The 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday moved the
Oilers within one point of St. Louis for the eighth and final
playoff spot in the Western Conference.
"He's a very good goaltender," said Marc-Andre Bergeron, who
scored two goals. "Nabokov just looked tired. On my second goal he
was out of position when I got the rebound and there was no way for
him to stop it."
San Jose coach Ron Wilson noticed how Nabokov struggled.
"Their goalie was better than our goalie," Wilson said. "We
just have to find a way to get Nabokov some rest. Hopefully Toskala
will be back shortly."
The Sharks' No. 1 goalie is playing more than normal since
primary backup Vesa Toskala was injured on March 13 against Los
Angeles. Nabokov (26-18-8) allowed five goals on 27 shots Sunday;
in his last 10 games, Nabokov has allowed 31 goals.
"The hidden jewel of the game was Jussi," said Oilers coach
Craig MacTavish, referring to recently acquired goalie Jussi
Markkanen. "Since he's arrived, we've been playing great.
"He's so in charge out there, he keeps the team calm. And we
just don't seem as worried as we were before we got him."
Markkanen (9-13-3) finished with 32 saves to earn his first win
since Jan. 26 while playing for the New York Rangers. He was
acquired by Edmonton on March 3.
"We're in ninth spot now," said MacTavish. "We have a great
opportunity tomorrow night in L.A. to get that eighth spot."
The Sharks were tied with the Oilers 2-2 with just under eight
minutes left in the second period when Jason Smith scored a
short-handed goal. He took a drop pass from Mike York and drilled a
shot past Nabokov.
Cory Cross opened the scoring for the Oilers, taking a pass from
George Laraque from behind the net and firing it over Nabokov's
The Sharks tied it when Patrick Marleau scored his 28th goal,
knocking in a rebound off Markkanen. The goal broke Marleau's
10-game scoreless streak.
Edmonton retook the lead with 1:56 remaining in the first period
when Bergeron put in a one-timer from the left faceoff circle.
Kyle McLaren tied the game with his first career short-handed
goal in the second period. Curtis Brown won a faceoff and passed
the puck to McLaren at the top of the right face-off circle.
McLaren caught Markkanen looking at a leaping Brown and beat the
After Smith's goal, Eric Brewer made it 4-2. Bergeron's second
goal came off a rebound from the left of the crease, his eighth
goal of the season.
^Notes: Since their last meeting against Edmonton on Dec. 11, a
2-2 tie, the Sharks have gone 17-4-0-1 at home. ... Vincent
Damphousse needs one point to reach 1,200 for his career. ... The
Oilers are 20-0-1-2 when leading after the second period. ... In
their 25 seasons, the Oilers have compiled a 936-762-262-27 record
for a .544 winning percentage. ... Marleau's goal tied his career
high set last year. ... The Oilers have reached 30 wins for the
ninth consecutive season.