Oilers give Sharks the slip


EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) – Jason Smith, Ales Hemsky and Jarret Stoll scored third-period goals as the Edmonton Oilers rallied for a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Friday night, tying the Western Conference semifinal series 2-2.

Smith took a pass from Sergei Samsonov from the corner, skated in alone on Sharks goalie Vesa Toskala and beat him with a backhand deke 2:57 into the third period to give the Sharks their first lead after trailing 3-1 midway through the second period.

Game 5 in the best-of-seven series is Sunday in San Jose, with Game 6 back in Edmonton on Wednesday night.

The Sharks scored on their first two shots and, despite being badly outshot, led 3-1 halfway through the game.

“Obviously we knew they were going to come out hard, and we tried to match their intensity and couldn’t keep up with them off the get-go,” Oilers forward Ryan Smyth told CBC. “But these fans are unbelievable, they gave us an extra boost.”

Heading into the game, Toskala had stopped 94 of 99 shots the first three games.

But that changed at 12:28 of the second, when Ethan Moreau’s shot hit the end boards and took a funny bounce back to Michael Peca, who launched a desperation shot from the side of the net that managed to squeeze under Toskala’s pads.

Less than 3 minutes later, the Oilers killed off a penalty on Sergei Samsonov by lofting the puck down the ice toward Toskala, and Samsonov raced out of the penalty box after the puck. Toskala scrambled out to meet him halfway, tried to sweep the puck away but instead it bounced off Samsonov and the speedy Russian simply backhanded the puck into the empty net to tie the score.

AP-ES-05-12-06 2314EDT