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Dwayne Roloson makes 48 saves in Oilers' 2-1 shootout win over Sharks

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Dwayne Roloson's last two saves might have been his best. In the waning seconds of overtime, the Edmonton goalie adroitly deflected Joe Thornton's breakaway shot with his blocker, then calmly gloved Brian Campbell's unobstructed try from close range moments later.

Campbell flipped his stick away in disgust, more like a hack golfer infuriated by his 9-iron than an All-Star defenceman. Nothing was getting past Roloson on Sunday night - certainly not the Sharks' shots, and not their 11-game winning streak, either.

Roloson made 48 saves and capped an impeccable effort by making three more saves in the shootout, leading the Oilers to a 2-1 victory over surging San Jose.

Ales Hemsky scored in regulation and Fernando Pisani got the decisive shootout goal for the Oilers, who won for the fifth time in six games on the shoulders of their well-rested backup goalie. Roloson, who was similarly sharp when he led Edmonton past San Jose in the 2006 playoffs, won his second start in two days after six weeks of mop-up duty behind Mathieu Garon.

"It was no different than any other day," claimed Roloson, who won at Phoenix one night earlier in his first start since Feb. 1. "I basically try to help my guys win. I can't control what the coaching staff says about who's playing. ... I was able to see most of their shots. Some I didn't see, and I got lucky. I was in position, and that was key."

Robert Nilsson also scored in the shootout for Edmonton, while Patrick Marleau managed the Sharks' only goal in four tries. San Jose, which hadn't lost since Feb. 20 during the longest winning streak in franchise history, couldn't get anything past Roloson after Marleau's first-period goal during a two-man advantage.

"We had probably more chances than I can remember, and he made a ton of saves," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "Glove saves, stretch saves, split saves. He just had one of those nights. You thought he might be a little tired, but he hasn't played in about a month. We did a lot of things, but he robbed us."

Evgeni Nabokov stopped 21 shots for the Sharks, who hope Roloson didn't steal the momentum that has carried them to the NHL's second-best record. San Jose is just six points shy of clinching a playoff berth after launching a season-high 49 shots - one shy of the club record.

"We played well, and we created a lot of chances," said Jonathan Cheechoo, who had seven shots. "We just didn't create enough traffic in front of him, and I know I didn't convert a couple of good rebounds. Any goalie that sees the puck is going to stop it."

After scoring four first-period goals against St. Louis on Friday, San Jose dominated the opening minutes yet again and had 32 shots midway through the game. But the Sharks committed their first two penalties simultaneously, with Jody Shelley following Craig Rivet into the box on a foolish roughing penalty, and Hemsky scored his career-best 20th goal.

Roloson led the Oilers as they killed three penalties in the final seven minutes of regulation, and he stopped Thornton and Campbell on their golden chances in OT.

"I think I've seen him at that level before, but I've never seen him better than he was tonight," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, whose club still is in the playoff race in 11th place, five points behind eighth-place Vancouver. "I'm really happy for him. I think that save he made on Thornton's overtime breakaway was his best of the night."

The Sharks' streak began in Philadelphia on Feb. 21, when they got the first of five consecutive road wins to end an eight-game trip. San Jose then won three home games and picked up three more road victories, adding to the NHL's best road record at 25-8-3.

The streak propelled the Sharks to the No. 2 overall spot in the league standings, past East-leading New Jersey and behind only the Detroit Red Wings. San Jose also shot past Pacific Division rivals Anaheim and Dallas, who had led the competitive three-team race for most of the season.

The Sharks are just three points ahead of the Ducks, who visit San Jose on Friday, and four in front of the Stars with games in hand on both foes. San Jose meets each of its four division opponents twice in the season's final 10 games, including three games against NHL-worst Los Angeles.

Notes: Sharks D Matt Carle was a healthy scratch for the seventh straight game. Former All-Star D Sandis Ozolinsh has been a healthy scratch for every game in the past month. ... Edmonton LW Geoff Sanderson missed his sixth straight game with a back injury. ... San Jose has just two goals in its last five periods.



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