Lucic’s Third-Period Hattrick Downs Sharks’ Home Ice Hopes 4-2

April 6, 2017

NHL, San Jose Sharks

Edmonton Oilers’ Milan Lucic (27) after getting into a big throw down with the San Sharks Michael Haley earlier in the game Lucic ends up scoring three goals here he celebrates after scoring against the San Jose Sharks during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, April 6, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

By Matthew Harrington

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The news that both Logan Couture and Joe Thornton will be ready for game one of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is welcome to the San Jose Sharks after taking a beating from Milan Lucic and the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers, a potential first-round opponent, topped the Sharks 4-2 thanks to a natural hattrick in the third period from Milan Lucic and 4 assists from Oscar Klefbom. Connor McDavid, the league’s leading point-getter, picked up a goal and assist for the victors, while Cam Talbot made 13 saves in net for Edmonton.

Joel Ward continued his hot streak, scoring in back-to-back games while Brent Burns scored his second goal in just 18 games. The Sharks power play went 0-for-4 while killing off just 3 of 5 penalties, allowing 32 shots from Edmonton. Martin Jones made 28 saves in net for San Jose.

While a slashing minor to David Desharnais had just wrapped up 6 minutes into period 1, Ward took advantage of the Oilers in the vulnerable minute. David Schlemko ripped a point shot that Ward, stationed on the mouth of the crease, redirected past Talbot for his 10th goal of the year and second goal in as many games. The veteran winger was without a goal in his previous 10 games, drawing a healthy scratch to refocus his efforts.

After being stymied for most of the 1st period, the Oilers increased their efforts down the stretch of the 1st and into the 2nd by firing 21 shots on net after only owning 3 through the first 10 minutes of play. The Oilers’ biggest shot came 4:40 into the 2nd when Connor McDavid netted his 30th goal of the season (and league-leading 96th point) to tie the game.

McDavid initiated a cycle on the blue line, passing the puck to Adam Larsson who was stationed in the middle of the blue line. From there, Larsson fed the puck to Oscar Klefbom on the opposite side of McDavid. Klefbom ripped the point shot that pin-balled off Tomas Hertl and Justin Braun, landing on the sure-fire MVP’s stick. With Jones down in position to make a save on the original shot, McDavid had the open net to knot the game up.

Despite struggling to generate much offense (10 shots through two periods) San Jose found itself up 2-1 after 40 minutes of play. Brent Burns netted his 29th goal of the season with 7:30 left in the middle period. After Mikkel Boedker couldn’t win the face-off against Desharnais, Hertl swooped in to flick the puck to Burns on the point. Burns’ shot worked its way around the screens of a number of players to beat Talbot for a 2-1 lead.

While the Sharks power play failed to score on four attempts and Marcus Sorensen couldn’t cash in on a penalty shot chance early in the third, Edmonton’s power play tied the game 4:26 into the final period. The Sharks mental mistake, a too many men penalty, lead to Milan Lucic beating Jones just 6 seconds into the man-advantage. Oscar Klefbom picked up his second assist, while McDavid added to his league-best 67 assist total.

Lucic struck again 7:53 into the third for his 22nd goal of the year, scoring it in quintessential Lucic fashion. Jones made a magnificent save on Klefbom streaking down the left wing aiming for the blocker side. While Jones made the save, his blocker shrug popped the puck back to Klefbom who was quickly approaching the goal line. Jones came out of his butterfly to reset his positioning, but in that time Klefbom snuck the puck between Jones’ skates parallel to the goal line. As he has many times before in his career, Lucic was waiting in the blue paint to tap the game-winning goal into the vacant net.

Lucic scored another rebound goal from the goal mouth, collecting the third-period hattrick on an Oilers power play with 3:29 left in regulation. Klefbom added his fourth assist of the night and Letestu picked up his first point of the night.

With the loss, the Sharks have all but guaranteed themselves the third spot in the Pacific Division. The Oilers have two more points than San Jose with two games left to play to San Jose’s one. The Sharks do hold the ROW advantage 43 to 41 though, making the Sharks regular season finale critical. If the Sharks were to beat the Calgary Flames Saturday night at SAP and Edmonton loses its final two games, the Sharks would earn home ice during the opening round of the playoffs.


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