Ever since the 2018-19 seasons began, the Sharks have been looking for that one win — the kind of victory that shows the NHL just how dangerous they can be and why they’re a serious Stanley Cup contender. This afternoon in Edmonton, they might have finally found that turning point moment.
The Sharks dismantled the Oilers in front of a stunned crowd at Rogers Place, with Erik Karlsson leading the way during a four-point performance in the 7-4 victory. Karlsson was one of seven San Jose players to record a multi-point night, including Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson, who each scored a pair of goals.
From the way the game started, it looked like it’d be another rough night for the team in teal. Ty Rattie appeared to score just six minutes in and Connor McDavid put the puck in again for good measure after the whistle. While video review showed that Rattie’s shot hadn’t fully crossed the line, for some reason McDavid’s post-whistle whack was counted instead and the Oilers grabbed their first and only lead of the night.
From there on out, it was all Sharks. Joonas Donskoi finished off an odd-man rush opportunity just 16 seconds after McDavid’s goal, and Tomas Hertl took San Jose into the locker room with a 2-1 lead, thanks to some quick stickhandling in front of Cam Talbot.
In the second period, Couture notched his first tally of the evening, slyly evading McDavid in front of the net, where a paitent Joe Thornton fed him a quick pass from behind the Oilers’ goal. While the Sharks were unable to convert on multiple power play chances in the middle frame, EK65 was able to sneak a floating puck in past Talbot at even strength to extend the Sharks’ lead to 4-1.
Even though the third period started with a relatively slow pace, both teams began to score goals in quick succession. Melker Karlsson got the period started with a gorgeous tip off a Brent Burns shot, and during the Sharks' only penalty kill, Couture caught Talbot and the Oilers' power play unit flatfooted in their own zone, ripping a shorthanded goal over the shaken Edmonton goaltender.
Caleb Jones narrowed the defecit midway through the final period with his first NHL goal, but the Melk Man sealed shut any hope of an Edmonton comeback on his second gosl of the day. The Sharks may want to discuss the final four minutes where Leon Draisaitl and McDavid cut the final score to 7-4, but in a decisive victory like this one, it’s going to be hard to wipe the smiles off any players’ faces.
The Sharks will try to finish off 2018 on a high note this Monday, when they visit the Calgary Flames on New Year’s Eve at 6 p.m. Pacific.
The San Jose Sharks (20-12-7, 2nd Pacific) start a three-game road trip this afternoon with a visit to the Edmonton Oilers (18-16-3, 6th Pacific). Make sure you’ve got a new complement of snacks appropriate for a 1 p.m. start time, as the boys are putting on a matinee for us today.
The Sharks ended a three-game losing streak on Thursday with an emotional 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks. While Brent Burns’ game winning goal in his 1000th NHL game was the star of the night, it was hard not to notice the play of his partner, Radim Simek. Simek was all over the ice, preventing scoring chances, laying big hits and getting into scrums with Nick Ritchie (though, to be fair, who didn’t get into a scrum with Nick Ritchie). The fourth line and the blue line powered the Sharks to victory, as Barclay Goodrow recorded three points and Marc-Edouard Vlasic looked like his old self again. If the Sharks can combine that with some production from their top six today, we may have a new streak on our hands.
The Oilers are in the midst of a losing streak of their own. Dropping their last four in regulation and five of their last six, most recently a 4-2 whipping at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton has squandered the gains made by new coach Ken Hitchcock, and found themselves two points out of a playoff spot in the west. If the decisions of management are any indication, though, scoring from the wing is not the problem, as Edmonton waived (again) highly touted Russian winger Valentin Zykov yesterday after claiming him off of waivers from the Carolina Hurricanes earlier this month.
Zykov clearly did little to impress Edmonton’s coaching staff in five appearances, posting no points and no (0) shots on net, but he was hardly placed into a position to succeed. Zykov averaged under seven minutes of ice time in those five games, and under four minutes of power play time, sharing a plurality of ice time with fellow new acquisition Ryan Spooner. Despite posting an on ice shot attempt share of 64.4 percent at 5-on-5, Zykov saw his ice time and opportunity plummet, and will move on because of it.
