SAP CENTER — Coming off of back-to-back losses and a drop in the Pacific Division standings, the Sharks didn’t have room for sloppy play, particularly against goaltender Ben Scrivens and the Edmonton Oilers.
Although San Jose defeated the struggling Oilers in their most recent roadie up north, they haven’t been so solid in games that kick off homestands.
But after 60 minutes of back-and-forth hockey — and there was a lot of back and forth — a Patrick Marleau game winner on a third-period power play lead the Sharks to a 5-4 victory.
Even with the win, head coach Todd McLellan wasn’t terribly pleased with how his team performed Tuesday night:
“It was a bittersweet win. It was nice to see us come back and score five, and the power play contributed. Those types of things are nice but I’m going to leave the rink a little more frustrated than excited. I’m sure some of the players will leave that way too.”
One of those players was Joe Pavelski, who had contributed to the comeback win:
“There’s a lot of things we could have been a little bit better on tonight but it’s good to see the boys battle at the end when it counted.”
Andrew Desjardins poked in a Tyler Kennedy rebound shot to put the Sharks up 1-0 early in the first period. Jason Demers also tallied an assist on the goal.
With Dan Boyle in the box for roughing, Taylor Hall’s long shot across the Sharks’ defensive zone eluded Antti Niemi’s outstretched block attempt. A power play goal 12:34 into the first period from Edmonton tied things up 1-1.
Both teams began racking up penalties, leading to a four-on-four with just over five minutes remaining in the opening frame.
With the puck in Edmonton territory and chaos in front of the visitors net, Boyle redeemed himself for his penalty minutes with a slap shot through traffic to help San Jose retake the lead 2-1 as Joe Thornton tallied the lone assist.
Fresh off an ineffective power play attempt by San Jose to open the second stanza, Brad Stuart made a shot that went just inches wide of Edmonton’s net, but Tommy Wingels was in position to nudge the rebound past Scrivens right skate as San Jose’s lead increased to 3-1.
The Oilers bounced back with a vengeance, getting the jump on Niemi twice in the span of 38 seconds — the first goal a snap-shot by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and the second by Jordan Eberle.
Shortly after, Mike Brown dropped his gloves with Matt Fraser to let off steam after the Sharks allowed the game to tie back up, 3-3.
Despite a flurry of shots at Scrivens to conclude the second frame, the visitors were the next to score, with Nugent-Hopkins wristing in his second goal of the evening to give Edmonton the lead 4-3.
But the Sharks top line wouldn’t let the lead stand, mounting an offensive attack in Edmonton territory. Through traffic Pavelski kicked the puck to Thornton, who managed to get it to Brent Burns in from of the blue pain. Burns quickly wrested it in to knot things back up 4-4.
When recalling the crazy nature of the goal post game, Thornton smiled and credited a pre-game “drill” that might have inspired Pavelski’s kick pass:
“We played soccer before the game. (Smiles) Nice little play by Pav.”
San Jose finally made their improved power play count with the game on the line. With David Perron in the penalty box, Marleau got his tape on the loose puck off the faceoff circle and backhanded it past Scrivens’ glove side. No. 12 slid and fell behind Edmonton’s net in the process, but was still able to put the home team back on top 5-4.
The Sharks will certainly have to clean up their act before Thursday when the LA Kings come to town, even with their victory over Edmonton. McLellan said:
“We gave up too much, we were sloppy. We weren’t trusting each other. To play the system, we’ve got to fix that quickly, before the playoffs roll around. Before Thursday gets here. We are going to face a very good team, that plays a disciplined game, that plays for the full sixty. They don’t take many off, so we have to get fixed over the next day or two.”
Puck drop for Thursday’s tilt is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
San Jose finished the season series against Edmonton with a 4-1-0 record; in the last 23 games against Edmonton, the Sharks have gone 17-3-3. … Tonight was the seventh game this season the Sharks had five or more goal scorers [Credit: Elias Sports].