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Bryan Lerg scores in first NHL game to lead Sharks over Oilers

A storybook first career big league game for the veteran AHLer.

Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

29-year-old career minor leaguer Bryan Lerg was all set to make his NHL debut on Monday night against the Dallas Stars. Worcester's captain and leading scorer was called up with Tomas Hertl feeling under the weather and spoke about his excitement at finally getting into his first ever NHL game after more than 300 contests in the AHL.

But then Hertl felt better prior to puck drop and Lerg ended up on the outside of the Sharks' lineup looking in. Particularly with the Sharks competing in a meaningless game, it was a curious decision, one that Todd McLellan rectified tonight in Edmonton, scratching Mike Brown in order to finally, actually give Lerg his first NHL game against the very organization he initially signed with as a pro.

It turned out to be for the best, and provided one of the most heartwarming moments of this lost season. With his parents, who had been unable to make it to SAP Center in time for Lerg's almost-debut on Monday, in the crowd, Lerg scored on his seventh shot on net of the game, going top-shelf on Oilers rookie goalie Laurent Brossoit after a cross-ice pass from Logan Couture. The beautiful goal broke a 1-1 deadlock, held up as the game winner and was the cherry on top of Lerg's exceptional first game.

Finishing with eight shots on goal, Lerg led the Sharks with an incredible 88 percent Corsi For, as he was on the ice at 5v5 for 21 San Jose shot attempts and just 3 by the Oilers. He survived being boarded by Curtis Hamilton in the first period, drawing a five-minute power play in the process, and impressed the coaching staff enough to move up to the second line by the end of the game which is where he was playing when he potted the winner. It was a much-needed high note at the end of a long, disappointing season as well as a painful reminder of some of the dregs at the bottom of their lineup the Sharks have been wasting roster spots and cap space on with players like Lerg readily available in free agency and the minors.

[Fancy Stats] - [Oilers Reaction]
[Event Summary] - [PBP Log] - [TOI Log] - [Faceoff Report]

  • Laurent Brossoit was also amazing in his NHL debut, stopping 49 of the Sharks' 52 shots as San Jose dominated throughout this game. If he begins next season as the Oilers' #1, at least it wouldn't be the first time Edmonton anoints a starter without a track record on the basis of one unbelievable performance against the Sharks.
  • Speaking of minor leaguers who have starred in their stints with San Jose this season, Taylor Fedun notched the secondary assist on Lerg's goal and has four helpers in his six games with the team. Chris Tierney also extended his point streak to five games and has eleven points in his last eleven.
  • In honor of Bryan Lerg, here's Liz Lemon saying "Blerg!" a bunch of times

  • Of course the real story of the night is that the Los Angeles Kings have been eliminated from playoff contention, their season ended by the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. Some people might view this as an unexpected development but I think we could all see in Drew Doughty's eyes his team was going to shit the bed down the stretch. Granted, this would have a lot more weight if the Sharks were headed to the postseason but I'll say it anyway: good riddance, fuckers.
FTF Three Stars

1st Star: Bryan Lerg
2nd Star: Laurent Brossoit
3rd Star: Calgary Flames