SAN JOSE -- The Sharks game presentation staff plays the theme from the movie Jaws just before a home power play. Lately, the theme from Benny Hill would have been more appropriate.
Patrick Marleau scored with the Sharks on a man advantage in the third period on Saturday night against Edmonton, though, and that proved to be the difference in a 3-2 victory at HP Pavilion. Prior to the goal, the Sharks had scored just twice in 35 chances over the last 10-plus games, including three failed attempts earlier against the Oilers.
We were trying to simplify things and get shots through and people to the net. It was nice to finally get one on the power play, said Marleau.
The goal came after Dan Boyle tossed the puck behind the net towards Jamie McGinn. McGinn tipped it to Joe Pavelski, who wheeled around from behind the net and spotted a charging Marleau on the other side.
Marleau made no mistake in finishing it off at 6:11 for the game-winner, giving the Sharks consecutive victories for the first time since Nov. 20-23.
Pav made a great play over to me and I found the back of the net, said Marleau.
The victory may have come at a cost, though. Marty Havlat, who scored his first even strength goal earlier in the game and just his second of the season, stepped awkwardly onto the ice from the bench in the third period and left through the tunnel without putting any weight on his left leg.
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Havlat was seen later leaving HP Pavilion with a pronounced limp and with the help of a walking stick.
He got hooked up on the boards, and other than that I cant give you an update right now, said Todd McLellan.
Although he has just two goals and has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, Havlat was playing his second consecutive strong game after a two-assist effort in Thursday nights 5-4 win against Colorado.
I thought he played great, said linemate Michal Handzus. Hopefully, its just minor.
Havlats goal opened the scoring at 8:36 of the first period, as the Oilers were caught in a line change and Havlat and Handzus broke in on a two-on-none. Havlat passed to Handzus, who hesitated a split second before sending it back towards Havlat, who tallied his first goal since Nov. 5 a span of 17 games.
Edmonton tied it up on Jordan Eberles 12th goal. The speedy winger skated the puck from the point and around White towards the goal and slipped it past Antti Niemi at 17:16. Edmonton took the lead with a shorthanded score in the second period, after Havlat failed to corral a pass from Demers at the defensive blue line. Ryan Jones raced in and fired it past Niemi at 5:28.
The Sharks tied it on Joe Thorntons marker at 14:33 during a four-on-four situation. San Jose had the Oilers scrambling in their own zone before Thornton got behind the defense and rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and slid in a pass from Marc-Edouard Vlasic for his first goal since Nov. 17 against Detroit.
That goal helped to erase a nightmarish first period for Thornton, in which the Sharks captain had four giveaways. It was the Sharks first four-on-four goal of the year.
The power play looked disorganized at best on its first two attempts in the second period, including Jones goal when Demers and Havlat got their signals crossed and turned it over. Late in the second, though, Havlat helped to generate some good chances with Ladislav Smid off on an interference call at 17:56.
A couple near misses later, the game was still tied at 2-2 after 40 minutes. But, the Sharks had some confidence back, setting them up for success in the third.
I think thats where we started to get some momentum and started feeling good about the power play, said Marleau. We were able to get another chance, and find the back of the net.
Meanwhile, coach Todd McLellan was doing everything in his power to get the power play off of the ground floor. Of the Sharks 18 forwards and defensemen, 14 of them skated at least one shift with the man advantage, including McGinn and Brad Winchester.
The power play is a privilege, in my opinion, said the coach. It starts with talented players, and they should be on the ice. Theyre the best players and rewarded to do that. You have to maintain your status there. Unless we clean it up, were going to see a lot more of those other guys on the ice, as well.
The other Achilles heel has been the penalty kill, which, despite entering the game ranked 29th in the league at 73.0 percent, managed to preserve the lead with Demers off on a borderline holding call at 9:07 of the third period.
It was the second straight night that unit succeeded when it needed to most, including the third period of Thursdays game against Colorado when the score was knotted at 4-4.
Two nights in a row it came up big in the third period and allowed us to win the third period, said McLellan. As we continue to repair that, weve got to continue to work on the power play. When its all said and done, those two areas have to get better for us to be a successful team.
The Sharks improved to 2-0 on their six-game homestand, which continues on Wednesday with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Weve got to take care of the home games. We know that, said Thornton.
Saturdays game also caps a stretch in which the Sharks played seven games in just 11 days. Theyll have Sunday off, and resume practice on Monday valuable time to work, according to Thornton.
We really havent practiced in two or three weeks, probably. It will be nice to practice some things and settle down and relax for a couple days before we play Wednesday, he said.
Odds and ends: Antti Niemi finished with 23 saves, while Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 34 of 37 Sharks shots. Colin White left the bench in the third period, and team trainers appeared to be working on his right wrist at one point. The Sharks reassigned defenseman Matt Irwin to Worcester following the game. San Jose won 34 of 58 faceoffs (59 percent). Joe Pavelski had a game-high three takeaways. Joe Thornton had six of his teams 18 giveaways. The Oilers lost their third in a row.