All good things must eventually come to an end - just don’t tell Leon Draisaitl or Connor McDavid.
While tonight’s game saw the Sharks’ season-high win streak end at six, the otherworldly Oilers duo extended their personal point streaks (Draisaitl’s to 13 games, and McDavid’s to 3 consecutive 3+ point outings) en route to a one-sided victory in San Jose. The Sharks, as many NHL clubs understandably do, struggled to contain McDavid as he scored a goal, tallied two assists, and drew a penalty with his unparalleled skating ability. That being said, McDavid wasn’t the sole reason the Sharks ended up on the wrong end of a 5-2 final score Tuesday night.
The top line of Logan Couture, Evander Kane, and Kevin Labanc was largely kept in check (despite Labanc getting on the board with an early goal), Edmonton continued their stellar special teams play, converting on one of their two power play opportunities and eliminating both of San Jose’s, and goaltender Mikko Koskinen joined the ever-growing ranks of netminders to outplay Martin Jones, stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced, good for a save percentage of .943%. At the other end of the ice, Jones allowed 5 goals while facing 29 shots, good for a save percentage of .828% - his 13th game of the season with a sub-.900% save percentage.
There remain positives for the Sharks moving forward though, namely that Tomas Hertl, who went straight to the dressing room after falling awkwardly in the waning moments of the third period, says he “should be fine”, and that whatever he tweaked was “nothing with (his) knee.” Kevin Labanc continued to play well, as did Mario Ferraro and Barclay Goodrow. That, and the Sharks are now 6-1-0 since defenseman Radim Simek returned from injury, with an excellent opportunity to steal two points from an opponent they’re chasing in the Pacific Division race, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, Thursday night at T-Mobile Arena. Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially considering the Sharks have gone winless in two tries against the Golden Knights this year, but hey - all streaks end at some point, right?
20:00: The puck has been dropped, and we’re underway!
16:26: The Oilers strike first, as Markus Granlund tallies his first goal of the season on a nice cross-ice pass. The Oilers had a couple nice cycles in the offensive zone, and their fourth line managed to build on them and cash in. It’s 1-0 Edmonton.
13:50: Marcus Sorensen gets a decent chance, streaking into the Oilers’ zone, but is shut down but net-minder Mikko Koskinen. Offensively, it’s been all Edmonton so far.
12:02: The Oilers’ top line has an excellent shift in the Sharks’ zone, and Zack Kassian squeaks one under the pad of Martin Jones. 2-0 Oilers.
10:37: The Sharks answer quickly, as Kevin Labanc extends his hot streak, scoring the first of the game for San Jose! 2-1 Oilers, and the Sharks are right back in it.
10:19: The Sharks are buzzing on the back of Kevin Labanc, who draws the hooking penalty from Kassian. They’ll head to the power play.
8:19: The Oilers continue their phenomenal special-teams play, killing the penalty with relative ease.
6:02: Labanc has his shot blocked by Leon Draisaitl, but it’s obvious he’s really dialed in tonight. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the score sheet again tonight.
3:54: Timo Meier drives to the net with an excellent power move, but is denied by Koskinen, who’s looked really sharp so far.
3:07: Good shift by the Sharks in the offensive zone, but Brent Burns loses it at the blue line. The last few minutes have been refreshing, with the Sharks sustaining pressure in the Oilers’ zone.
2:24: Labanc with a great heads-up play in the defensive zone, breaking up a pass intended for Draisaitl with a slick poke check.
:14: Jujhar Khaira extends the lead for Edmonton just before the period ends - the Oilers were all over the Sharks, who have to be deflated after giving one up with so little time left in the period. 3-1 Edmonton.
END FIRST: Sharks 1, Oilers 3
Not an inspiring first period for the Sharks, but they did flash their ability to engage and answer quickly on the sequence leading to Labanc’s goal. The two goal lead is commonly referred to as the ‘worst lead in hockey’ for a reason - it’s anything but insurmountable.
20:00: We’re back for the second period!
