Here’s what we learned tonight: Kevin Labanc scored his first career NHL hat trick, Joe Thornton tied Gordie Howe on the all-time assists list with 1,049 and Aaron Dell made his case to be the backup netminder in San Jose, making 21 saves to take the win.
Defense was also a key factor in tonight’s game. Connor McDavid didn’t find his way onto the scoreboard. He lined up against Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski for most of the night, that might have had something to do with it.
With the win, the Sharks have 73 points on the season, tied with Calgary who plays at 7 p.m. PT in Vancouver. They leapfrogged Winnipeg in the Western Conference standings.
The Sharks are riding high with a four-game win streak under their belts. The wins have come against some top NHL teams including the Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets and Calgary Flames. I mention this because if the Sharks aren’t careful, they could underestimate their opponents.
The Edmonton Oilers are sitting in fifth in the Pacific Division. The team just snapped a six-game skid with a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild Thursday night. Despite the losing streak, Edmonton is very much in the mix. The team is two points behind the Vancouver Canucks and the St. Louis Blues, who are fighting it out for the second wildcard slot in the Western Conference.
That’s what’s scary for the Sharks. There’s more than pride on the line for this Oilers team. If the Oilers want to stay in the mix, it’s time for desperation hockey and that’s always dangerous.
For the Sharks, things look just like they have for the last few games.
Timo Meier — Logan Couture — Joe Pavelski
Evander Kane — Tomas Hertl — Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen — Joe Thornton — Kevin Labanc
Barclay Goodrow — Dylan Gambrell — Melker Karlsson
Radim Simek — Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic — Tim Heed
Brenden Dillon — Justin Braun
Joakim Ryan and Lukas Radil are healthy scratches. Erik Karlsson is still day-to-day with an unknown injury.
As for the Oilers, here’s what it looks like according to the team’s website.
Leon Draisaitl — Connor McDavid — Ty Rattie
Milan Lucic — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Alex Chiasson
Jujhar Khaira — Brad Malone — Zack Kassian
Tobias Rieder — Kyle Brodziak — Jesse Puljujarvi
Oscar Klefbom — Adam Larsson
Darnell Nurse — Kris Russell
Brandon Manning — Kevin Gravel (in for the injured Matt Benning)
Talbot was in net for Thursday’s win over the Wild. He made 35 saves in the game and ended the night with a .972 save percentage.
Where to watch
You can catch the game on NBCSCA or listen on 9.85 KFOX or listen through the Sharks’ app if you’re not in the Bay Area. If you like us better, you can join us for the live blog.
Hello friends! Erika here blogging the early Saturday game. Before we start, drop your pick for first goal below.
A little playoff housekeeping before we get started, Winnipeg lost 5-2 to the Ottawa Senators earlier today. That means the Jets are holding steady at 71 points (same as the Sharks). The Flames play the Canucks later tonight at 7:00 PT.
As for the Oilers, they are now four points away from the second wildcard slot in the West. That’s because the St. Louis Blues beat the Nashville Predators 3-2 earlier today.
20:00 - Puck Drop. Looks like the Joe Pavelski line is up against the Connor McDavid line to start off. Aaron Dell is in net.
18:35 - Puck out of play. No sustained zone time for either team so far.
18:07 - Marcus Sorensen stopped by Cam Talbot. He was up close and personal, but couldn’t put it five-hole.
16:10 - Tip out in front of the net by Joonas Donskoi was a great scoring opportunity if anyone in white/teal had been there to knock it in.
15:03 - Melker Karlsson Down and he’s hurt. Karlsson was crosschecked once in the back by Kevin Gravel and went down on his knees. The second shot in the back drove Karlsson in the boards. Jaime Baker thinks it might be a separated shoulder. Head Coach Pete DeBoer is not pleased because there’s no call. Karlsson went straight to the locker room.
14:45 - Breakaway for the Oilers stick checked away by Dell.
Alex Chiasson in the locker room after exchanging slashes with Brent Burns.
10:13 - Chiasson is back. Melker Karlsson is not.
