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Oilers win an instant-classic in overtime

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-San Jose Sharks at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

In what was probably the most dramatic Oilers game in over a decade, the boys in orange toppled the Sharks 4-3 in overtime, relying on the unlikely heroics of David Desharnais. The diminutive Centre not only score the OT winner at the 18:15 mark of the overtime period, he also provided the primary assist on Oscar Klefbom’s game-tying goal, with 2:46 remaining in the 3rd.

1st period

The Oilers came out of the gates flying in front of 18,347 rowdy fans. Pat Maroon put the Oilers ahead 1-0 just after the five-minute mark. Maroon’s tally was the Oilers’ first goal since Kassian’s game winner on Sunday, in game 3. But the Sharks answered back with two goals of their own before the end of the frame, and led 16-13 in shots on goal after the 1st.

2nd period

The last 40 minutes of regulation, and 58 minutes overall, were dominated by the Oilers. That said, the teams played an even second frame on the scoreboard, with each team’s goal coming due to a powerplay (Schlemko’s was officially even strength, but the shot was taken about a second after Maroon’s penalty expired). By the end of the 2nd, the Oilers held a 26-21 edge in shots, but still trailed by a goal.

3rd period

For the majority of the third, the Sharks had one thing in mind. Defend. The older Sharks team was clearly out of gas, and their game plan was to play safe, low-event hockey.

While they did succeed in slowing the game down significantly in the 3rd, their lack of offensive ambition led to a lot of zone time for the Oilers. However, chances were hard to come by against a veteran Sharks team in shutdown mode. Finally, with less than two minutes left, Desharnais drove wide, and found an open Oscar Klefbom, who was waiting for a one-timer at the point. Klefbom’s shot (which I estimated at about 800 MPH), rang off the post and in. It also seemed to break the sound barrier, judging by the deafening roar that ensued. Just like that, the Oilers were back in it, and the game was off to overtime.

Overtime

Considering the context, I would have to say, without a doubt, that tonight’s overtime was the Oilers’ best period since the ‘06 cup run. The Oilers dominated the play, recording 14 shots on goal to San Jose’s two. The Sharks required ten-bell saves by Jones on Draisaitl, Nugent-Hopkins, and McDavid, just to keep them in the game. Finally, with less than two minutes to play in the extra frame, Draisaitl delivered his second top-notch assist of the game. A perfect backhand feed to Desharnais, who made no mistake, finishing top-shelf, as the sea of orange went bananas.

Corey’s game puck

It’s got to go to the little guy, right? I was tempted to give it to Draisaitl, who had a whale of a game, looking dangerous every shift, and picking up two assists. But let’s not overthink it. Desharnais is the hero of the evening. The much-maligned deadline acquisition just cemented his spot in Oilers lore for years to come. I couldn’t be happier for him. He had a great night.

Fun Fact

My heart rate stayed around 400 for about three hours. Also, I produced enough sweat to fill a bathtub, despite not doing any physical activity. That decade out of the playoffs probably added years to all our lives. I don’t know how Red Wings fans did this for a quarter century in a row.