Facing a lack of depth up the middle, Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan broke up what is arguably the NHL’s top line of Patrick Marleau
, Joe Thornton
and Devin Setoguchi. The move ended up being a stroke of genius as each of Thornton, Marleau and Joe Pavelski
’s lines scored on the night.
“When we win games, we have all four lines,” said Joe Pavelski
. “We talked about getting back to what we do well as a team.”
The game was definitely one of the more chippy affairs on the season with more than 23 penalties distributed by the referees. Four were for fighting and another couple could have been majors.
“The season is winding down and every two points is crucial,” said Joe Pavelski
The first fight of the night came courtesy of 43-year-old Claude Lemieux who battled with a player half his age.
“We needed that to get some emotion in the game,” said Thornton. “We fed off that. I think he’s playing very well.”
Lemieux laughed when informed the fight was his first penalty of the season.
“Things happen and the next thing you know you’re in a fight,” said Lemieux. “There wasn’t much emotion in our game. It’s not about fighting. It’s about being physical and having the intensity.”
Lemieux didn’t exactly come out on top against his younger opponent, but he had a good outlook on the bout.
“He beat up an old man,” joked Lemieux. “It may not be much for his resume. It was my first fight in (six) years.”
San Jose scored the first goal after a long drought in the category.
“We haven’t gotten it lately and it was a topic of conversation for us,” said Pavelski.
A crazy carom resulted in a temporary deficit for the Sharks. On a simple play where Edmonton fired the puck along the glass, an odd bounce came right to an Edmonton player who had a wide open net as Nabokov was still behind the net expecting the normal play of the puck.
“You can’t control that,” said Pavelski. “It is as bad of a bounce as you can get.”
Still, the Sharks did not worry about trailing.
“There is no panic in our game,” said Pavelski.
On Marleau’s game-winning shorthander, Mike Grier carried the puck through all three zones before passing the puck to Marleau at the last minute for the easy tap in. However, the offensive play began with an amazing defensive play by Dan Boyle
With Nabokov pulled out of position by an open shooter, a pass across the slot left an Edmonton player with an open net. However, Boyle stood in front of the shooter, forced a turnover and sent Grier and Marleau on their way.
“I think whatever Dan did worked and we were able to puck up the loose puck,” said Marleau.
The tally was Marleau’s fourth short-handed goal of the season, tying him for second among all NHL skaters in short-handed goals.
With his two goals, Marleau scored his 600th and 601st career point.
“I wasn’t aware, but hopefully there are a lot more to come,” said Marleau.
5 ON 3
Both clubs had five-on-threes that they were not able to convert on.
SINGLETARY IN THE HOUSE
New San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Mike Singletary was in the HP Pavilion crowd and visited with McLellan following the game.
Brad Staubitz was recalled for the contest and played 4:07. He was still en route during the morning skate, but arrived in the Bay Area just after Noon and was able to at least get in a pregame nap. Derek Joslin took part in the morning skate and then was sent back to Worcester.
LOT OF PIMS
San Jose tallied a single-game season-high of 40 penalty minutes. The previous high for the season was 34 minutes at Nashville on Nov. 17. The Sharks set a new 2008-09 season high for most penalties in a game with 13. The previous high was 11 penalties, also at Nashville on Nov. 17.
SHARKS HEAD COACH TODD MCLELLEN
“It was an emotional second period. It was very good for us to go through it. The first period I think you could tell we were coming back from a long trip. We were a little sluggish, they had played three games in four nights it wasn’t a real polished period. I’m not sure either team had a lot of emotion tied to the game, but once that entered it became a pretty competitive night.”
“[Claude Lemieux] He’s played hard every game he’s been here. He sacrifices his body, but tonight he sacrificed it a different way when he got involved in a scrum and it escalated.”
OILERS HEAD COACH CRAIG MacTAVISH
“The battle was good. The guys battled hard and stood up for one another and you know it was impressive in a lot of ways. I think that’s what we are going to take out of the game. You know on back to back nights we didn’t lay down that’s for sure and that was a real positive side of the game.”
“In a couple situations we didn’t do what we needed to do and it cost us the game probably ultimately. The game was there to get some points out of for sure.”
“Then we got desperate and tried to force a play that probably wasn’t the right decision and it ended up on the short handed goal.”
San Jose will face Los Angeles Pacific Division rival Los Angeles on Thursday night at HP Pavilion and the contest will be on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office and at www.ticketmaster.com.