9:21 - Kevin Labanc scores! Patience and a nice pass from Joe Thornton gives Labanc a lane with lots of traffic in front of Talbot. Labanc rips one past Talbot. It’s his 7th of the year. Jumbo gets the primary assist. Sorensen gets the secondary assist.
7:42 - Evander Kane scores! Brent Burns breaks the puck out of the Sharks’ zone with a pass to Tomas Hertl. Hertl takes it into the offensive zone and then tosses it off to Donskoi. Donskoi wastes no time finding Kane, who has sprinted to the side of Talbot. It’s an easy tap in for Kane.
6:48 - Talbot with an amazing save on Timo Meier.
5:27 - Time to take a look at special teams. Edmonton called for too many men on the ice. Oops, spoke too soon. Barclay Goodrow called for crosschecking. Leon Draisaitl called for interference. 4-on-4 hockey time.
4:10 - Things getting chippy out there. Hertl knocked down with a legal check by Adam Larsson. Seconds later, Darnell Nurse lays a hit and Joe Pavelski hands out a slash.
1:37 - Talbot with a big save on Donskoi who was in on a breakaway. The puck goes the other way and Dell has to make a save of his own.
19:55 - Ty Rattie absolutely leveled by a Tim Heed point shot. He’s in pain. The puck hit the side of his leg. He’s helped off to the dressing room.
0:00 - First period ends with the Sharks leading 2-0
First period thoughts: The Sharks have three lines buzzing and a fourth line that’s hobbled by the loss of Melker Karlsson, but still working hard. The Sharks look good, but the Oilers aren’t going away. They know the importance of today’s game and continue to push despite the score.
18:46 - Larsson hits the post. Still 2-0 Sharks.
17:21 - Oilers’ Zack Kassian called for tripping. Sharks on the power play.
15:34 - The Sharks missed a good scoring chance, but got a lucky break when Larsson cleared the puck out of play. 22 seconds of 5-on-3.
15:12 - First penalty expires without a goal. Now 5-on-4.
13:50 - Labanc lifts his second of the night over Talbot’s glove. 3-0 Sharks and that’s a power play tally. Kane and Meier with the assists.
10:54 - Oscar Klefbom called for interference and the Sharks are back on the man advantage.
9:32 - Meier heads to the box for tripping. There goes the rest of the power play. A little 4-on-4 action.
8:00 - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with a power play goal and it was by no means Dell’s fault. He had a series of quality saves before Nugent-Hopkins roofed the puck. 3-1 Sharks.
4:49 - Dell forced to make another save. The Oilers taking a few more shots in the last five minutes or so, building off of that Nugent-Hopkins goal. Dell has stopped 16 of 17 shots so far tonight.
0:00 - Second period ends with a 3-1 score.
Second period thoughts: Edmonton pushed back and got a little traction. Props to the Sharks for not letting the Oilers gain too much momentum at any point in the game. Also, Dell was tested a lot more in this period. He’s stopped 17 of 18 shots through two periods of play.
20:00 - Puck drop. Gotta hold off the Oil for 20 more minutes.
18:24 - Labanc again! That’s his first ever NHL hat trick and he earned this one! Thornton with the assist. That ties Gordie Howe on the all-time assists list with 1,049. 4-1 Sharks.
15:36 - Eek. This could get out of hand fast. Hertl just showing off his stick skills and putting it top shelf on Talbot to make it 5-1.
12:09 - Draisaitl headed to the box of delay of game. It was an impressive delay of game that went all the way down the ice.
10:28 - Meier’s shot off the crossbar looked like it went in. I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get the pucks to go in for the kid.
5:57 - Oilers manage to get another puck past Dell. They won the battle on the boards and Kassian swatted the puck into the net. McDavid was also there and might have touched the puck last. 5-2 Sharks.
4:00 - Is it me or does it feel like McDavid never left the ice?
2:54 - Milan Lucic (no surprise) just ran Radim Simek. Dirty hit. I’m glad to see Simek looks like he’s still okay.
1:09 - Talbot with a save on Kane. He’s looked good despite the score.
0:00 - Sharks win 5-2.