SUN Hockey Pool

No finish for Oilers in loss

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Like so many teams that visit the Shark Tank, the Edmonton Oilers were reduced to chum last night.

But they were anything but friendly.

Edmonton showed a lot of energy for a road-weary hockey club, throwing the same kind of anger and aggression that served them so well in the 2006 playoff upset of San Jose, but it wasn't enough.

The Sharks, hungry and angry themselves after a brutal road trip, gave as much as they took in a 4-2 victory that snapped their three-game losing streak, as well as Edmonton's three-game winning streak.

If last night's spirited, physical and often nasty see-saw battle was any indication of what another playoff series between these two teams might offer, it would be fun to see them go at it again this spring -- but the Oilers will have to get there first.

It wasn't for lack of trying that they let this one get away. There was a lot of battle, but not enough finish to go with it.

San Jose took a 1-0 lead in the first, but less than two minutes after Joe Pavelski put the Sharks in front, Zack Stortini squared it with his fourth of the season.

Late in the first period Erik Cole snapped his nine-game scoring drought when Evgeni Nabokov went out to play a puck that took a strange bounce off the glass and landed on Cole's stick for an empty- netter at 19:08.

Cole's power-play goal was Edmonton's seventh in the last four games.

The Oilers led 2-1 after 20 minutes and were feeling pretty good.

It didn't last. The Sharks, 23-2-3 at home this season, came roaring back, scoring three straight goals to take the lead.

Patrick Marleau led the charge, tying the game at 1:38 and then putting them ahead 3-2 on a shorthanded goal after Edmonton blew an extended five-on-three power play. Shawn Horcoff passed up a shot in the slot, Mike Grier and Marleau turned the ensuing turnover into a two-on-two and Marleau burned past Sheldon Souray and took the pass for an easy back-breaking tap in.

Joe Thornton made it 4-2 in the final minute of the second period on a rebound goal.

The Oilers close out the road trip in Dallas tomorrow.

PISANI DELAYED: FERNANDO PISANI HAD A CT SCAN ON HIS ANKLE, WHICH HE AND THE OILERS HOPED WOULD BE HEALED BY NOW, BUT IT'S NOT. IN FACT, THEY'VE PUSHED HIS RETURN DATE BACK EVEN FARTHER. "THE CT SCAN WASN'T GREAT SO WE HAVE TO STEP BACK A LITTLE BIT, PROBABLY A COUPLE OF WEEKS,"SAID HEAD COACH CRAIG MACTAVISH. "YOU JUST HAVE TO LET THE HEALING RUN ITS COURSE."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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