A disastrous second period costs the Sharks a victory and a prime opportunity to make up points on the Ducks and Kings.
With an early two-goal lead in hand, it was looking like the Sharks were well on their way to a nice bounce back win following Tuesday night’s 1-0 loss to the Blues. But there’s a reason 2-0 is the most dangerous lead in hockey, as the saying goes.
The game was electrifying from the jump when Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse and recent call-up Micheal Haley each received five-minute majors for fighting, with Haley getting in a few good punches. Just 36 seconds later, Tommy Wingels scored his 17th goal of the year on a deflection off a Roman Polak shot from near the blue line, followed by a well set up power play goal by Joe Pavelski, his 35th of the season, on a fine feed from Joe Thornton.
The Sharks ended up out-shooting the Oilers 12-4 in the first period, but the second period was a whole different story. Lauri Korpikoski did a nice job deflecting an Adam Clendening shot off his stick past James Reimer to cut the lead in half. A bad turnover by Patrick Marleau then led to a Taylor Hall short-side snipe for the equalizer. Merely 45 seconds later, Adam Clendening snapped one past Reimer for his first goal of the season.
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The scoring wasn’t done in the period, though, as the Sharks notched their second power-play goal of the game thanks to Marleau’s hard work in front of the net, redeeming himself for his earlier mistake. It was Marleau’s 21st goal of the season, with assists coming from Thornton and Brent Burns.
But even that wouldn’t end the barrage of goals in the period, as the skills of rookie Connor McDavid led to a Patrick Maroon goal at the 18:04 mark. Maroon was active all night, finishing with the one goal alongside two helpers. While shots were even at nine in the period, the Oilers put the puck in the back of the net four times. To put that into perspective, the Sharks hadn’t allowed four goals in a game since Mar. 5 against Vancouver.
More of the same came in period three with Jordan Eberle rebounding his own scoring chance to notch his 24th goal of the season. Hall sent Sharks fans home disgruntled with a late empty-netter to cap off the 6-3 victory.
Interestingly enough, the Sharks generally fared well on the stat-sheet, out-shooting the Oilers 26-22, winning 55 percent of face-offs, recording more hits than the Oilers and blocking 20 shots to Edmonton’s 14. The 36 giveaways, a couple of them resulting in the horn sounding for the Oilers, were what really did in San Jose.
Losing games to non-playoff teams and struggling with consistency has been a problem for San Jose in the last five weeks or so. Team teal has now endured home losses to Edmonton, New Jersey, Vancouver, Buffalo and Carolina since their Feb. 18 win at Florida. Things won’t get any easier for the Sharks, with their final two games of this six-game home stand coming against the Stars and Kings on Saturday and Monday, respectively.
Luckily, Anaheim letting a point slip away at Toronto and Los Angeles falling to Winnipeg in regulation keeps the Sharks’ slim hopes alive for the top spot or, more likely, a top two spot in the Pacific. However, with just eight games left on the docket, time is running out.
–Melker Karlsson left the ice for a chunk of time in the second period but would return for the third.
–Joonas Donskoi also skated off the ice in the second period, but did not return. Sharks coach Peter DeBoer did not give an update on the extent of Donskoi’s injury following the game.
-Joe Thornton’s two helpers vaulted him to second in the NHL in the assist category, now with 55 on the campaign.
-Connor McDavid had one assist on the night, giving him 29 on the season. In just 40 games, McDavid has 43 points, maintaining a 1.08 points per game average, good for third in the league.
-This was James Reimer’s first poor start since his San Jose debut on March 5th. Coming into tonight, he had recorded two shutouts in his previous four starts with a .952 save percentage during that span.