18:10: Melker Karlsson gets a nice one-time opportunity from Joe Thornton, but sends it wide of the net - that really could have been something.
17:20: The Sharks got really solid shifts from their bottom-six, and have controlled play the majority of the period thus far. Nice to see them come out with some bounce.
14:48: Darnell Nurse jumps up into the play and puts a dangerous shot on Martin Jones. The Oilers are getting things going offensively here after spending most of the second period in their own zone.
11:41: Edmonton’s Alex Chiasson attempts a quick wrap-around on Jones, but Jones makes a quick lateral move and shuts the door.
9:26: Draisaitl and Connor McDavid trade passes in the Sharks’ zone, but end up losing the puck, which the Sharks turn into an odd-man rush (three on two). Unfortunately, a skater in teal goes offside, and what looked to be a promising scoring chance vanishes.
7:04: An excellent chance for Erik Karlsson on the side of the net, but he fans on it. The Sharks are pressuring again, and look a lot better than they did in the first period.
6:23: Dylan Gambrell fires a shot into traffic, and despite receiving a tip, it’s stopped by Koskinen. Barclay Goodrow was there, and registered a nice rebound attempt, but Koskinen was all over it.
4:13: Draisaitl receives an unbelievable pass from McDavid, and almost puts the Oilers up 4-1. The Sharks dodged a bullet, with the NHL’s leading scorer barely missing.
3:42: McDavid out-skates Mario Ferraro, and draws a hooking penalty; the Sharks will be shorthanded for two minutes. Hard to fault Ferraro, as with the way McDavid skates, it’s remarkable he doesn’t draw that same penalty every game he plays.
2:41: James Neal cashes in on the power play, and the Oilers are up 4-1. Connor McDavid sent a beautiful shot-pass to the front of the net, and Neal was there to redirect it past Jones.
1:01: Brenden Dillon goes to the box for interference after pulling down Draisaitl, and the red-hot Oilers power-play is heading back on the ice.
:23: Barclay Goodrow breaks away shorthanded, but is stoned by Koskinen on the 1 on 0 - he’s been great tonight.
END SECOND: Sharks 1, Oilers 4
20:00: The final period is underway.
19:13: Chiasson has a nice look in the paint on a pass from McDavid, but he can’t tuck it past Jones.
16:00: McDavid takes a rare penalty, as he’s caught holding the stick of Patrick Marleau. The Sharks have a golden opportunity to get back in the game as they head to the power play.
14:40: Koskinen with another nice save, this time on a booming Brent Burns shot from the center of the point.
13:26: Connor McDavid punches in a juicy rebound, and the Oilers are up 5-1.
10:17: A pass deflects off of an Oilers player’s skate, and Goodrow banks it home. 5-2 Edmonton now.
7:54: McDavid sends a slick pass to Draisaitl in front of the net, but Jones shuts him down. Edmonton remains comfortably in control.
6:14: Dylan Gambrell makes a great heads-up play, finding Marc-Edouard Vlasic across the ice with a nice point-to-point pass, although nothing comes of it.
FINAL SCORE: Sharks 2, Oilers 5
Keeping the good times going may be a challenge tonight, as the San Jose Sharks (10-10-1, 7th Pacific) host the division-leading Edmonton Oilers (13-6-3, 1st Pacific) for the second time in as many weeks. If it’s anything like last Tuesday, the Sharks will take it handily, as they walloped the visitors back then to the tune of 6-3, and added a Barclay Goodrow Gordie Howe hat trick to the festivities. The Sharks have won two games since then, and will try to extend a season-long winning streak to seven tonight.
Much of the Sharks’ success over those six wins has to be attributed to the contributions of the team’s nominal second line, composed of Goodrow and Timo Meier flanking Tomas Hertl. Our number one ranked player of last week, Hertl piled up six goals and nine points in the first five wins of the streak before going pointless on Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings. Meier, to his own credit, compiled three goals and nine points of his own during that span, but after Hertl exited Thursday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks early with an undisclosed injury, we’re all crossing our fingers that his lack of production on Saturday was just a happy accident, and that he is as healthy as the team implies.
