Sharks Come Back From Being Down 2-0, Karlsson Wins Game One In Overtime 3-2

April 13, 2017

NHL, San Jose Sharks

San Jose Sharks’ Joel Ward (42) and Martin Jones (31) celebrate the team’s overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series Wednesday, April 12, 2017, Edmonton, Alberta. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

By Matthew Harrington

The San Jose Sharks needed their depth players to step up big time with Joe Thornton missing from game 1 of their opening round Stanley Cup Playoff matchup against the Edmonton Oilers and Logan Couture in a full cage to protect his injured jaw. They received that in spades, with Melker Karlsson scoring the overtime goal 3:22 into the extra session to help cap a comeback from being down 2-0. Joel Ward and Paul Martin also scored for the Sharks who found themselves trailing 2-0 after first period goals from Oskar Klefbom and Milan Lucic.

It was the tail of two different Sharks teams on the ice Wednesday, as the squad that took the ice in the first period allowed 10 shots and two goals on netminder Martin Jones for the Oilers. San Jose’s defensive strength shined through in the final 40-plus minutes, allowing only 9 shots on goal over the final two periods and overtime. San Jose also peppered Edmonton netminder Cam Talbot to the tune of 18 shots in the third period to give the Oilers a playoff loss in the first postseason contest at Rogers Place.

Karlsson’s goal came after a fortuitous break. The fore-checking Benoit Pouliot’s stick snapped while rushing Marc-Edouard Vlasic behind the Sharks net. The broken twig allowed Vlasic to rim the puck up the boards to Joe Pavelksi just past center ice. Pavelski had a wide open lane to pass to Karlsson on the opposite wing with the Swede burying a laser over Talbot’s glove for the win.

The Sharks tied the game with just over 5 minutes left in regulation on the 4-on-4 after a bit of work in the space Edmonton’s own, Wayne Gretzky, made so popular. After Mark Letestu failed to clear the puck from his own end, Hertl worked the puck behind the Edmonton net before swinging in front of Talbot. His initial shot didn’t go in, but Martin had crashed the net and was able to cash in on the tying goal.

Despite going 1-for-6 on the power play and not easing the woes of a dismal regular season power play San Jose’s first goal from Ward came on the man-advantage. Just 1:43 into the second, Joonas Donskoi fired a back-hander on Talbot after working his way from behind the net. His shot didn’t go in, but the author of a number of big playoff goals Ward was waiting to tap it in to cut Edmonton’s lead to 2-1.

The Oilers twice scored in the first period after the Sharks decided to lax up on defense. Klefbom was able to walk in without pressure to open the scoring with 6:46 into the first. The Sharks found themselves in a bigger hole after allowing a Lucic power play goal with 2:53 left in the period. After looking lackluster on their first kill, the Sharks short-handed unit rebounded to kill off 2 of 3 penalties.

The Sharks have a chance to take a 2-0 lead without touching home ice when they play Edmonton Friday night at Rogers Place. Joe Thornton could rejoin the team after skating in practice again Wednesday morning. He would be a huge help to the Sharks power play looking to bump the Oilers from the playoffs in their first appearance since 2006.


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