Oilers defeat Sharks on Desharnais' OT goal
(TSX / STATS) -- EDMONTON, Alberta -- When David Desharnais played for the Montreal Canadiens, he played with another diminutive forward, Daniel Briere. And Briere kept telling Desharnais that, on any given night, a player had to be ready to be a hero.
Desharnais, who was traded from the Canadiens to the Edmonton Oilers in late February, took that advice to heart.
With the Oilers down by one Thursday late in the third period against the San Jose Sharks, he set up the tying goal, then scored the winner at 18:15 of overtime.
Edmonton beat San Jose 4-3 and now leads the Western Conference first-round playoff series 3-2. The winner of the best-of-seven series will face the Anaheim Ducks, who swept the Calgary Flames.
"Daniel Briere once told me that he's always had success in the playoffs and he visualizes himself scoring goals," Desharnais said. "I did that tonight, and I got the goal. Everybody can be a hero just on one shot. You need to think that."
Once Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom tied the game with 2:46 remaining in the third, it felt as if the Sharks were simply hanging on. Edmonton outshot San Jose 48-30, including 14-2 in overtime. If not for San Jose goalie Martin Jones, who made a trio of wonderful saves in OT, it wouldn't have gone as long as it did.
First, Jones closed the pads to rob Leon Draisaitl, and then he got a stick extended to stop what looked to be a tap-in for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Finally, he sprawled across the crease to rob Connor McDavid.
Jones finished with 44 saves, while Oilers goalie Cam Talbot stopped 27 shots.
"They were tired," Desharnais said of the Sharks, who blew a 3-1 lead. "We were just all over them. They were icing the puck, they were tired on the ice, and we kept shooting and we got the big goal."
Sharks captain Joe Pavelski said, "They were going in overtime. For whatever reason, we just didn't get it going. One line would hang in there a little too long and then dump it out. We never won a faceoff or got going just enough to turn it.
"It just takes one shot and we had a chance or two. I sent one over to Jumbo (Joe Thornton), and that was just an ice issue, I think. It would have been nice to have the attempt to cash in there. It is the way it goes. We have to regroup now. Every game is fresh, and we have to go and take care of business at home."
Oilers center Mark Letestu, who scored in the second period to cut San Jose's lead to 3-2, believed it was simply a matter of time.
"We thought eventually it was going to go in," Letestu said. "(Jones) is only human. Eventually the puck's going to find a way to the back of the net. I thought we were pressing the right way. We weren't taking too many chances; they were just kind of coming for us."
Edmonton's Patrick Maroon, who scored a career-high 27 regular-season goals but had been snake-bitten in the playoffs, opened the scoring at 5:28 when he banged home a rebound off a point shot from Matthew Benning.
Had it not been for a few inches, the Oilers could have been up by a bunch halfway through the first. Darnell Nurse twice hit goal posts with his shots, and then Jordan Eberle rang one off the iron.
Those posts came back to bite the Oilers at 10:12 as the Sharks tied it on a goal from Mikkel Boedker, who was wide open in front of the goal to take a pass from Chris Tierney.
The Sharks took a 2-1 lead at 15:52 of the first period. Thanks to a turnover from Milan Lucic and a bad Edmonton line change, Thornton and Patrick Marleau surged up the ice on a two-on-one. Marleau poked home a rebound off Thornton's shot that squeezed through Talbot and sat on the goal line.
At 8:38 of the second as a Sharks power play was ending, Edmonton native David Schlemko's seeing-eye shot from the point found the net, giving the Sharks a two-goal margin.
With 1:27 left in the second and the Oilers on a power play, Letestu made it 3-2, converting a no-look feed from Draisaitl.
Late in the third, Klefbom's blast caromed off the post and went in. Desharnais made the pass to set up the goal.
"We went to overtime and couldn't get back on our toes again and re-establish the forecheck," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. "Up to that point, we were two minutes away from winning. We did a great job with the lead in the third period, but they found a way.
"You're playing with fire when you're playing in your own end all the time. We couldn't re-establish any offensive momentum, and I think it was because of our mindset in the last 10 minutes of the third. We did a good job of defending but made one mistake and couldn't get it back."
NOTES: After the morning skate, Oilers RW Leon Draisaitl addressed his Game 4 spear of Sharks C Chris Tierney. "I think everyone knows I'm the last guy that wants to play that type of game. It was a bad play by me," Draisaitl said. ... Sharks RW Mikkel Boedker, a scratch in Game 4, returned to the lineup in Game 5, replacing RW Joonas Donskoi. ... The Sharks also scratched D Dylan DeMelo and C Micheal Haley. ... The Oilers scratched D Eric Gryba, C Matt Hendricks, RW Iiro Pakarinen and LW Jujhar Khaira. ... With an assist, Oilers C Connor McDavid snapped his two-game pointless streak.
Updated April 21, 2017