Sharks Outlast Oilers in Game 1 OT Thriller

Connor McDavid's line spent way too much time outside the Sharks' zone, and without the puck.

"We did a good job starting the game but we've got to finish", McDavid said.

PITTSBURGH - Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 31 shots in a surprise start in place of injured Matt Murray and the Pittsburgh Penguins opened their Stanley Cup title defence with a 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday night. Joe Pavelski leads San Jose with 29 goals, Brent Burns has 47 assists and Patrick Marleau has 190 shots on goal.

- It was also a tough night for Eric Gryba, who can be fingered with errors on two of the Sharks' three goals.

"I think as a team we played well in the beginning", said Zack Kassian, Edmonton's big forward. He said occasionally when they did break out of their own end they stayed out on the ice even though they were winded, trying to ignite a scoring chance instead of letting someone else hop over the boards.

"Our coaches probably know that team better than anybody in the league, so it will help", Eberle said. "We will be better next time".

It was the first playoff game in the Oilers' new downtown arena and the team's first postseason game in nearly 11 years. The Sharks entered the series Monday under a cloud of uncertainty, with injuries to top players Joe Thornton and Logan Couture as well as a string of lackluster performances to close out the regular season. He missed seven games after having his mouth and teeth smashed by a deflected puck.

The head of team sales admits the Canucks remain their biggest draw.

The Sharks are 2-6 in their last 8 road games, 5-1 in their last 6 Conference Quarterfinals games and 4-1 in their last 5 vs.

In the first period on Wednesday, energy and excitement created an illusion that was shattered as the game went on.

"We buy $40 worth of raffles every game", David Idzan told ESPN on Thursday, after he deposited the check at the bank. We just keep going.

The Sharks had a first period to forget but found a rhythm in the second period, with Joel Ward's power play goal helping to change the momentum.

McDavid passed the puck to Mark Letestu, who rifled the puck off Jones's goal pad right to Lucic. He shot again, this time through Jones' pads. Players who struggled mightily down the stretch as the Sharks squandered the nine-point lead that they held atop the Pacific Division on March 15 suddenly came to life, as if resuscitated. Joonas Donskoi came around behind the net and fed the puck in front on the backhand to Ward, who redirected the puck past Talbot.

San Jose tied the game just over five minutes into the third period when Martin jumped on a rebound off a Tomas Hertl wraparound shot and put the puck in.

The Sharks made the right adjustments, took back control in the 2nd and never looked back.

San Jose's power play, ranked an anaemic 25th in the regular season at 16.7 per cent, was otherwise ineffective. San Jose won, 3-2, in overtime.

Talbot said the Oilers' resiliency will now be tested. It's something we can take from them. "Hopefully, it's going to be a long series".

"The Edmonton Oilers are much more than Connor McDavid", said DeBoer.

  • Audrey Hill