Sharks Fall to Oilers 5-2, Kahkonen Makes 36 Saves in SJ Debut

San Jose Sharks’ Noah Gregor (73) chases Edmonton Oilers’ Leon Draisaitl (29) during first-period at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Thu Mar 24, 2022 (Canadian Press photo via AP)

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks lost to Oilers in Edmonton by a score of 5-2 Thursday. Kailer Yamamoto, Leon Draisaitl, Derick Brassard, and Evander Kane scored for the Oilers. Mike Smith made 28 saves for the win. Erik Karlsson and Tomas Hertl scored for the Sharks. Kaapo Kahkonen made 36 saves in the loss, his first appearance as a Shark.

Logan Couture left the game midway through the second period after being injured by a Brent Burns shot. The puck seemed to hit him in the side and the injury was described as upper-body. There were no specific updates after the game. Timo Meier, who left Tuesday’s game with a lower body injury, was on the ice Thursday.

The Sharks penalty kill was conspicuously less good on Thursday than it has been this season. They failed to kill either of the penalties they took. That is in part due to the absence of regular penalty killers, Jake Middleton and Andrew Cogliano who were traded Monday and Matt Nieto who is still injured.

After the game, Sharks Head Coach Bob Boughner said: “We’re using a lot of different faces in our penalty kill and you could see that tonight.” Some of those new faces included Rudolfs Balcers, Sasha Chmelevski and Noah Gregor.

Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson did not think the penalty kill was terrible: “They’re one of the best power plays in the league, I think they showed that today. The goals that they scored are high-skilled goals. There’s nothing you can do about it sometimes.”

Karlsson scored the first goal of the game at 1:08 of the second period. After cleaning up an odd-man rush the other way that started with a broken stick in the Oilers’ zone, Karlsson got the puck to Timo Meier by the blue line, then skated in. Meier passed the puck across the ice to Tomas Hertl, who sent it back across the ice to Karlsson by the net for the shot.

Kailer Yamamoto tied it up at 4:34 with a power play goal. The Oilers got past the Sharks at the blue line and Yamamoto was in a shooting position before the Sharks could get back. Assists went to Ryan McLeod and Duncan Keith.

Leon Draisaitl scored at 7:39. Zack Kassian got the puck off of Erik Karlsson’s stick by giving him a shove in the hip and throwing him off balance. That went uncalled as Draisaitl skated by and took the puck to the net to score. After the game, Karlsson said, of the incident: “That’s hockey, it’s going to happen.”

Derick Brassard made it 3-1 at 6:49 of the third period. Brassard thew the puck at the net from the blue line. At first it seemed to go off of Ryan-Nugent Hopkins as he dove for the net. It did not hit him as it bounced over the line. Assists went to Jesse Puljujarvi and Evan Bouchard.

Tomas Hertl cut the Oilers lead down to one with a goal at 7:18. Timo Meier Had the puck on his was to the goal line and he found Hertl in the slot with a pass. Hertl shot it past three Oilers and past Smith of the stick side. Assists went to Meier and Karlsson.

Leon Darisaitl scored his second of the night at 13:55, on the power play. Zach Hyman caught a cross- ice pass from Connor McDavid and sent the puck to the net for Draisaitl to tuck into the net.

Evander Kane scored into an empty net at 17:18, with assists to McDavid and Yamamoto.

The Sharks were outshot 41-30 and won 49% of the face-offs. Their power play had four shots in two opportunities.

The Sharks next play on Saturday at home against the Anaheim Ducks at 7:30 PM PT.