The Edmonton Oilers coaches were familiar with their foe and venue Thursday, Jan. 26. Their new team exploited the San Jose Sharks special teams for a road victory leading into the All-Star break…
The Edmonton Oilers came into SAP Center on the second night of a back-to-back set Thursday, Jan. 26. However, it was the San Jose Sharks special teams that looked out of gas instead.
The penalty kill failed its first chance while the power play went scoreless in seven shots over eight minutes. Thus, the Sharks go into the All-Star break just half a game ahead of the Oilers atop the Pacific Division.
Besides Edmonton, the Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Arizona Coyotes gained ground on San Jose. The Vancouver Canucks were the only other Pacific Division team to lose Thursday.
The Oilers can also thank their shot-blocking skills for this win. It was literally the only event summary statistic they won: 26-27 faceoffs, 23-22 giveaways, 9-15 takeaways, 17-22 hits, 21-33 shots, 81-41 attempts but 28-9 blocks. Not factored into those statistics is that the Sharks committed their turnovers in worse places and at worse times.
Cam Talbot was fantastic in his 45th of 51 Edmonton games, including his second in two nights. Martin Jones was not as good after a game off Tuesday.
The Pacific Division tilt was also the first in over two months for San Jose’s Tomas Hertl. He skated on the left wing of the top line. That dropped Melker Karlsson onto a very good fourth line with Timo Meier and Ryan Carpenter.
Strong Introduction, Poor Close
Things started out great for San Jose. Just over four minutes into the game, Patrick Marleau took a lead pass and fed Mikkel Boedker on the rush. As Edmonton adjusted in transition, Logan Couture found room in the slot to receive the puck and bury a wrister.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, that was it for their scoring. Moreover, the Oilers tied it up with 5.6 seconds left in the first period.
Connor MacDavid hit Andrej Sekera for the slapshot that took a fortunate bounce past Jones. Peter DeBoer lost another off-sides challenge and Edmonton had punched the Pacific Division leaders in the gut heading into intermission. Afterward, the game slowly eroded away from San Jose.
The Sharks registered the first five-plus shots of the next two periods. However, the Oilers were the only team to score each time.
Sekera scored on another lucky bounce on the power play with 2:51 left in the second. Drake Caggiula caught Jones cheating for the one-timer feed on an odd-man rush with 8:29 left. MacDavid capped scoring with the empty-net goal 1:52 before the final horn.
The loss ended San Jose’s season-high six-game winning streak. Its next game is Tuesday hosting the Chicago Blackhawks.
Edmonton has now won seven of their last eight and hosts the Central Division-leading Minnesota Wild—also Tuesday. Its previous win knocked the four-time defending Pacific Division-champion Anaheim Ducks into third place Wednesday.