Oilers 5, Sharks 2

Preview | Box Score | Recap

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—Oilers forward Raffi Torres got his NHL career off to a good start.

He still has a long way to go before he is as revered in Edmonton as Grant Fuhr.

Torres scored the tiebreaking goal and added an assist in his Oilers debut and Ryan Smyth added two goals as Edmonton beat the San Jose Sharks 5-2 Thursday night.

“I think I’ll have some trouble sleeping,” the 22-year-old Torres said after scoring his first NHL goal. “I couldn’t ask for more.”

The season opener for both teams began with a pregame ceremony for Hall of Fame goalie Fuhr, who had his No. 31 jersey retired to the rafters alongside those of Oilers greats Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri and Al Hamilton.

Torres, acquired last season from the New York Islanders, broke a 2-2 tie in the third period when he knocked a rebound past Evgeni Nabokov at 14:48.

“I just saw a loose puck and got it on net,” said Torres, who plans to send the puck home to his parents in Toronto.

Torres set up Shawn Horcoff’s goal in the second period.

“Raffi was great,” Horcoff said. “When he makes that big hit, dropping guys, that’s going to create turnovers.”

Jason Chimera also scored for the Oilers, who outshot the Sharks 28-21.

Kyle McLaren was called for a vicious high-sticking penalty on Georges Laraque at 15:55 of the third, and Smyth scored the first of his two less than a minute later. He added his second with 2:02 left.

“For five seconds, I didn’t know where I was,” Laraque said.

“What did we get, three or four penalties in the last seven minutes?” said newly appointed San Jose captain Mike Ricci. “You can’t do that in the NHL.

“We have to learn from that and make sure it never happens again.”

Jonathon Cheechoo and Milan Michalik scored for San Jose.

Edmonton’s fourth line of Torres, Horcoff and Laraque was the best of the night.

“We don’t really worry about line positioning,” Laraque said. “The lines that deliver are lines he’s (head coach Craig MacTavish) going to play.”

MacTavish took note of the line’s play.

“They were just hungry for the puck,” he said. “It was just a great performance out of all three of them.”

Horcoff’s goal followed a tentative start for both teams, neither of which looked eager to shoot.

Mike York registered the first shot of the game about 7 1/2 minutes into the opening period, while the Oilers were short-handed.

Having the man advantage didn’t help, either.

Between San Jose’s first two attempts on the power play and Edmonton’sfirst, neither team managed a shot on net.


: Smyth played for Edmonton despite a fractured right index finger. He led the Oilers with 61 points last season. … San Jose’s Marco Sturm took a puck in the face while sitting on the bench late in the second period. Sturm had to leave the game to receive medical attention for a large cut on his nose and did not return. … Edmonton is 12-9-4 in home openers since entering theNHL 25 seasons ago. The Oilers are 10-5-3when starting on home ice.

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Goalie Team Shot Save
Evgeni Nabokov SJ 28 23
Tommy Salo Col 21 19