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Sharks move to 7-0 after shootout win over Oilers

The SportsXchange

SAN JOSE -- Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk became the first goalie to stop Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau, but his Oilers teammates couldn't end the Sharks' other streak.

San Jose improved to a perfect 7-0 as Michal Handzus and Dan Boyle scored in the shootout for a 3-2 win over the young Oilers on Thursday night.

"It was a pretty good road game," Dubnyk said. "We got down 2-0 on two quick goals, but we responded to put us in a spot to be down 2-1 going to the third. It's a really tough building."

Sharks goalie Antti Niemi was perfect in the shootout for a second straight game. It helped, however, that neither Edmonton shooter -- Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- managed to put a shootout attempt on net. Gagner fired over the cage, while Nugent-Hopkins shot wide.

San Jose's start to the season is the best in franchise history. The Sharks are the NHL's only remaining undefeated team. Before this season, San Jose's best start came in 2008-09, when it began the year 4-0-0.

"We can still improve, but it was better than last game," Thornton said. "The power play was a little off, but our (penalty-killing) was good. It was a good two points."

Edmonton tied the game 51 seconds into the final period when Taylor Hall capped a 2-on-1 break with his second goal of the season. Boyle was caught behind the play, leaving only rookie Matt Irwin to defend Jordan Eberle and Hall.

The Sharks took a 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes with the game's first three goals all occurring within a four-minute stretch of the second period.

Consecutive Edmonton turnovers resulted in San Jose taking a 2-0 lead on goals separated by 39 seconds. The Sharks have scored the first goal in six of their seven games this season.

First, Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney coughed up a puck in the neutral zone to send Logan Couture in for an unassisted goal, his fifth of the season on a shot between Dubnyk's pads at 7:32.

Then Edmonton defenseman Ladislav Smid turned the puck over in the same spot as Whitney, allowing Joe Pavelski to skate in and beat Dubnyk top shelf at 8:11 to extend his points streak to seven games with a fourth goal.

"The more sexy thing is the offense," Thornton said. "Obviously we're scoring a lot of goals, but we're winning because of our defense. They go hand in hand."

Thornton had 14 points in the first six games, while Marleau, on the strength of nine goals, matched his linemate's point total through six. The two took their turns peppering Dubnyk in the third period, but neither could find the back of the net.

"He played strong, he played big, he's a good goalie," Thornton said.

The Oilers cut the lead in half at 10:56 of the second period when Gagner redirected a Mark Fistric drive from the middle of the blue line past Niemi. The play started when Ryane Clowe turned a puck over just inside the visitors' blue line.

In a game that featured the top highest-rated power plays in the league, top-ranked San Jose (0-for-5) and Edmonton (0-for-3) combined for eight failures. The Sharks have killed 16 straight penalties dating back to the third period against Phoenix on Jan. 24.

"The defense is going pretty good," Boyle said. "Guys are coming back, checking hard, blocking shots, and that's the key to winning."

Niemi got the win by making 26 saves. Dubnyk finished with 38 saves.

NOTES: Scott Gomez was promoted to San Jose's second line alongside left wing Ryane Clowe and center Couture, while right wing Martin Havlat was dropped to the third line next to center Handzus and left wing Tommy Wingels. ... Edmonton was without captain Shawn Horcoff, who sustained a strained neck Wednesday. The Oilers recalled rookie center Anton Lander from Oklahoma City, while forward Magnus Paajarvi was sent to the AHL affiliate. Defenseman Corey Potter was a healthy scratch. ... Defenseman Jason Demers was added to San Jose's roster. He started the season on injured reserve with a wrist injury. Demers did not dress along with forward TJ Galiardi and defenseman Nick Petrecki. ... Forward Frazer McLaren, placed on waivers by San Jose, was claimed by Toronto. "Frazer has worked hard, and we wish him all the best," Sharks general manager Doug Wilson said.
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