late Sharks goal brought up shades of last season, when the Oilers finished with just two wins in their last 20 games. This time, however, Edmonton bounced back.
"It's good to battle and get the two points and to find a way to win the game," Stoll said. "We had the game there and with 11 seconds we lose it. But that's what good teams do, they find a way to win even when you have some adversity."
Tom Gilbert and Kyle Brodziak scored in regulation for the Oilers, who are undefeated in their last eight home openers at Rexall Place
Patrick Marleau scored San Jose's other goal.
The Oilers have undergone a youth movement with the likes of Gilbert, Brodziak, Sam Gagner, Robert Nilsson and Andrew Cogliano on the squad and MacTavish was impressed with how the young guns stacked up.
"It's a great story when you have a lot of young guys here and helping," he said. "Now we just have see how substantive it is. Those guys made plays and it was good to see that they didn't get caught defensively."
Thornton said the Sharks were happy just to come back and earn a point.
"We had a pretty good first, a terrible second and an average third," he said. "We have lots of room to improve. It's a tough place to play and to get a point out of their home opener is something we're going to have to be happy with."
The game went without a goal until the start of the third period but then it quickly opened up. The Sharks finally got to Oilers starter Dwayne Roloson just 26 seconds in as Thornton feathered a puck from behind the net to Marleau to make it 1-0.
Edmonton was quick to respond just over a minute later as a trio of rookies connected. Gagner and Cogliano earned their first NHL points when Cogliano snapped a shot that deflected off the skate of Gilbert in front of the Sharks' net and in.
The Oilers took the lead just over a minute later as Sheldon Souray sent a bullet from the point that got behind Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov. Brodziak dove to sweep the puck in to put Edmonton ahead 2-1.
But with Souray in the box and Nabokov on the bench the Sharks were able to send it to overtime as Thornton blasted one past Roloson with just 11 seconds to play.
San Jose had the best chance in the scoreless first period 13 minutes in as Torrey Mitchell rang one off the post and the rebound landed on the goal-line before Roloson swept the puck away.
Roloson faced nine shots in the first while Nabokov saw seven.
The zeros stayed up on the scoreboard through the second as well with the teams only able to muster four shots apiece.
The Sharks are back on the ice on Friday in Vancouver while Edmonton will play host to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday.
Notes: New Oilers captain Ethan Moreau was not in the lineup for Edmonton. Moreau is still recovering from a bone bruise suffered after taking a shot on the foot in the pre-season. Geoff Sanderson took his place. . . . Also on the limp is Sharks rookie Devin Setoguchi, forced to leave San Jose's practice on Thursday bothered by a foot injury after taking a puck in the pre-season. Veteran Jeremy Roenick drew in as a replacement, making his Sharks debut. . . . The Oilers had some good numbers in their recent home openers on the line entering the contest. In their previous seven lid-lifters at Rexall Edmonton had gone undefeated, going 5-0-2 (two ties)a Prior to the game the Oilers observed a moment of silence to honour the memory of local hockey mainstay Billy Warwick, who died Wednesday at 83. A member of the Penticton Vees that won the world championship in 1955, Warwick led the Canadians in scoring with 14 goals and seven assists.