EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — When the Edmonton Oilers traded for goalie Ben Scrivens on Jan. 15, they hoped he would help bring some consistency to the position.
The never expected a performance like the one he gave Wednesday night.
Scrivens stopped 59 shots, an NHL regular-season record for saves in a shutout, leading the Oilers to a 3-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks.
“Hats off to the goaltender, he was tremendous,” said San Jose coach Todd McLellan. “Heck of a performance. In all my years in the league I don’t think I’ve seen that. We attempted 100 shots on goal, that doesn’t happen very often.”
Scrivens topped the previous mark set by Phoenix’s Mike Smith, who stopped 54 shots in a 2-0 victory over Columbus on April 3, 2012.
The Sharks matched the record for shots against the Oilers, accomplished by the New York Rangers in a 4-3 loss in 1993. This time, the recently acquired Scrivens turned away all 59 — a team record for saves — as Edmonton won its third straight.
Scrivens stopped 20 shots in the first, 22 in the second and 17 in the third.
“I had an awful, awful warmup, it was an inauspicious start to it,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you try not to look at the forest while you’re in the trees. You try to focus on the process and give yourself a chance to make that save and when the puck drops again, you try to focus on the next one and don’t try to get too far ahead of yourself.”
Scrivens made his fourth start for the Oilers and won his second game. He went into the game with an 8-7-4 record overall, a 2.03 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
Obtained from Los Angeles, Scrivens got in front of point-blank shots, close-in deflections, goalmouth scrambles and rebounds his defensemen failed to cover.
The Sharks, 7-3-0 in their previous 10 games, dominated play. But had nothing to show for it.
“I was seeing the puck well,” he said. “We got extremely lucky with a couple of posts in the second.”
Justin Schultz, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall scored for Edmonton, which took 27 shots.
“That’s how I thought our skaters were playing the game; they were watching Ben play,” said Oilers coach Dallas Eakins who wasn’t particularly happy despite the win. “It was an incredible thing to watch, I’ve never seen that before. I’m so happy for Ben and proud of him and then you’re mad at the same time.”
Schultz put the Oilers in front with a long shot at 10:51 of the first. His harmless looking wrist shot hit a player in front and eluded the grasp of San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi.
The Sharks rang two shots off the goalpost in the second and forced Scrivens to be even better than he was in the first period.
“Obviously you don’t want to give up 59 shots, but sometimes a goalie has to stand on his head and that has to be one of the best performances by a goalie, I have ever seen,” Hall said.
Scrivens flashed his glove to make two sparkling stops off Bracken Kearns and Demers, seconds apart early in the period. He got a well-deserved standing ovation late in the period after stopping Marleau twice — once on a quick breakaway — and then making his 41st and 42nd saves on a goalmouth scramble. He got several standing ovations in the third.
The Sharks, whose previous high for shots on goal was 57, continued their domination in the third period but couldn’t find a way to put the puck in the net.
Hall scored six minutes into the period to finish off a 2-on-1 break with Eberle and then fed Eberle for the third goal with just over a minute remaining. Hall finished with three points.