EDMONTON – Melker Karlsson scored in overtime to give the Sharks a 3-2 win over the Oilers at Rogers Place in their playoff opener on Wednesday night.
Joel Ward and Paul Martin also scored for San Jose, which took the first game of its first round series with the Oilers.
Karlsson was set up on a rush by Joe Pavelski, and beat Cam Talbot with a wrist shot to the far side at 3:22.
For the first 20 minutes, the Sharks were outplayed and outmuscled by the Oilers in what was Edmonton’s first postseason game in more than a decade.
Oscar Klefbom opened the scoring. His shot from a wide angle got a piece of David Schlemko before slipping through Martin Jones at 6:44.
The Sharks nearly tied it on the power play three minutes later when Logan Couture had all kinds of time to line up a wrist shot, but he rang it off of the near post.
The Oilers increased the lead to 2-0 at 17:07 on a power play of their own, as Milan Lucic found the rebound of a Mark Letestu shot.
Edmonton came out hitting, too, as Patrick Maroon drilled Karlsson in front of the San Jose bench in the first minute, and Iiro Pakarinen hammered Schlemko shortly after that.
But just when they looked like they might get pushed out of the game, the Sharks responded in the second. In power play time that carried over to start the middle frame, Joonas Donskoi pushed the puck through the crease to Ward, who whacked it through at 1:43 before Talbot could get over.
San Jose continued to control the play, as Edmonton went more than 12 minutes without a shot. Jones secured the far post with 7:40 to go on a partial breakaway by Connor McDavid, keeping it a one-goal deficit for San Jose.
It took until the third for the Sharks to tie it up, though. Tomas Hertl made a power move to the net during a four-on-four situation, and Martin charged in to clean up the loose puck at 5:22 to knot the score at 2-2.
The Sharks outshot the Oilers 26-7 in the second and third periods combined.
The Sharks improved to 18-15 all-time in Game 1 of a playoff series. They are 11-6 in franchise history when capturing the first game.
The Sharks and Oilers are meeting in the playoff for the first time since 2006, the last year Edmonton was in the postseason. The Oilers won that second round series, four-games-to-two.
Couture was playing after he missed the final seven games of the regular season with a mouth injury, and took a high hit from Eric Gryba at 12:32 of the second period. Gryba was issued an elbowing minor.
Joe Thornton (left knee) did not play.
The Oilers were hosting Game 1 of a playoff series for the first time since the 1991 Campbell Conference Final against the Minnesota North Stars.
The Sharks’ roster entered Game 1 with a combined 1,169 games of playoff experience, compared to just 342 for Edmonton.
The Sharks are 22-21 in playoff overtimes.
Each team struck for a power play goal, as the Sharks were 1-for-6 and Oilers 1-for-3.
San Jose recorded 12 shots on goal on the power play and hit a pair of posts, while the Oilers had three shots.
Jones improved to 15-10 all-time in the playoffs with 17 saves.
Starting his first career playoff game, Talbot allowed three goals on 44 shots. The Oilers’ number one had played in two previous playoff games in his career, both in relief of Henrik Lundqvist.
Chris Tierney left the game with less than five minutes to go in the second period after blocking a Darnell Nurse shot with his left foot, but returned to start the third.
Along with Thornton, the Sharks scratched Micheal Haley, Kevin Labanc and Dylan DeMelo.
Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks, Anton Slepyshev, Jujhar Khaira and Matt Benning sat out.
The series remains in Edmonton for Game 2 on Friday. The Sharks host games three and four on Sunday, April 16 and Tuesday, April 18.