The San Jose Sharks (31-17-2) fell to the hands of the Edmonton Oilers (28-15-8) 4-1 on Thursday night at SAP Center in the return of Tomas Hertl to the lineup for the first time in 31 games. Even though the Sharks scored first, they were not able to turn it into a victory (25-8-1 when scoring first).
Logan Couture got the Sharks on the board early in the game on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play with assists from Patrick Marleau and Mikkel Boedker. It was Couture’s 16th goal (to go with nine assists) in his 26 career games against the Oilers.
A few minutes after the Couture goal, Timo Meier had an awful turnover, but Martin Jones was able to bail out the rookie with a terrific glove save on a Zack Kassian shot. Just past halfway through the period, generational talent Connor McDavid was denied by Jones on a nice move to maintain the shutout.
Things got testy late in the period when the Sharks had a two-on-one chance, which Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot shut down, but following a late whistle at the net Oiler Patrick Maroon and Sharks rookie Ryan Carpenter exchanged some words, but no gloves were dropped.
The Oilers tied the game at 1-1 with 5.6 seconds left in the first period on a tough deflection off of Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Vlasic was standing about five feet in front of Jones and Andrej Sekera was the beneficiary of the deflection goal for Edmonton. San Jose attempted to challenge the goal due to a possible offside, but the challenge was not successful. McDavid picked up an assist on the goal.
The Sharks got a scoring chance first in the second period on a pass from Meier to Carpenter, but an Oilers defender made a nice block on the shot to keep the game knotted up at one apiece.
The puck was bouncing all over the place and there weren’t many good looks for either team for a good portion of the first half of the second period before San Jose went on the power play at the 7:09 mark of the frame due to a Jordan Eberle holding call.
Marleau notched a shot on goal, but a nice save by Talbot preserved the tie. Pavelski got away with a lot of contact leading up to the shot and very well could have been called for an interference, but the referee did not call a penalty on the Sharks captain. Vlasic also notched a shot on goal on the power play, but his shot was also sent aside by Talbot.
Following the Oilers killing off the Eberle penalty, Joe Thornton had a sensational opportunity to break the tie, but he just missed the net. Boedker had a shot saved by Talbot, but the winger’s speed created another power play opportunity for San Jose.
Edmonton had a three-on-one shorthanded opportunity, but Sekera’s shot was easily saved by Jones. It was the Oilers first shot of the second period at the 13:44 mark.
Brent Burns was called for a slashing penalty with 3:40 remaining in the period, as the Oilers received their first power play opportunity of the game. Sekera netted his second goal of the game with 2:51 left in the frame, as the Sharks were unable to clear the puck from the defensive zone, to put the Oilers up 2-1. The Oilers hadn’t scored a power play goal against the Sharks in 10 contests, which was the longest active streak among all NHL teams in a head-to-head series. Edmonton would carry the 2-1 lead into the locker room after two periods.
The Sharks got a double-minor power play a minute into the third period as Joe Thornton took a high stick from Adam Larsson to the chin. The Sharks totaled four shots on goal during the four-minute power play, but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity as they fell to 0-for-4 on the man advantage for the game.
Back at even strength, Joel Ward and Timo Meier each had good shot opportunities, but Talbot made a pair of saves that were his best saves of the contest to this point. The save on Meier was a spectacular pad stop.
The Sharks then picked up their second penalty of the game, as Thornton was called for interference, which he did not argue whatsoever and was already seated in the penalty box when the referee announced who was being penalized. Thankfully, this time the Sharks were able to kill of the penalty, to freeze the score at 2-1.
Joe Pavelski lost the puck and Paul Martin could not pick up the slack on the defensive end, leading to a 2-on-0 for Edmonton and Drake Caggiula chipped the puck past Jones to put the Oilers up 3-1. It was his 11th goal of the season.
Tomas Hertl and Marleau each had scoring opportunities, but neither were able to cash in on their chances. Talbot made a save on a Marleau slap shot with 2:39 left in the third for his 30th save of the night, and the Sharks pulled Jones for the extra attacker. McDavid was able to score on the empty net for his 17th goal of the season to push the lead to 4-1.
The Sharks loss snapped a six-game winning streak, while the Oilers victory extended their point streak to eight straight games. The Sharks and the Oilers are tied for the Pacific Division lead going into the all-star break.
- Tonight’s game was Doug Wilson’s 1000th game as the Sharks’ GM. He became just the fourth person to manage 1000 games and play in 1000 games.
- Tomas Hertl returned to the Sharks lineup for the first time since Nov. 17. In the 31 games he missed the Sharks went 22-8-2.
- Tommy Wingels, who was traded to Ottawa on Wednesday, scored in his first game with the Senators on Thursday.
Fear The Fin Three Stars
- Andrej Sekera
- Cam Talbot
- Leon Draisaitl
The Sharks will now have an extended weekend to rest up with the NHL All-Star game taking place in Los Angeles on Sunday. Martin Jones, Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and coach Peter DeBoer will represent San Jose for the Pacific Division. The Sharks next game will be next Tuesday night against the Blackhawks, while the Oilers will take on the Wild that night.