The second night of back-to-back games can be tough, but spending the night in your own bed seems to help. The Sharks started last night’s game right on time and rolled right over the Edmonton Oilers, winning the game 7-2.
The Sharks are now on a roll. Winning six of their last seven games and going 13-3-2 since that closed door team meeting on Dec. 2, 2018.
“I think for us what changed it is we stopped wishing for offense at times and we started doing things the right way,” said Captain Joe Pavelski after last night’s game. “We started getting more out of our game and made it tougher on other teams and supported the puck better at times. I think that’s the biggest thing ... I think just the commitment to the guys of doing it the right way. Playing hard, playing honest, winning hockey. Hockey that wins games.”
And possessing the puck. Just for the fun of it, take a look at Natural Stat Trick’s chart of Corsi in all situations for last night’s game.
Yeah, the Sharks had the puck a lot.
Evander Kane started off the scoring. When you’re hot, the lucky bounces seem to go your way and that’s just what happened to Kane.
Is it better to be lucky or good? EK9 is both. #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/OqJl68204w— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 9, 2019
Good back checking in the Sharks' zone led to a turnover that Erik Karlsson gobbled up. He brought the puck out of the zone and fed it to Tomas Hertl in the neutral zone. Hertl passed it along to Kane, who looked to pass it back to the middle of the ice. Instead, his pass ricocheted off the skate of rookie defenseman Caleb Jones and into the net.
EK65 received the secondary assist on the play and extended his point “streak” to 14 games.
At the 12:57 mark, Alex Petrovic all but tackled Marcus Sorensen, who was headed to the Oilers’ net on a breakaway. The ref was quick to point to the center dot for a penalty shot and the rest was up to Sorensen. The Swede delivered, scoring his first career penalty shot. His dad was there in the crowd to see it.
Sorensen makes 'em pay #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/adraSpLRdv— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) January 9, 2019
With a 2-0 lead, the Sharks should have been rolling, but the rhythm came to a grinding halt when less than a minute later, Tim Heed took a hooking penalty. Any power play with Connor McDavid touching the puck is going to be dangerous and this one was. Alex Chiasson scored his 17th goal of the season with assists going to McDavid and Darnell Nurse.
But the scoring wasn’t done yet. Less than a minute later, Joonas Donskoi gave the Sharks their two-goal lead back.
.@sharkvoice: "What a move by Joonas Donskoi!" pic.twitter.com/VuTPCstmw4— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 9, 2019
The goal was a little redemption for Heed, who fed the puck to Donskoi at the blueline. Number 27 swung wide to give Heed time to drive the net. Then Donskoi sneaked in there and used his quick hands to put it five-hole on Cam Talbot. 3-1, Sharks.
Zack Kassian took a penalty late in the first period, but the Sharks could not capitalize. Just the same, they went into the locker room up 3-1 after 20 minutes of play.
In the second period, the Sharks continued to control the play, but a poor clear by Joakim Ryan put Connor McDavid ... er … the Oilers back on the power play. Aaron Dell just managed to stop McDavid on a wraparound attempt and then the post stopped McDavid later in the man-advantage.
The rest of the Edmonton power play was negated when the Oilers made a bonehead move of their own and put too many men on the ice. Neither team scored on the man advantage or the 4-on-4 and everyone went back to 5-on-5.
At the 6:32 mark, Evander Kane scored his second of the night. There was a brief review, as it looked like Kane may have redirected it a little too much with his skate, but Toronto was quick to say it was a good goal.
Tired: Using a stick to score goals— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) January 9, 2019
Wired: Scoring goals off of skates #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/8LGgQHVWzH
That was enough for Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock, who yanked Cam Talbot and tossed Mikko Koskinen in — at least it seemed like it. Koskinen got lost somewhere in the depths of SAP Center and didn’t find his way to the ice in time. The puck dropped with Talbot still in net and Koskinen looking like he was late to the party.
Hitchcock was able to make the change at the next stoppage and it inspired the Oilers for a short period of time. Milan Lucic managed to find himself all alone behind Dell and scored his second of the season to make it 4-2.
A little over a minute later, Logan Couture took a weak penalty and it looked like the Oilers might find a way back into the game. But the Sharks' penalty kill went to work, shutdown Edmonton and then the team went on the attack. Sorensen drew a penalty and it was San Jose’s turn on the power play.
It took most of the man advantage, but Brent Burns eventually found the back of the net. 5-2, Sharks.
The #SJSharks have scored so many times tonight that they broke the goal horn. pic.twitter.com/Lr7Uldgji8— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 9, 2019
Burns took a bouncing pass from Timo Meier at the blueline. He passed it along to EK65, who settled it and fed it back to Burns. The Wookie skated towards the net and the Oilers collapsed to give him room. Burns took it and went top shelf for the power play goal.
The Sharks did not let up in the third. Just a minute into the period, the fourth line went to work in the Oilers’ zone. Joe Thornton came off the bench and found the puck on his stick and then the back of the net.
Our fingers hurt from Tweeting out all of these goals. #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/vQWKHpHNWQ— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 9, 2019
If you look at the replay, Thornton appears to be trying to pass the puck across the ice (because that’s what Thornton does) and managed to hit Adam Larsson’s skate and bounce it past Koskinen. 6-2, Sharks.
And the hits kept coming for the Oilers. At the 10:44 mark, Donskoi scored his second of the night.
See you Thursday @GoldenKnights. #SJSharks pic.twitter.com/lME5HzTyT9— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) January 9, 2019
The initial shot sent Koskinen scrambling for the rebound, a few more shots and Donskoi found a soft spot and the back of the net. 7-2, Sharks. Kane and Erik Karlsson claimed the assists on the play.
Late in the period, the Oilers threatened to add a third goal, but Dell made the saves when they counted. He stick checked the puck away from Chiasson and gloved away another shot a few seconds later. Dell finished the night with 20 saves and a .909 save percentage.
In summation, the Sharks are heating up.
For Erik Karlsson, that’s 25 points in 14 straight games. Sounds like the Sharks and EK65 will talk extension after the all-star break (at least according to TSN’s Pierre Lebrun on Insider Trading, if you can’t watch it, NBC Sports has a good write up here).
As for Donskoi, he has eight points in his last six games and seven of those are goals. Last night, he claimed the game winning goal.
Donskoi’s linemate, Kane, is also doing well. He had two goals and an assist last night, and nine points in his last five games.
Meanwhile, that other Norris Trophy winning defenseman, Burns, is doing pretty well himself. He had a goal and an assist last night and has 11 points in his last five games.
Up next for the Sharks, a showdown with the Vegas Golden Knights. You’ll remember the last time these two teams played, the Golden Knights handily beat the Sharks 6-0. It sent the Sharks on that losing spiral of four losses in a row and led to that aforementioned closed door meeting that put the Sharks back on track.
Yeah, Thursday’s game is important.