Photo credit: @SanJoseSharks
By Mary Walsh
The San Jose Sharks defeated the Oilers 5-2 win in Edmonton Saturday while adding a couple of milestones. Joe Thornton earned his 1,048th and 1,049th assists to tie Gordie Howe for ninth in the NHL. That last point came on Kevin Labanc’s third goal of the game for his first NHL hat trick. Two more Sharks goals came from Evander Kane and Tomas Hertl. Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell made 21 saves on 23 shots. Edmonton got goals from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zack Kassian, while goaltender Cam Talbot made 26 saves on 31 shots.
Of their success in Edmonton this season, and of Labanc’s hat trick, Sharks Captain Joe Pavelski said:
Yeah, first one, that’s awesome, they were nice goals too. He shot the puck really well tonight, you know, quick, accurate, hard. He made some good plays out there. It was big for us. That’s what I was talking about, up and down the lineup, when we’ve come in here we’ve had guys step up and have big nights and, you know, Kevin had a good one for us tonight.
Kevin Labanc gave the Sharks a 1-0 lead 10:39 into the first. Catching a pass from Joe Thornton as he came into the zone at a good clip, Labanc took a quick shot that went off of an Edmonton skate and into the net. Assists went to Thornton and Marcus Sorensen.
Evander Kane added to that lead at 12:15. Tomas Hertl carried the puck over the blue line, then made a backwards pass to Joonas Donskoi who had just entered the zone behind him. Donskoi found Kane as he arrived in front of the net, undefended. Kane did not hesitate and put the puck by Talbot on the near side. Assists went to Donskoi and Hertl.
The teams skated four-on-four after Barclasy Goodrow and Leon Draisaitl exchanged penalties, crossing-checking for Goodrow and interference for Draisaitl. Neither team scored.
At the end of the first period, the Sharks led 2-0 and 12-5 in shots.
The Sharks had an early power play in the second period, when Zack Kassian went to the box for tripping Evander Kane. With 22 seconds left in that penalty, Adam Larsson was called for delay of game after the puck went out of play.
The two man advantage had expired before the Sharks scored again. Evander Kane moved as if to carry the puck behind the net but instead sent the puck to the front. Timo Meier was there but he could not get his stick on it. The puck went off of his skate and out to Labanc who was at the edge of the faceoff circle. He dragged the puck closer to the slot, encouraging the goalie to move off the post. As Talbot started to move across, Labanc took the shot. Assists went to Meier and Kane.
The Sharks got another chance at 9:06 with Oscar Klefbom in the box for interference against Tomas Hertl, but that was cut short by half a minute when Timo Meier was called for tripping Brandon Manning. The Sharks penalty had 28 seconds left in it when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for Edmonton. Aaron Dell had fought off a couple of shots and was down when the puck popped out to Nugent-Hopkins away from the net crowd. Nugent-Hopkins took the shot and it went through traffic and in at 12:00 of the second. An assist went to Alex Chiasson.
At the end of the second period, the Sharks led 3-1. Despite the power play time for San Jose, Edmonton still had 13 shots to the Sharks’ 7 for the period. Whatever accounted for that imbalance, it did not go unnoticed by the Sharks during intermission. They came out with renewed energy to start the third period.
Kevin Labanc completed his hat trick just 1:36 into the final frame. Much like his first goal of the game, he took a pass from Joe Thornton off the rush and his shot went through traffic. This time, it did not hit anything and went into the net clean as a whistle. Assists went to Thornton and Brenden Dillon.
Tomas Hertl made it 5-1 at 4:24 of the third. He carried the puck into the zone, looked away like he was going to pass across the ice, snatched the puck away from an Edmonton stick, then shot it through the short side. Talbot was unable to predict that.
Zack Kassian got one back for Edmonton at 4:03 of the third. His shot from the blue line bounced off of a skate and went up in their over Dell before landing across the line. Adam Larsson got an assist.
In the end, the Sharks got one power play goal in five chances, and the Oilers scored on their only power play of the game. The Sharks won 60% of the faceoffs.
At 4:57 of the first period, San Jose’s Melker Karlsson carried the puck into the zone and attempted to protect it against Milan Lucic and Kevin Gravel behind the Edmonton net. Gravel pushed Karlsson into the boards and he started to loose his footing. As he started to fall, Gravel pushed him again and Karlsson went down with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Karlsson left the game.
In the final seconds of the first period, Edmonton’s Ty Rattie blocked a Tim Heed shot with his ankle and he left the ice with assistance. He did not return.
The Sharks next play on Monday in Vancouver against the Canucks at 7:00 PM PT.