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Hemsky the hero as Oilers bite Sharks

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The game was scoreless through two periods before an offensive explosion resulted into the two sides trading goals in the third leading up to Hemsky's game winner.

Jason Smith got the tempo going in the opening minute for Edmonton, levelling Nils Ekman with a nice open-ice hit.

The action was slow-moving early in the game with neither team having much of a scoring chance. The best opportunity on either side was a partial break by San Jose's Milan Michalek but he shot high.

With eight minutes left in the first and seconds ticking off an Ales Hemsky penalty, Steve Bernier rang a shot off the far post behind Conklin.

As the opening frame was winding down, the Oilers started to get some chances. Ryan Smyth narrowly missed on a wraparound attempt and Ethan Moreau almost scored off the rush while shorthanded as Toskala stood his ground.

Shots at one point in the period were 5-1 Sharks but the Oilers rallied to outshoot San Jose 8-6 after one.

Seven minutes into the middle frame, Ryan Smyth was sent in on a breakaway during an Oilers power play. He tried to outwait Toskala but ran out of real estate on the short side.

Six minutes later, Steve Staios and Mark Smith dropped the gloves for a quick bout. Staios had a slight edge in the fight but also received an extra two minutes for roughing to put San Jose on its third power play.

The Oilers were able to kill the Sharks man advantage and Torres' pursuit of the puck after coming out of the box forced Toskala to play the puck behind the net outside of the safe area to put Edmonton up a man.

With two minutes to go in the period, Conklin made his best save of the night getting a glove out to snag a shot from the right circle by Jonathan Cheechoo.

After two, shots on goal were even at 16-16.

After 43:29 of scoreless hockey, both teams struck for goals 19 seconds apart to set up a 1-1 draw. Raffi Torres flicked a wrist shot from deep in the Sharks end that eluded Toskala and put Edmonton up by a goal.

19 seconds later, Patrick Marleau's shot from the slot found its way through the five-hole of Conklin into the back of the net.

After the Sharks goal, Edmonton started to take the play to San Jose pinning the visitors in their zone for a good three minutes. Ryan Smyth and Shawn Horcoff both were denied by Toskala.

With just less than five minutes to play in the game, Joe Thornton deked out Ty Conklin on a partial break to move the Sharks ahead 2-1.

But just as the Sharks responded quickly to tie the game early in the period, this time it was Edmonton's turn. Shawn Horcoff one-timed a shot from the slot that beat Toskala blocker side. Jason Smith and Dick Tarnstrom, with his first point as an Oiler, had the assists.

With 1:07 remaining in the third, Ales Hemsky scored a highlight-reel goal to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead. Hemsky broke into the Sharks zone on the right side, completely undressed defenceman Josh Gorges before deking out Toskala before beating him five-hole.

As time wound down in the period, Ryan Smyth did an outstanding job pinning the puck deep in the Sharks zone, ensuring San Jose wouldn't get a chance to tie it up.

NOTES: Ethan Moreau and Jason Smith both returned to the lineup tonight for Edmonton with Brad Winchester a healthy scratch... Vesa Toskala made his fifth consecutive start for San Jose... Marty Reasoner left the game midway through the second after being struck in the right ear with an errant puck. He suffered a lacerated right ear on the play. He returned with 13 minutes left in the third... San Jose has now killed 20 straight penalties... Torres set a new career high with his 21st of the season... Patrick Marleau extended his scoring streak to six games (6g, 8a)...
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