Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 1-1

Game 1: Thursday, October 17th
Game 2: Monday, January 6th
Game 3: Tuesday, March 4th
Game 4: Thursday, April 3rd

Oilers 3

(1-2-0, 3 pts)

Sharks 4

(1-2-0, 2 pts)

10:30 PM ET, October 17, 2002

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 T
EDM 1 1 13
SJ 2 1 14

O. Nolan (Sharks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

V. Damphousse (Sharks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

T. Selanne (Sharks - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Damphousse scores 400th career goal in Sharks' win

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Vesa Toskala will cherish the puck from his first NHL victory -- as soon as he finds it, that is.

Vincent Damphousse

Vesa Toskala

Vincent Damphousse scored his 400th career goal, and Toskala made 22 saves as the San Jose Sharks beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 Thursday night for their first victory of the season.

Toskala, a surprise starter as the Sharks attempted to shake off two listless season-opening losses, made one last big save while San Jose fought off Edmonton's final rush. His teammates grabbed the puck for him, and he put it in his locker.

"I got the last puck -- but it's not here any more,'' Toskala said as he rummaged through his belongings. "Somebody stole it, I guess.''

Actually, a team equipment man was sprucing it up to be a proper memento for Toskala, who's making the most of his callup while Evgeni Nabokov sits out in a contract dispute.

"I felt really good on the ice today,'' said Toskala, who played 10 NHL minutes last season and just 20 in San Jose's first two games this season. "I feel more comfortable if they shoot more than the average. It's not a bad thing.''

Toskala spent most of last season with the Sharks' AHL affiliate in Cleveland, and he was expected to be there again this fall. But after the Sharks gave up 11 goals in their first two games in front of Miikka Kiprusoff, coach Darryl Sutter made the switch -- and the Sharks played grittier defense for Toskala while scoring enough goals to hold off the Oilers.

"He was quiet in the net, which means you're in control,'' Sutter said. "That's what you want: consistent, high-level play.''

Captain Owen Nolan scored a shorthanded goal that broke a tie midway through the second period, and Teemu Selanne added a goal as the Sharks got back on track after a shaky opening week.

Marco Sturm scored a four-on-four goal and had an assist for the Sharks, who still haven't signed defenseman Brad Stuart, either. Both holdouts are vital parts of San Jose's deep roster.

Janne Niinimaa, Anson Carter and Mike Comrie scored for Edmonton, which has beaten the Sharks just once in their last 10 meetings.

Tommy Salo made 27 saves, but the Oilers -- who played from behind for most of the night -- have scored just eight goals in their four games this season.

"We played behind the whole game,'' Niinimaa said. "We chased them all night. We need to have one game where we get the lead. We need to get our offense going.''

Damphousse became the 71st player to score 400 goals when he tapped a rebound past Salo just 66 seconds in. With 1,107 career points, Damphousse is 44th in NHL history.

"It's a nice milestone,'' Damphousse said. "I've had to be durable and avoid injuries. I don't want to stop now. I still think I have a lot of years left. It's fun for me to play right now.''

Nolan scored his first goal of the season after Niinimaa fell down and Adam Graves forced a turnover during a power play for Edmonton. Nolan got a trailing pass from Graves and beat Salo low.

"That shorthanded goal was the difference,'' Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "It cost us a point. That play was a bad one for Janne. It just put us in a terrible position. When you leave a defender and give them a break on a power play, bad things will happen.''

After Selanne ripped a hard shot past Salo midway through the third period, Comrie cut San Jose's lead to a goal with less than four minutes left, but the Oilers couldn't score with Salo pulled for an extra attacker.

Game notes

Sharks GM Dean Lombardi submitted new contract proposals to representatives for Nabokov and Stuart earlier this week. No progress has been reported, however. ... Damphousse has scored 60 of his 400 goals for San Jose. He also played with Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal. ... The Western Conference rivals don't meet again until Jan. 6. San Jose doesn't visit Edmonton until March 4.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press