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Smyth hat trick sinks Sharks

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
"We know the third period's been pretty well for us in the past," said Smyth after the game. "We can build off of that. It's a good lesson and a good measuring stick for us. We have to make sure we come out and play more disciplined and a little harder in the first two periods.

Edmonton had some jump early and almost scored on their opening shift when Ales Hemsky stripped Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov of the puck and threw it to Raffi Torres in the slot. Torres couldn't get a handle on the puck and his shot ended up going wide.

"That was our game plan," Smyth stated. "Keep everybody going into it, everybody fresh. If we can play 60 minutes like we did in the first part of the first period and the third period we can dominate teams."

Patrick Thoresen then came within inches of getting his first NHL goal. His initial shot was turned away by Nabokov and Reasoner was then denied on the rebound. The puck sat on the line for a moment as Thoresen poked at it before the San Jose goaltender pounced on the puck.

A minute later, Thoresen scored on a wild bounce in the slot to net his first career NHL goal. Brad Winchester and Steve Staios got assists on the play.

Edmonton assaulted the Sharks defence in the opening six minutes of the game, outshooting their opponents 9-0.

San Jose finally got a shot on goal at the 6:40 mark, and five seconds later made their second one count. Joe Thornton dug the puck out of the corner and threw it in front to Jonathan Cheechoo, who swept it five-hole past Roloson.

Joe Thornton had a chance to put the Sharks in front after intercepting a cross-ice pass from Petr Sykora. Thornton broke in one-on-one against Daniel Tjarnqvist and managed to get a wrister on Roloson from the high slot. Ales Hemsky took an interference penalty on the play, putting the Sharks up a man.

15 seconds later, Jason Smith was sent off for holding giving the dangerous Sharks a five-on-three. It took San Jose only 12 seconds to pull the trigger as Cheechoo wired a shot from the right circle over Roloson's shoulder to make it 2-1.

A series of penalties by both sides late in the period led to an Oilers four-on-three power play after Hemsky and Sykora got some pressure deep in the Sharks zone while four-on-four. San Jose did a good job killing off the penalties, however.

After one period of play, San Jose had a 2-1 lead although the Oilers outshot the Sharks 14-7.

Six minutes into the second, Dwayne Roloson made a spectacular glove save to rob Jonathan Cheechoo of his third goal. With San Jose on a power play, Cheechoo wired the puck from the slot and Roloson stuck out his glove to make the big stop.

However, Cheechoo had another opportunity a minute later and this time didn't miss. Mark Smith undressed Staios before chipping the puck to Cheechoo in front. The Sharks winger converted to make it a 3-1 game.

Edmonton put itself behind the eight ball midway through the second after a bench minor for too many men and another bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct gave the Sharks a two minute five-on-three.

On the ensuing power play, Shawn Horcoff had a shorthanded chance but didn't score and when the play turned back the other way, San Jose had a three-on-one. Thornton found Michalek who one-timed it in past an outstretched Roloson.

With Edmonton still down a man, Ethan Moreau looked to have scored to make it 4-2 but after a lengthy video review it was ruled no goal.

With eight minutes left in the second, the Oilers scored and this time made it count. Joffrey Lupul sprung Ryan Smyth in on a breakaway with a nice pass across the neutral zone. Smyth's initial shot was stopped by Nabokov but Lupul trailed in behind him and put home the rebound.

Coming back the other way, Roloson gave Edmonton a boost with a nice glove stop on Sharks defenceman Josh Gorges with six minutes left in the period.

After two, Edmonton had a 21-16 edge in shots but trailed 4-2 on the scoreboard.

The Oilers started period three much the same way they started the game: with an all-out attack. Horcoff came close to shovelling the puck in at the 1:57 mark as the Oilers rattled off the first three shots of the period.

On the next shift, Ethan Moreau had what looked to be a wide-open net on a wraparound attempt but Nabokov somehow got across to knock it away.

The Oilers' hard work led to their first five-on-three on the night after a pair of penalties to Kyle McLaren put the Sharks down two men for two full minutes.

On the ensuing power play, Jarret Stoll converted on a blast from the high slot that beat a screened Nabokov high after being tipped in front by Smyth.

14 seconds later, Smyth scored again for his 500th NHL point, deflecting a Sykora point shot.

Just over a minute after that, Smyth struck again for a franchise-record third goal in two minutes and one second. Smyth's natural hat trick gave the Oilers the lead at 5-4.

Edmonton continued to control the play after the goal and a spectacular save by Nabokov, stacking the pads on a Staios breakaway helped keep his team down by only a goal.

After a strong penalty kill, the Oilers struck again to take a 6-4 lead. Ales Hemsky took a breakaway pass out of the penalty box from Tjarnqvist and wristed it glove side past Nabokov.
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