EDMONTON - Edmonton backup goalie played like an all-star and helped the desperate Oilers to a much needed win.
Devan Dubnyk was the first star of the game, stopping 44 of 45 shots in the game and three more in the shootout as the Oilers snapped a three-game losing skid with a 2-1 victory over the Pacific Division-leading San Jose Sharks on Monday.
Taylor Hall scored the shootout winner and Jordan Eberle scored in regulation for the Oilers (18-26-4) who won for just the second time in 10 games and sixth in their last 26 outings.
Dubnyk was glad to be able to lead the Oilers to a win after several recent disappointing efforts.
"It was an important game for us," he said. "We owe it to our fans to play better. We don’t have to win 41 games but you have to go out there and give them an effort.
"I want to show the Oilers that I am a starting goalie."
Oilers head coach Tom Renney said his team needed something positive after a barrage of negatives of late.
"They need it bad," he said. "They have been reading about how crappy they are. I don’t think they are that bad. They have been working hard all year. It just doesn't always turn into what any of us wanted.
"When you get great goaltending like we had tonight you are going to win more often."
Logan Couture responded for the Sharks (26-14-6) who have tailed off of late with losses in three straight games and four of their last five.
Couture said it was a frustrating night for this team.
"It seemed like we spent an awful lot of time in their end, but you still need to score the goals," he said. "We're frustrated right now. We are playing all right but you still need to find a way to win games like this. We need the points right now. We haven't been getting the wins lately. We got a point tonight, but I would have rather had two. We're having a tough time scoring goals right now."
Both teams started their backup goalies as Edmonton went with Dubnyk and the Sharks countered with Thomas Greiss.
Dubnyk saw the bulk of the early action, and had some luck on his side in the first period. Captain Shawn Horcoff coughed up the puck behind the Edmonton net and Jamie McGinn got a slap shot away from the slot, but the puck rattled hard off the post.
The Sharks outshot Edmonton 13-5 in the scoreless first.
The Oilers finally opened the scoring seven minutes into the second period as a Jeff Petry shot deflected off of a Shark defender right to the stick of Eberle, who sent his 18th of the season into a wide-open net with Greiss going the other way.
Oiler Andy Sutton got the crowd revved up with about six minutes left in the second period as he levelled McGinn with a clean body check at the blue-line.
The shots continued to heavily favour the Sharks, 26-12 through 40 minutes.
San Jose came close to getting the tying goal three minutes into the third period as John McCarthy almost caught Dubnyk napping with a quick wrap-around attempt, but the Edmonton goalie kept the puck out.
The Sharks looked to have suffered a severe injury five minutes into the third as Oilers forward Ales Hemsky got into a knee-on-knee collision with Brent Burns, and the veteran defenceman needed to be helped off of the ice.
"I tried to go down the wall and it was just a reaction play," Burns said. "It didn't feel too good on my part. I knew it wasn’t good right away. I thought I was going to throw up.
"I don't know how bad it is yet. It happens. It's a quick game. I've been on the other end of these. It happens so quick. It’s not his fault."
Hemsky was given a kneeing major on the play.
"I don't think I am a dirty player," Hemsky said. "I hope for the guy. I hope he is OK. You never want to hurt anybody."
It took just 45 seconds for the penalty to pay off as Couture notched his 100th career NHL point with a tip of a Dan Boyle shot Dubnyk had no chance on to tie the game 1-1.
The game went to extra time with the Sharks leading 43-16 in shots.
Both teams play again on Tuesday night as the Oilers travel to Vancouver and the Sharks are in Calgary to face the Flames.
Notes: It was the second of four meetings between the two teams this season. The Sharks won the previous encounter 3-2 at home in mid-December.…Edmonton remained without rookie phenom Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and defenders Tom Gilbert, Cam Barker and Ryan Whitney.…San Jose forwards Ryane Clowe and Martin Havlat were out of the lineup with injuries.…The Oilers called up defenceman Taylor Chorney and forwards Lennart Petrell and Teemu Hartikainen from the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL for the game.…Eberle will be playing in the all-star game after originally being passed over due to an injury. He will replace injured Wild captain Mikko Koivu.