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Sharks score early, often in handily defeating Oilers

The Canadian Press

1/3/2014 1:09:10 AM

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Brent Burns and Patrick Marleau scored goals 49 seconds apart in the first period to lead the San Jose Sharks to their fifth win in six games, 5-1 over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

Bracken Kearns and Logan Couture added goals 1:27 apart in the second period to give each scores in three straight games as the Sharks beat the Oilers for the sixth straight time. Joe Pavelski added a goal and an assist and Antti Niemi made 23 saves for San Jose.

Nail Yakupov scored the lone goal for the last-place Oilers, who looked flat to open the new year in the front end of a difficult back-to-back. The Oilers play Friday night at the first-place Anaheim Ducks, who have not lost at home in regulation all season.

The Sharks have been nearly as tough at home so far, losing just once in regulation. San Jose needed to go to a shootout in five of its previous eight home games before dispatching the Oilers easily by scoring twice in each of the first two periods against Devan Dubnyk.

The Sharks got off to a fast start once again, breaking out to a 2-0 lead in the first period for the 15th time in 41 games this season.

San Jose squandered a pair of early power-play chances and needed Niemi to make two pad stops on Sam Gagner on one of them to keep the game scoreless.

The Sharks then used great puck movement on their first goal and a takeaway for their second to take the 2-0 lead.

Justin Braun got a shot on net from the point and Pavelski sent the rebound to Burns, who knocked it in the short side of the net for his 13th goal.

Less than a minute later, Marleau took the puck from Yakupov near the boards and skated to the high slot, where he beat Dubnyk with a wrister for his team-leading 18th goal of the season.

San Jose broke it open with the two goals in the second. Kearns, who scored his first career goal at age 32 on Sunday, struck for the third time in as many games when he took a pass from Andrew Desjardins in the slot and one-timed it past an unsuspecting Dubnyk.

Couture then took a break out pass from John McCarthy and beat Dubnyk on a breakaway to make it 4-0 and give him 200 career points.

Yakupov scored his second goal of the season against the Sharks later in the second and gave an emphatic fist pump that drew boos from the sellout crowd.

Those turned to cheers and chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" in the third when Pavelski one-timed a shot past Dubnyk just one day after being picked for his second U.S. Olympic team.

NOTES: Marleau tied former Shark Owen Nolan for 73rd place all-time with his 422nd career goal. ... McCarthy recorded his first point in 22 games this season. ... F Tyler Kennedy was scratched for San Jose after posting a minus-3 rating Tuesday in Anaheim. ... F Tommy Wingels missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Yakupov returned for Edmonton after being a healthy scratch Tuesday in Phoenix.