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Horcoff's goal in triple OT lifts Oilers over Sharks

EDMONTON. Alberta (AP) -- The Edmonton Oilers forced the San Jose
Sharks to play the longest game in their history Wednesday night,
and then Shawn Horcoff broke their hearts.

Horcoff scored his second playoff goal 2:24 into triple
overtime, lifting the Oilers to a 3-2 win. The Oilers cut the
Sharks' lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven Western Conference
semifinal series.

Game 4 is Friday night.

Horcoff scored after he picked up a backhand pass from Ryan
Smyth behind the Sharks' net and tapped it past goaltender Vesa
Toskala.

"We really needed that game," said Horcoff. "It's a big lift
for us right now."

He said the Oilers didn't get down even after they dominated the
first period only to find themselves behind 2-1 after just six
Sharks shots on net in the second period.

"I was really impressed with the composure we had in the locker
room," he said. "We just don't know how to quit."

Sharks coach Ron Wilson said his team was too tentative.

"We didn't drive to the net at all. We played on the
perimeter," he said.

"We'll bounce back. We've been a resilient team all along."

The previous longest game for the Sharks was in 1995, when San
Jose beat Calgary in just under 22 total minutes of overtime.

It was the third-longest game in Oilers history. Their record
stands at 57:34 of overtime play in a 3-2 loss to Dallas in 1999.

The Oilers also set a team record for most shots in a game with
58. The old record was 54, set in regulation time in 1984 by the
high-flying Oilers of the Wayne Gretzky-Mark Messier era.

It was the first triple overtime of this year's playoffs.

"It's just an unbelievable feeling, triple overtime, it's a
dream come true a goal like that," Horcoff said. "I thought we
came out extremely hard; that's the type of hockey we need to play
to be successful."

Toskala made 55 saves for San Jose, while Dwayne Roloson made 32
for Edmonton.

The Oilers opened the scoring on a power play midway through the
first period.

Raffi Torres took the puck in the corner and passed to
defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron in the high slot. He blasted a low
slap shot that beat Toskala to the stick side.

Patrick Marleau got the Sharks back in the game just over a
minute into the second period when he picked up the rebound from
Josh Gorges' point shot that Roloson blocked but let fall in front
of him. Marleau easily outmuscled Oilers defenseman Jaroslav Spacek
and on his backhand flicked the puck into the yawning net for his
ninth goal of the playoffs.

San Jose went ahead 2-1 halfway through the second period when
Joe Thornton made a perfect pass from behind the net to a streaking
Patrick Rissmiller in the slot. He shot the puck under defenseman
Jason Smith and past Roloson.

It was just the Sharks' sixth shot of the game.

With just under seven minutes left in the third period, the
Oilers tied it. Chris Pronger, starting from behind his net, passed
to Jarret Stoll, who fired the puck through the neutral zone to
Torres. He wristed a shot right faceoff dot over Toskala's glove
and into the top corner of the net.

The game, like its two predecessors, featured hard skating and
vicious hits.

The Oilers' Georges Laraque took a five-minute major and a game
misconduct in the second period for ramming Jonathan Cheechoo's
head into the glass in front of the penalty box.

The Sharks played without winger Milan Michalek, who was
scratched. The 21-year-old Czech rookie had three assists in the
first two games on the second line with Marleau and Steve Bernier.
But he had neural network damage in Game 2 when he took an open-ice
hit to the head from Torres.

Game notes
Smyth was forced to leave in the second period when he
took Pronger's clearing pass in the face. He was down for a few
seconds, but wobbled to his feet and skated off, leaving a blood
trail back to the bench as fans chanted "Smitty, Smitty!" He came
back to play the rest of the game. . . Michalek was replaced by
Alyn McCauley, who has been in and out of the lineup with a knee
injury.