Initially, it seemed like Zykov’s ouster was imminent to make roster room for the return of Kris Russell, but with Alex Chiasson’s injury and subsequent move to the injured reserve, the importance of waiving the young Russian sniper becomes murkier; why not just swap Russell in for Chiasson? With the call up of Kailer Yamamoto from Oilers' AHL affiliated Bakersfield Condors this morning, the swap looks clearer, if no more defensible: Yamamoto for Zykov.
Compounding this latest head scratching decision from Oilers management (one of very very many), Zykov was claimed by a division rival, the Vegas Golden Knights, this morning. General manager Peter Chiarelli has gifted an unknown quantity to a division rival for nothing, for little apparent reason.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the Edmonton Oilers.
The return of Erik Karlsson from a two-game suspension for a high hit on Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner is good new for everyone not named Tim Heed or Joakim Ryan. Otherwise, lines look similar to what head coach Peter DeBoer trotted out against the Ducks, and one hopes for a similar result.
The time is nigh for Karlsson’s return to the lineup. Projected lines for #SJSharks at people who harvest dead dinosaur bones pic.twitter.com/1hbDEcTovx— Fear the Festivus ❄️ (@fearthefin) December 29, 2018
An afternoon game means no morning skate, so lines are an estimate until a little closer to puck drop, but we can use yesterday’s practice lines as a guide. Per head coach Hitchcock, Russell’s return is probable after missing the Oilers’ last seven games with an undisclosed injury, Jason Garrison is a game time decision after missing Thursday’s contest against the Vancouver Canucks with an illness, Drake Caggiula is expected to draw back into the lineup after missing time due to illness, Jujhar Khaira will play after serving a two-game suspension for a cross check to St. Louis’ Vince Dunn, Chiasson has been placed on injured reserve after absorbing an Adam Larsson slap shot and the jury is still out on whether Yamamoto will suit up, after being called up this morning.
Other than that, though, all is quiet.
EDM lines today:— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) December 28, 2018
Chiasson not on ice....
Where to watch
Puck drop at Rogers Place is at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports California in the bay area and SportsNet West up North of the border. Tune in to radio calls on 98.5 KFOX, and tune in for live updates and the hottest of takes right here.
Bake ‘em away, toys!
Hey everyone, Lach in the Crease here! I’ll be tackling the liveblog this afternoon, and what better day to do it than the Sharks’ final Hockey Night in Canada appearance of 2018. Hope you’ll join me for some lunch time Sharks talk!
20:00: Martin Jones in goal to our right, Cam Talbot to our left. Let’s do that hockey!
17:53: Pretty sure that excerpt of “High Hopes” we just heard was actually coming from Connor McDavid’s head, since he’s always having to carry the Oilers single-handedly.
16:10: Is Milan Lucic the most snakebitten player in the NHL? Judging by that play it’s pretty likely.
14:55: Simek shoots...*CLANG*. So close.
13:32: Oilers score. Ty Rattie gets left wide open in front, and Leon Draisaitl finds him with the centering pass from behind the net. 1-0 Oilers.
HOLD UP. The goal is under review. Did the puck completely cross the line? Vote now on your phones!
Goal stands. Rattie gets his third of the season with assists from Leon and...you already know who.
13:16: SCORRRRRES!!! The Donfather ties this game right back up after some nifty passing from EK65 and Ninja Hertl. Action everywhere!
11:25: Let me take this opportunity to say it’s really great to have you back, Erik. We missed you.
9:47: SCORRRES!!! Hertl cashes in off a slick move in front of Cam Talbot after Brent Burns throws him a perfect seeing-eye pass. Sharks grab their first lead of the game, 2-1.
8:02: Jones with a solid stop on Darnell Nurse. Those are the kind of saves you need in an early barnburner like this one.
7:35: Drake Caggiula is up to no good. He gets called for taking out Justin Braun behind the Sharks net. To the power play we go!
5:05: The frustration might be setting in a bit for the Oilers. Notice the extra couple chippy plays they’re making and the wild shot Draisaitl took in hopes that it’d bounce in his favour. Losing four in a row will do that to you.
