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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Sharks

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Dany Heatley scored a pair of second period goals to give his team a 3-1 lead heading into the final frame. Despite a late third period scare, the Sharks were able to hold off the Oilers and come away victorious by a 4-3 count.

Sam Gagner scored once and added an assist to lead the Oilers offensively, while Shawn Horcoff and Jim Vandermeer picked up the other Oilers markers. Edmonton had won two of its last three games, but fell short tonight to close out a brief two-game homestand with a loss to the highly-skilled Sharks.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

After the Oilers skated into the first intermission with a 1-1 tie and a 9-5 shot advantage, it was the Sharks who rebounded in the middle frame to take over the game. Dany Heatley scored just 2:06 into the period and silenced the Rexall Place crowd, as well as the Oilers' opening period momentum. Edmonton was unable to generate much offensively following this goal, with only four shots recorded for their efforts. Heatley would score another in the period and provide the Oilers with a steep hill to climb in the third.

47 The Oilers won only 47% of the faceoffs tonight; however, everyone on the team was over 50% except for Colin Fraser and Zack Stortini who combined for a 0-for-7 night.
20 After getting physically worked in the two teams' last meeting, the Oilers responded tonight as they dished out 20 hits (the Sharks delivered 12).
35 Both defensive groups came to play tonight, as the Oilers and Sharks combined to block an incredible 35 shots.
6 With the Oilers evening the Sharks in shots on goal tonight (25 a piece), captain Shawn Horcoff led the way with six of his own.

Dany Heatley
G A P +/- Shots
2 1 3 +1 4

Sam Gagner
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 E 5

Justin Braun
G A P +/- Shots
0 2 2 +2 3

Antero Niittymaki
25 22 3 59:54 .880

Devan Dubnyk
25 21 4 59:00 .840

Dan Boyle - D

30:31 - 1A, -1 rating

Ryan Whitney - D

26:10 - 1A, -2 rating

With the influx of new talent and inconsistency throughout the lineup so far this season, Sam Gagner has been cast in a number of different roles. He's had success, regardless of who his linemates are. On this night, Gagner capitalized after receiving a beautiful feed from linemate Dustin Penner. Gagner drove to the net and put a shot on goal that was turned away. Though now off balance, Gagner wasn't phased. He stayed hard on the puck and followed up his rebound, as he reached around a sprawling Niittymaki to pot his sixth goal of the season. All around, a wonderful effort.

A chorus of boos from the Rexall Place faithful couldn't stop dynamic scorer Dany Heatley from making an impact tonight. Heatley scored a pair of second period goals to provide his team with a 3-1 lead in the final frame. The pair of goals silenced the crowd, the Oilers, and put the hometown team in a deep hole entering the third. In addition to his goals, Heatley played 20:15 and recorded a plus-one rating.

Ryan Whitney had another strong evening for the Oilers. While most of his heroics this season have been the result of strong offensive play and brilliant breakout passes, Whitney was particularly strong defensively tonight. He played 26:10 of solid defensive hockey, though his plus-minus wouldn't reflect that with an unusual minus-two rating. Whitney did, however, stand out in other areas: One hit, one takeaway, three blocked shots, and an assist highlighted the blueliner's evening.

Once again it was J-F Jacques that initiated a strong physical tone. The puck was dumped into the opposite corner from centre ice early in the first, where Jacques immediately went in chase of Sharks defenceman Douglas Murray. The large blueliner played the puck, but knew the hit was on its way. Jacques connected, dazing Murray for a moment as the Rexall Place crowed was electrified. This was just the appetizer, as Jacques carried his solid physical play throughout the evening with a total of five hits.

With his assist on Sam Gagner's first period goal, Dustin Penner recorded his 100th career assist. Fitting that it came against the Sharks, as Penner has scored more points against San Jose than any other NHL team (19 points in 25 games).

"The effort was there, I think. But we need wins right now. I think against an experienced team like they are -- ten minutes they took it to us and we weren't able to hold them off."

Shawn Horcoff on the loss to San Jose

Monday, November 29 vs. Ottawa
  5:30 p.m. MT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

After falling short in the final game of a brief two-game homestand, the Oilers head east to take on the Senators Monday night at Scotiabank Place. The Oilers will be looking to get back on track against in the first of a three-game road trip.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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