Edmonton has been a bit less successful lately, as while the Sharks search for their seventh win in as many games, the Oilers are looking for their sixth in ten. Their 5-2-2 record over their last nine contests comes with a few overtime losses, so they aren’t doing many favors for the seven teams chasing them in the division standings, but we might be seeing their over-reliance on their top two forwards start to take its toll. Those two forwards are, of course, Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, who still rank first and second, respectively, in ice time per game among forwards in the entire NHL.
Their production so far this year is nothing short of insane. The two stars lead the league in points, Draisaitl first with 43 and McDavid second with 40. 43 points! In 22 games! Is it 1987 again? It gets worse! The Great German Übermensch has points in 12 straight games, and could tie the season record by extending that streak to 13 tonight, but in those 12 games he’s recorded ten goals and 27 points! McDavid is awful by contrast, after all, he was only awarded first star of the week last week, probably because he’s on a streak of eight goals and 17 points in SEVEN GAMES. Who are these horrifying soulless hockey robots?! We should treasure players who spit on each other at this point: at least we know they’re human!
It is probably impossible to keep those two off the board tonight, so we’ll have to rely on the Sharks’ prolific offense to carry the day again. Over the course of their six wins (and counting!) the Sharks have out-scored their opponents 25-17, and should be able to make short work of what’s left of the Oilers’ less than impressive defensive corps: outside of Oscar Klefbom, second in the league in ice time per game, the Oilers’ D is a pile of inexperienced rookies and aging vets who will hopefully have their hands full with San Jose’s loaded top six.
Enjoy the magic of McDavid and Draisaitl tonight, but we hope they can’t quite keep up. A Sharks win, combined with, in regulation, (deep breath) a Nashville Predators loss to the Winnipeg Jets (possible given the recent play of Pekka Rinne), a Chicago Blackhawks loss to the Carolina Hurricanes (the ‘Hawks are on a wild PDO bender, it’ll crash eventually, why not tonight?), a Calgary Flames loss to the Colorado Avalanche (Nathan MacKinnon is in full beast mode (5-6-11 in his last five), quake ye at his fearsome visage), and a Vegas Golden Knights loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs (both teams are slipping, but a Leafs loss would be way more fun) would trebuchet them from seventh up to fourth in the division, and into the second wild card slot in the West.
Put your money on the parlay, kids, I feel lucky (please don’t put any money on that parlay, it’s very unlikely, and would be an irresponsible use of your hard earned currencies).
Expected scratches: Tim Heed
Injured reserve: Dalton Prout (upper body)
This is as close to a complete roster as the Sharks have had all season, the only spot that seems to still be up for grabs is Lukas Radil’s tenuous hold on a fourth line spot. We’d normally assume that Noah Gregor would be next in line should Radil falter, but once and future king Antti Suomela was called up from the AHL Barracuda earlier today, so intrigue abounds.
Koskinen starts at SJ.— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) November 19, 2019
The rest of the lineup...
Expected scratches: Patrick Russell, Sam Gagner
Injured reserve: Adam Larsson (broken leg), Brandon Manning (hand)
Larsson hasn’t played since blocking a shot in Edmonton’s season opener, but he’s expected to be activated off of IR on their current road trip and could play as early as Thursday. Manning probably hurt his hand by repeatedly slamming it into Barclay Goodrow’s head at high speeds in this game that allegedly mature adults play, and was initially projected to miss just two games, but is not expected to be ready to play tonight.
Where to watch
Puck drops at SAP Center at 7:30 p.m. PT / 10:30 p.m. ET tonight and will be broadcast on your local moving picture box through the noble magnanimity of NBC Sports in 'Murica and/or SportsNet West in Western Canada. Tune in to the inimitable audio stylings of Dan Rusanowsky and his Ramblin’ Bunch on 98.5 KFOX or through the Sharks + SAP Center app and check back here for updates, analysis, and way more than your share of Klefbom jokes.