2:06: Sharks get the puck to the net, but it juuuust trickles through the crease. Lots of good chances so far.
0:00: Horn goes, that’s the period. San Jose and Edmonton tie in shots with 12 apiece, but it’s the Sharks with the one goal lead. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got 20 minutes to put some soup on the stove and I fully intend to.
20:00: As we get the second period underway, it looks like Connor McDavid has gotten the official credit for the opening goal, since apparently Rattie’s shot DIDN’T cross the line. 20 years later and video review still isn’t down to a science, huh? Either way, back to the action!
18:40: Kyle Brodziak catches Markus Sorensen with a late hit, but no penalty? ...okay.
17:20: Can’t say I ever expected to hear a trumpet cover of “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, and yet here we are. Interesting music choices, Edmonton.
15:58: Great backchecking on McDavid by EK65, and Tobias Reider gets shutdown by Jones.
13:21: THEY SCORRRRE!!! Logan Couture peforms the rarest of NHL tasks — throw off Connor McDavid — and he gets rewarded with his 14th goal of the year! Top marks to Joe Thornton for patiently waiting behind the net for an open pass too. 3-1 Sharks!
13:00: Unpopular All-Star opinion: I know McDavid is far and away the best player in the world, but how did neither Erik Karlsson or Elias Pettersson win the Pacific vote this season? Get creative, hockey fans!
10:55: Pavelski proves to be too much for Chris Wideman, and the other former Senators defenseman gets called for holding. Iiiiiit’s a Sharks POWWWWER PLAYYYYYY!
7:42: Hoooooly cow. Sharks were circling, just didn’t get the bounce they needed and Talbot nabs the puck. THAT’S some Cup-contending quality levels of pressure.
5:41: Wideman gets away with a high-stick on Timo Meier, but the refs see right through him when he trips Jumbo seconds later. Back to the box with you!
3:08: Not as successful a power play as before, but Jones promptly robs Zack Kassian point blank on the ensuing Oilers’ rush. Good first half for him tonight.
1:15: GOOOOOOOOAAAAAL!!! Erik Karlsson just throws the puck on net and it somehow found its way past Talbot. 4-1 San Jose and EK65 has his third point of the day!
0:00: Second period done, and the Sharks head back into the locker room having increased their lead by two and Edmonton’s sadness by a hundred. At least they have the Eskimos to look forward to next summer?
20:00: One last period, time to close this game out. Game on!
17:44: Relatively slow start to the final frame, but I highly doubt any of the Sharks mind.
17:19: SCORRRRRES!!! The Melk Man tips a Burns shot past the glove of Talbot, and he’s got Goal No. 5 of the season and the game for the Sharks! I hereby declare this rout on.
12:56: Timo gets the stick up on Darnell Nurse, and the Sharks find themselves on the PK for the first time today. Keep it simple, guys.
11:35: GOAAAAAAL!!! Total collapse by Cam Talbot and the Oilers in their own end, and Logan Couture gets a shorthanded goal! Just about everything is going the Sharks way today. 6-1 Sharks now!
9:20: Oilers get one back. Caleb Jones left alone in front and he’ll get his first NHL goal. Congrats Caleb, even in a lopsided loss like this you’ll want to remember this moment for the rest of your life.
7:03: Sharks need to be careful not to get involved in any late skirmishes as this game winds down. The Oilers have nothing else to lose and they’ll likely want to make their presence known again in the final stages.
5:51: ANOTHA ONE!!! Melker from Erik and the Family Karlsson have gotten the Sharks to lucky number seven on the night. Is this the best game of the season or what?!
3:07: Oilers won’t go quietly and the German Wunder Leon Draisaitl snipes one past Jones to cut the Sharks’ lead to four. But in a game like this, you can let that mistake go.
0:05:8: Oilers get one final goal, thanks to Connor McDavid’s perfect hand-eye coordination. He’s just that good.
0:00: The horn sounds, and the Sharks win a 7-4 stomping in Edmonton! Thanks for joining me today, and I hope you enjoy the rest of your final weekend in 2018!