In a wild scoring fiesta, the Sharks (25-14-2) held on to an early lead to top the Oilers (21-15-7) in their first visit to the newly minted RogersTM Place by a score of 5-3, with the help of a Mikkel Boedker hat trick (no, that is not a typo). With the win tonight the Sharks cemented their first place position in the Pacific division, with two games in hand over Anaheim and Edmonton. As expected, Sharks head coach Peter Deboer’s game plan seemed to revolve around shutting down the NHL’s points leader, Connor McDavid’s line, and it worked despite Edmonton having last change, limiting the unreasonably talented youngster to two shots in 23:04 of ice time.
The Sharks feasted on some poor puck management by the Oilers early, as Mikkel Boedker, scoring fiend (edit: I originally wrote this as a joke, but it’s prophetic now), roofed a Brent Burns rebound past Cam Talbot at 1:39 of the first period. Boedker showed some great patience, waiting for Talbot to overcommit down low before lifting the puck over Talbot’s right pad and into the net with a great point blank shot.
The Sharks largely dominated possession during the first period, outshooting the Oilers 12-7, but Edmonton got on the board at 15:53 with a gritty five-hole goal by Drake Caggiula. Caggiula stole the puck from Brendan Dillon and muscled in front of the net past Dylan DeMelo before shoving the puck in between Martin Jones’ legs. The primary assist went to Benoit Pouliot, but that doesn’t seem like enough credit for the work he did behind the net on this play, using his body to box Patrick Marleau out of the play, and protect Caggiula’s steal.
Brent Burns does not go quietly into the night, however, and he got on the board with one of his ridiculous wrist shots from the blue line at 19:42, just after an Oilers penalty expired, securing a Sharks lead going into the shiny new Edmonton dressing room. Marc Edouard Vlasic tallied a primary assist on his first game back after missing four with a slap shot-related facial contusion.
Wasting no time, Boedker made it 3-1 2:24 into the second period on one of the silliest series of mishaps I’ve seen in a while. Luckily, one of those mishaps was Talbot falling on his rump trying to cover a Melker Karlsson deke, which he whiffed on anyway, and Boedker pumped the puck into about four by six feet of empty net. Boedker now had three goals in two games since his healthy scratch. Imagine Yakety Sax playing while you watch this gif:
The former Coyote wasn’t done yet, however, as Boedker completed his first hat trick as a Shark, and the fourth of his career, at 8:55 of the second, tipping a Vlasic point shot (pass?) home past Talbot. Boedker’s third goal of the game doubled his goals on the season to six.
Early in the third, the Oilers fought back to within two, as Matthew Benning scored his second of the season on a clean wrist shot past Jones from all alone above the left circle at 0:22 of the third to make it 4-2 Sharks.
Oscar Klefbom made it interesting at 3:45 when he scored his seventh goal of the season on a snap shot from a clean face off win in the offensive zone. I would imagine this is a goal Jones wants back, but time is a flat circle and all that, and the Oilers had two goals in two shots early in the third.
A wild and wacky third period continued, as Logan Couture kicked (not technically!) the puck through Talbot’s five hole as he fell on his face at 5:06 for his 13th. Couture was pulled down on a breakaway by Matthew Benning, but got the shot off anyway, and the rebound bounced off his limbs all akimbo and into the net to make it 5-3.
The Sharks held on through a long and frantic six on five for the two points, and a lonely perch atop the Pacific division.
- Patrick Marleau played his 1452nd NHL game tonight, passing Teemu Selanne for 24th most all time. Kinda neat.
- The old adage “show me a great coach and I’ll show you a great goaltender” likely occurred to Todd McLellan as he paced back and forth behind the Oilers’ bench, impeccably dressed though he was.
- Martin Jones kept the Sharks ahead in the second period, stopping 16 shots when the Sharks were outshot two to one. This whole All Star thing has really gone to his head, I bet.
- Dylan DeMelo left holding his wrist in the first period, forcing Deboer to be a little creative with his defensive pairings, if he’s seriously injured, we might expect to see Tim Heed make his NHL debut tomorrow in Calgary.
- The Sharks seemed to really like Rogers’ Place. They apparently stayed on the ice during the morning skate for longer than usual to get a feel for the boards, which are lively enough to be compared to the famously bouncy Joe Louis boards, and we saw a lot of plays off the walls for passes or rebounds tonight.
Fear the Fin Three Stars
- Mikkel Boedker
- Brent Burns
- Martin Jones