EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)— Ryan Smyth grew up idolizing Wayne Gretzky and now he broke one of his records.
The hurried hat trick broke Gretzky’s franchise record for fastest three goals by 17 seconds and pushed Smyth over the 500-point mark for his career.
“I just got on a good roll,” Smyth said. “Two of them were on the power play. I was just trying to help the team and contribute, not thinking about anything else. It turned out to be a pretty good one.”
Jonathan Cheechoo had three goals for the Sharks, who were going for the first 4-0 start in franchise history.
San Jose was leading 4-2 after the two periods. Kyle McLaren of the Sharks was called for two penalties and Smyth scored on both power plays, just 19 seconds apart. He then added the game-winner for his fifth career hat trick and fourth point of the night.
Oilers coach Craig MacTavish felt the record-breaking feat couldn’t have happened to a more deserving player.
“Any time you beat one of the Great One’s records, it is a pretty good night,” he said. “Good for Ryan. For a guy that grew up idolizing Wayne to get one of his records, it couldn’t be placed in a better spot. I’m sure he would appreciate something like that.”
The Sharks admitted they let a win get away.
“We have to play smarter in the third period,” Cheechoo said. “When you blow a lead like that, that’s not what you want. That’s not how you win playoff games. You have to be able to protect a two-goal lead at that point in the game. We had a few lapses.”
San Jose coach Ron Wilson says he will view this game as a valuable lesson for his team.
“We just didn’t have the poise to stop the bleeding and get the job done,” he said. “That happens every once in a while and I would rather it happened now than two months from now. It is a good learning experience and an opportunity for me to get everybody centered on what it takes to win at this level.”
The Sharks scored 3 minutes later when Cheechoo put a blistering shot from the slot past Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson to tie it.
Less than two minutes later, Cheechoo scored again on a two-man advantage. He completed his hat trick with power-play goal just over 6 minutes into the second period. Milan Michalek made it 4-2 minutes later when he scored on a two-man advantage.
Edmonton made it 4-2 with 8 minutes remaining in the second period when Joffrey Lupul scored on a rebound of a shot by Smyth.
Ales Hemsky made it 6-4 at 15:28 of the third.
It was the first time the teams met since the Oilers defeated the Sharks 4-2 in the second round of the playoffs, a series San Jose led 2-0. … The Sharks had only allowed one power-play goal in 18 opportunities before Thursday.