1/26 sharks 5, EDMONTON 1
Twice this season the Sharks had played the Oilers, and twice this season the Sharks had the Oilers beat. Keying on the word had, they led in both games, only to be outhustled later in the game by the boys from Edmonton. However, on this night, the Sharks had the jump from the first whistle, and despite going down by 1 midway through the first, they were able to battle back, take control in the second, and stay solid in the third.
Last time the Sharks were in this building, they had a 4-2 lead after the first 40, and fell asleep in the third, allowing the Oilers to come back and take the victory, however last night, there was no such comeback. Patrick Marleau lead the way for the Sharks with a pair of goals. Mike Grier, Patrick Rissmiller, and Joe Thornton also scored for the Sharks, who only won for the fourth time in the last 14 games against the Oilers. Ryane Clowe had 3 assists, Josh Gorges added a pair of helpers, and Vesa Toskala, usually shaky at Rexall, recorded 20 saves for his 21st victory of the season.
Rexall Place has always been a tough place for the Sharks to play, as it is more compact than most other buildings, increasing the noise levels greatly, and putting those really loud fans right over the ice. As I found out last time I was here in Edmonton, the fans here are passionate for their boys and the game of hockey, and are just overall nice people. On this night I had the pleasure of meeting quite a few Oil fans, and actually ended up spending most of the game engaging in conversations with those sitting around me. Despite a few of those conversations being "previous SJ/Ed contest results", it was a very fun evening, slightly highlighted by the outcome of the game. As I have in many cities, I now have new friends/readers of the blog, at least temporarily, in Mark and Lauds, two of Alberta's finest teachers (or at least that's what they told me).
From the cold (9F today in Edmonton), the Sharks will go westward towards the Pacific tomorrow (Sunday) for a matchup with the Vancouver Canucks (7:00 pst). The Canucks sit tied with Calgary atop the Northwest Division, spurred by their great play 7-1-2) in their last 10 games. The two teams have met just once this year, in Vancouver, with the Sharks leaving GM Place with a 6-4 victory.
Side note: Because of the Sharks off day, I am in Edmonton today and have the opportunity to go to the Oilers/Kings game. Expect a small recap tomorrow.
Go Sharks (hooray for no more Ryan Smyth nightmares)
Upside-down oil drop.