|DAVID DESHARNAIS, Oilers|
|BEST IN CLASS — OVERTIME|
One of the NHL’s most diminutive players stood as large as an Alberta oil field gusher last night.
Late-season pickup David Desharnais lifted the Oilers and carried them on his back during two crucial junctures in Edmonton’s 4-3 overtime thriller against the Sharks.
Yes, he scored the winning goal. But if ever it was inevitable that one team would come out on top in OT, it was surely the Oilers. Edmonton was seemingly always in the San Jose end — and when they weren’t they were crossing the blue line with speed and only token resistance by the Sharks.
So when Desharnais cruised through the slot with the wind at his back and one-timed a wrister by Sharks goalie Martin Jones, it fulfilled what everyone in attendance and in TV land saw coming all along. Jones was screened and Desharnais smartly one-timed the pass, as the only reason this game was 18 minutes into overtime was the play of the San Jose netiminder. Time and time again he not so much stood on his head as did cartwheels in his crease, always managing to fling a limb onto what looked like a certain game-ending goal.
If Desharnais’ overtime goal was a mere formality, his set-up of the tying goal late in the third period was anything but.
The Sharks had held the lead since the midpoint of the game and as the clock wound down in the third period, the Oilers were getting only the occasional shot off at Jones. And that’s when Desharnais decided to shake things up.
As the clock ticked under three minutes, Desharnais collected a short entry pass from the blue line, but entered the San Jose zone full tilt, along the right boards. Nothing opened up in the center of the ice, so Desharnais held on to the puck and circled right around the back of the Sharks net.
He made it all the way out to the faceoff dot in the left circle and then found his man. It was Oscar Klefbom drifting in from the left point. Desharnais fed him a soft pass, allowing Klefbom to one-time the shot with forward momentum. His slapper needed to go through traffic in front, but it was precise, striking the far post and then fluttering the net inside the opposite post.
The little big man who had come over from Montreal just ahead of the trading deadline twice made Edmonton a sonic boomtown in a pivotal Game 5.
|4/20/2017 vs. San Jose|