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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Sharks

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Despite opening the game with a beautiful shorthanded goal and bringing the sold out Rexall Place crowd to life, that was the last of the goal-scoring action for Edmonton on this night. San Jose responded with six unanswered goals en route to a 6-1 decision. Dany Heatley, Logan Couture, Joe Pavelski, Dan Boyle, John McCarthy & Ryan Clowe scored for the winning Sharks, while Jordan Eberle scored the Oilers' lone tally.

While the Oilers got the first goal of the game to secure the early lead and momentum, the Sharks were quick to respond later in the frame to notch the game at one. The Oilers were unable to come back following that goal, despite a few quality scoring chances later in the game. Some undisciplined play, combined with a poor penalty kill, secured the Oilers' fate later in the second and third periods to seal the win for San Jose.

39 After having a solid night in the faceoff circle against the Wild, the Oilers struggled again tonight; winning only 39% of the draws.
40 The Oilers' early season struggles on the penalty kill continued tonight, despite a shorthanded goal. The Sharks went 3-for-5 with the man advantage, making Edmonton's kill success rate a disastrous 40%.
12 It was a sloppily played game for much of the night for the two teams. Both Edmonton and San Jose each accounted for 12 giveaways.
4 After starting the season with two consecutive wins, the Oilers have now lost four consecutive decisions as they prepare to hit the road for their next three games.

Joe Pavelski
G A P +/- Shots
1 2 3 E 2

Joe Thornton
G A P +/- Shots
0 3 3 -1 1

Devin Setoguchi
G A P +/- Shots
0 0 0 +2 2

Antero Niittymaki
22 21 1 60:00 .955

Nikolai Khabibulin
34 28 6 59:51 .823

Dan Boyle - D

23:46 - 1G, E rating

Ryan Whitney - D

24:30 - 1A, +1 rating

Jordan Eberle's second goal of the season rivaled the beauty of his first, and perhaps it was equally impressive considering where the play began. While the Oilers were killing a penalty, captain Shawn Horcoff collected the puck in his own end and make a perfect behind-the-back pass to find Eberle in full flight as he cut through the neutral zone. Eberle bulled his way to the net, beating the Sharks defenceman in the process as he tucked the puck away to give the Oilers an early 1-0 lead.
Click to watch the goal

Joe Pavelski had an amazing night for the Sharks. Offensively, defensively and on special teams -- Pavelski was there to answer the call. A solid three-point (one goal, two assists) night was the catalyst for the Sharks' offensive attack all night. After a strong coming out party during last year's playoffs, Pavelski looks poised to carry his strong play into this season and carry much of the offensive load for an already dynamic Sharks team.

Shawn Horcoff had a solid night for the Oilers despite the unfortunate result. Horcoff provided his signature work ethic throughout the night and helped provide a spark of offensive creativity. Not only did he assist on Eberle's shorthanded goal early in the game, but his work down low and in the corners helped to provide a sustained forecheck, which was an issue for the team on this night.

After the fourth line was benched for much of Thursday's loss to the division rival Minnesota Wild, they answered the call tonight with some solid energy shifts that helped to lift the momentum in the Oilers' favour. A crunching hit by Zack Stortini midway through the second provided some life for the team, as Stortini leveled his man and accepted the challenge to an ensuing fight. Unfortunately for the Oilers, they weren't able to sustain the momentum and ended up on the losing end tonight.

With the win tonight, San Jose has now gone 3-0 on the road to start the season for the first time in franchise history (San Jose entered the NHL for the 1991-92 season).

"Let's see. We had a pretty easy play in the second period where we just needed to rim the puck out -- chip it outside the blueline and they were able to keep it in and score a goal. I thought that really demoralized our group."

- Head Coach Tom Renney on Saturday's loss

Tuesday October 26 vs. Calgary
  7:00 p.m. MT (Sportsnet Flames / 630 CHED)

The Oilers and Flames meet for the third time in this young season as both teams continue to try and find their footing in the standings.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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