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Sharks crush Oilers behind six-goal first period

The SportsXchange

EDMONTON -- The San Jose Sharks are made up of some rather old dogs, but they managed to teach Edmonton's celebrated young pups some new tricks Tuesday.

The Sharks rolled up a newspaper and smacked the Oilers in the nose, scoring six goals in the first period of a 6-3 rout at Rexall Place.

"We got off to a good start," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan, whose club scored twice in the first five minutes, both on the power play. "There was a lot of talk of them skating and taking the tempo to us. We wanted to turn the tables on them a little bit and put pucks in areas where we could use our size.

"As it turns out, we got on the power play and got a good start on them. We'd like to bottle that up and play a full 60 minutes. I don't think we played the last 40 the way we wanted to, it's still a work in progress."

The Oilers, coming off a season-opening victory in Vancouver and with five young stars in their lineup, had all kinds of confidence and momentum heading into their home opener. It was gone in a matter of minutes.

"If pain is going to make us a better team, than that's a lot of pain right there," said Oilers coach Ralph Krueger, who thought his team was more interested in trying to put on a show than playing sound, fundamental hockey. "There was an unbelievable lack of positioning. We apologize for the overall score."

Back-to-back penalties on Edmonton's Ales Hemsky and Jeff Petry in the first 3:03 marked the beginning of the end. San Jose made it 1-0 on the two-man advantage (Dan Boyle at 3:17), then 2-0 in the second minor (Logan Couture at 4:30), and the rout was on.

The Oilers simply couldn't recover as the Sharks kept piling up the goals, each one seemingly easier than the last.

The Sharks kept pouring it on.

Patrick Marleau scored back-to-back goals at 10:02 and 11:07, Couture scored at 18:09 and Marc-Edouard Vlasic rounded out San Jose's scoring at 19:20.

"For us, going into other team's buildings for their home openers, we knew it was going to be tough," said San Jose's Thornton, who had three assists. "They got into penalty problems early on, and we were able to take advantage of it.

"Coming into buildings like this when they're having their home opener, emotions are high, but I thought we did a pretty good job in the last two games."

Trailing 6-1 after 20 minutes, the Oilers were booed off their own ice.

The Sharks made it look easy. They controlled Edmonton's end of the ice and simply used their size to play keep away in Oilers territory.

Rookies Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz each scored their first goals for Edmonton in the loss, but it was small consolation to a capacity crowd.

Taylor Hall also scored as the Oilers launched something of a comeback attempt after San Jose eased up, but a five-goal deficit was too much ground to make up.

It was simply a case of a veteran team having its way with a young team.

"I'm sure in 10 years I'm really going to take pride in sticking it to young guys who are trying to make their way in the league," sighed Hall, adding that's exactly what happened Tuesday. "They have a lot of veterans on that team, and when we start like that, they have the presence of mind to really take advantage of it."

NOTES: Marleau, Thornton and Couture each had three points in the first period. ... Edmonton left wing Ben Eager, cut near the eye in a fight with Vancouver's Zack Kassian on Sunday, didn't play. He has history of concussions, so the Oilers want to make sure everything's OK before he goes back in. ... Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (offseason hip surgery) still isn't ready for a roster spot, so Yann Danis backed up Dubnyk, who got pulled after giving up six goals in the first period. ... Scott Gomez, whose contract was recently bought out by the Montreal Canadiens, is putting the finishing touches on a contract with the Sharks. He's been auditioning for the team for several days.
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