EDMONTON, Alberta – Joe Thornton tied the game at 2-2 with just 10.7 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Sharks fell to the Oilers in a shootout, 3-2, in their season opener Thursday night in Edmonton.
Click here for pictures (PICS ) and video (VIDEO ) from Thursday night's game.
The San Jose Sharks traveled north of the border on Thursday night for their 2007-08 season opener against the Edmonton Oilers. Rookie forward Torrey Mitchell made his NHL debut while Jeremy Roenick, playing in his 19th NHL season, played his first game as a Shark.
Both teams came out flying in the first, trading power plays and scoring chances in the opening half of the stanza. Steve Bernier hammered a heavy shot off the post to Dwayne Roloson’s right as did Mitchell, but neither were able to find the mesh.
Evgeni Nabokov was effective in his first 20 minutes of work, easily turning aside all seven Oilers shots he faced. Nabokov also controlled the pace in the Sharks defensive zone, freezing several pucks for faceoffs. The first period ended in a scoreless tie.
The high-octane first period was followed by a slow and grinding second that saw each team muster only four shots on net. Thornton rang the post, the third of the game for the Sharks, with a blast to open the second, but the two teams remained scoreless. The pace was slowed by a surplus of minor penalties, resulting in intermittent power play time for each team.
The pesky Raffi Torres was up to his old tricks, running at the youngster Mitchell with his knee at the midpoint of the period. Douglas Murray took exception to the cheap shot and challenged Torres to a fight. Though Torres seemed to be a willing combatant, Murray was hit with the two-minute minor for instigating, a five-minute major for fighting and the automatic 10-minute misconduct.
Both teams remained scoreless after two periods of play.
The opening three minutes of the third saw three tallies with the Sharks on the wrong end of the equation. Captain Patrick Marleau scored the first goal of the season for the Sharks on a brilliant feed from Thornton. But the Sharks lead would only last for 71 seconds.
Back-to-back goals by the Oilers at 1:37 and 2:51 of the third made it 2-1, re-energized the crowd and put San Jose back on their heels. Roloson denied San Jose’s bids for the equalizer through much of the period, but with one minute left in regulation, the former League MVP took over.
|Joe Pavelski beats Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson in a shootout attempt on October 4, 2007 at Rexall Place in Edmonton. The Oilers defeated the Sharks 3-2 (SO). |
Thornton first drew a penalty on Sheldon Souray with 42 seconds remaining, the converted on the ensuing power play. Craig Rivet, who earned assists on both Sharks goals, found Thornton in the faceoff circle to Roloson’s left. Thornton ripped a shot off the post, sending the game to overtime.
Neither team was able to generate any scoring chances in the extra frame, sending the game to a shootout. San Jose sent shooters Jonathan Cheechoo, Ryane Clowe, Joe Pavelski and Marleau to face Roloson, but only Pavelski scored on his attempt.
The Oilers selected Ales Hemsky, Robert Nilsson, Marty Reasoner and Jarrett Stoll to face Nabokov. Nilsson and Stoll converted giving Edmonton the 3-2 (SO) victory on opening night.
MITCHELL STRONG IN DEBUT
Torrey Mitchell had a strong showing in his NHL debut, nearly netting his first career NHL goal. Though his name didn’t end up on the scoresheet, the Montreal native rang a shot of the post, drew two penalties, registered two shots on goal and had two blocked shots in 16:32 of work.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
With the offseason departure of former alternate captain Scott Hannan, Head Coach Ron Wilson and his staff named Mike Grier one of the team’s alternate captains. Grier, who wore the “A” last season when Captain Patrick Marleau was sidelined with a separated shoulder, had an active game on the penalty kill on Thursday night, leading the Sharks PK unit to an impressive 6-for-6 night.
Marleau – Thornton – Cheechoo
Rissmiller – Goc – Grier
Clowe – Pavelski – Bernier
Michalek – Mitchell – Roenick
Carle – Rivet
Murray – Vlasic
McLaren – Ehrhoff
Nabokov – Patzold
The Sharks play their first set of back-to-back games this season, returning to action Friday night in Vancouver against the Canucks. Game time is set for 7:00 PM (Pacific) and will be broadcast on FSN Bay Area, KFOX 98.5 FM, Sharks Radio Network Affiliates and SJSHARKS.com.