Melker Karlsson's OT goal helps San Jose Sharks steal Game 1 win over Edmonton Oilers

By Steven Sandor, The Sports Xchange  |  April 13, 2017 at 9:00 AM
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EDMONTON, Alberta -- Edmonton Oilers goalie Cam Talbot faced a barrage of 44 shots and was named one of the three stars in his team's first playoff game in 11 years.

But he's thinking about the one that got away.

Melker Karlsson's wrist shot that beat him at 3:22 of overtime allowed the San Jose Sharks to roar back from a two-goal deficit and take Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series, 3-2.

"Throughout the whole game, I thought I made some big saves, so I don't know what I could have done differently on the first couple of goals," Talbot said. "The third one just beat me clean. That's maybe a save I've got to make in an overtime period. But give them credit; they didn't give us a whole lot of chances. They were the better team tonight."

Karlsson took a feed from Joe Pavelski before snapping home the winner.

"We played a solid game, pretty good defensively," Karlsson said. "We got the chance, and I snuck it in. I got a little space and (Pavelski) saw me in the middle. It was a half-breakaway. It was nice. "

The Oilers rolled out to a two-goal, first-period lead. At the end of one, the shots were at 10 apiece.

But, after that, it was all Sharks. They outshot the Oilers 34-9 through the second, third and overtime frames.

"Not too sure whether they raised their game or our game fell off," said regular-season leading scorer Connor McDavid, who had an assist Wednesday. "It's tough to say. I thought we got a little bit comfortable, which can't happen. We've got to find a way to play the full 60."

Sharks goalie Martin Jones had to make just 17 saves.

The Oilers opened the scoring at 6:44 when Oscar Klefbom took a cross-ice pass from Jordan Eberle and took a low shot that deflected off Sharks defenseman David Schlemko and into the goal. Klefbom finished the season with seven points in the last four games.

Milan Lucic, who got an assist on Klefbom's goal, snapped a wrist shot past Jones at 17:07. The power-play goal saw McDavid, who tallied 100 points during the season, earn the first playoff assist of his career.

Lucic was a force, delivering several crushing checks through the first period that earned roars from the capacity crowd.

But the Oilers' momentum came to a grinding halt.

At 1:43 of the second, Joel Ward cut the lead in half on a San Jose man-advantage, banging home a nifty backhanded pass from Sharks winger Joonas Donskoi.

A minute into the third, Drake Caggiula had a breakaway chance to give Edmonton a 3-1 lead, but his stick broke before he could unleash a shot on Jones.

The near-miss was costly as, with 14:38 left, Sharks defenseman Paul Martin streaked off the blue line to bang a loose puck past Talbot.

Donskoi had his power-play tip effort go off the post with a little more than seven minutes left, setting the stage for overtime.

"We were confident we could go out and turn things around," said Sharks center Logan Couture, who played his first game since taking a puck in the face on March 25. "We forechecked them hard, and they got caught on some long shifts. Wardo scored a big goal. From the second period on, we had control of that game. It was just a matter of time before the puck was going to go in."

"We just had to stick with it," Karlsson said. "We know we have some depth if we keep rolling it. And we did. It's a tough league and anybody can win. It's the team that sticks with it that is going to win this."

The Oilers took six penalties on the night. The Sharks scored on just one of their power plays, but the time spent on the penalty kill took its toll on the home team.

"The biggest thing is we've got to stay out of the box," Eberle said. "I think you lose momentum by doing that. The guys who kill are wasting a lot of energy, and the guys who aren't (are) sitting on the bench. So, you don't get a lot of flow in the game, so you can't roll the lines and play the way we know we can play."

NOTES: For Game 1, the Oilers sold concourse passes for $80 (Canadian) each, which admitted a limited number of fans to the arena, but without views of the ice. ... The Oilers' previous visit to the playoffs was in 2006, when they got all the way to the Stanley Cup Final. That year, they beat San Jose 4-2 in the Western Conference semifinal. ... Sharks C Joe Thornton, who has been nursing a knee issue over the last week, was not able to go. ... The Sharks also scratched C Micheal Haley, RW Kevin Labanc and D Dylan DeMelo. ... The Oilers scratched C Matt Hendricks, D Matthew Benning, LW Jujhar Khaira and LW Anton Slepyshev.

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