AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jason Frans
By Mary Walsh
A 2-1 loss in Edmonton ended the San Jose Sharks’ winning streak at four, and the Oilers’ losing streak at eleven.
As they have done often lately, the Sharks started slow in Edmonton. A poor first period did not seem to hurt them much, as they finished tied at zero. But their sluggish start may have given the Oilers some much needed confidence. Fairly solid defense in the third allowed the Oilers to hang on to a 2-1 lead and break their eleven game losing streak. It was also the Oilers’ first win this season over a western conference team.
The game winning goal went off of Sharks’ defenseman Brenden Dillon. After the game, he said: “A shot like that, it’s going wide, I’m kind of almost just trying to get out of the way, it hits me perfectly and just goes in.”
The Sharks’ lone goal was scored by Tye McGinn, in his first game since November 29. He described the goal after the game:
I just tried to get to the net. Paddy’s a great player, he can find you pretty much anywhere you are on the ice, so I tried to go to the net as quick as I could and he made a great pass.
It was a great pass, a very pretty backhand pass from the corner. Marleau had a very good game in general. He led the team in shots, had a couple of breakaways, and created several good chances for his team.
The Oilers goals were scored by Nail Yakupov and David Perron. Devan Dubnyk made 21 saves for the win, while Al Stalock made 22 saves on 24 shots. It was Stalock’s first game after returning from a knee injury.
The Oilers outshot the Sharks 11-2 in the first period. That may have helped goaltender Al Stalock find his game in a hurry. After the game, Stalock said as much: “I felt good, got some work early, got into the game, got my legs under me and got into it. So it was good that way.”
The first period saw Tomas Hertl miss a few shifts with an arm or wrist problem after he fell over an Oiler, but he was back in play before the end of the first.
The first penalty of the game went to Mirco Mueller for delay of game. That was almost 15 minutes into the period. A close call during the power play had Al Stalock scrambling but alert. He did stop it in his skates. Another Edmonton chance found Stalock out of the net and playing the puck. The Sharks finished killing the penalty off without incident.
6:18 into the second period, James Sheppard and Keith Aulie went to the penalty box with fighting majors and minors for roughing (Sheppard) and boarding (Aulie). Neither team got a power play out of that but just over a minute later Brenden Dillon was called for holding.
Seconds into the power play, Jordan Eberle skated through the paint in front of Stalock as the goaltender came out to freeze the puck. After the game, Stalock explained how he and Eberle ended up tangled up away from the net: “He had his stick under my glove and I was trying to freeze it and he wanted the puck and he won the battle.”
That became more complicated when Justin Braun, skating backwards, fell over Stalock, leaving the net open and two Sharks out of play. The Oilers managed to capitalize on that and take the lead with a power play goal. Nail Yakupov was the beneficiary, with assists going to Eberle and Jeff Petry.
A couple of minutes after that vaudevillian moment, the Sharks came back with a goal from Tye McGinn off a very slick backhand pass from Patrick Marleau in the corner. It was McGinn’s first of the season and as a Shark. Assists went to Marleau and Brent Burns.
By the end of the second, the Sharks had nine shots for the period, to the Oilers’ seven.
Early in the third period, Logan Couture drew a high sticking penalty against Boyd Gordon. The Sharks power play did not go particularly well, despite a good start. Once the Oilers got the puck out, the Sharks could not get set up again. Edmonton responded with some aggressive offense, keeping the Sharks on their heels for several shifts. That ended with a roughing penalty to Oilers forward Steven Pinizzotto at 5:30. This Sharks power play was a little more tenacious. Even after the penalty expired, the Sharks continued to attack for several shifts.
The Oilers got themselves together by the middle of the period, and after a long spell in the Sharks’ zone, took their second lead of the game. A shot from David Perron near the faceoff dot deflected off of Brenden Dillon and in. Assists went to Teddy Purcell and Mark Fayne.
Patrick Marleau led the Sharks in shots with five. Brenden Dillon led the team in hits with four. Brent Burns led the team in ice time with 24:33.
Tayor Hall led the Oilers in shots with three. Andrew Ference led is team in hits with six, and in ice time with 26:25.
With Matt Nieto out for a second game in a row, and Tyler Kennedy injured in Saturday’s game, the Sharks had all available skaters in the game with Tye McGinn and John Scott both playing.
The Sharks play the Oilers again on Tuesday in San Jose at 7:30 PT.