The San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers are no strangers but this outcome certainly felt like a reversal of fortunes. After San Jose jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, Edmonton scored the next four goals en route to a big win to tie the two teams atop the Pacific Division. The Oilers improved to 16-1-1 this season when leading after 40 minutes of action despite the Sharks’ commanding 79-41 shot attempt dominance in the game.
The ice was slanted down towards Cam Talbot from the get go. Logan Couture nearly got the Sharks on the board in the opening minute when he left Matt Benning with a pair of broken ankles on a slick dangle to get a dangerous shot on net. Sadly for Benning, he’d get caught again by Couture, but this time it would count.
Wicked passing by the Sharks on this transition goal. pic.twitter.com/6BgI7dvUyk
— Steve Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) January 27, 2017
The Oilers weren’t able to mount much pressure outside of a Timo Meier flub in the defensive zone and Martin Jones was able to bail the rookie out, as Zack Kassian did not get all of his 3-iron on the shot. Edmonton’s other solid chance on net came on the stick of Connor McDavid.
The Oilers captain made a miraculous play against Justin Braun and Marc-Edouard Vlasic and nearly got the puck by Jones as well, but somehow the blessed hands of McDavid did not have enough magic to get the puck over the goal line.
Ryan Carpenter almost made it 2-0 when Talbot stopped the two-on-one chance and the puck dropped right between his feet. But the Edmonton goalie plopped down and covered the puck, still unaware of exactly where it was.
The Oilers tied up the contest 1-1 as Andrej Sekera‘s off-speed knuckle puck deflected off of Vlasic and past Jones in about the strangest goal in recent memory. Sharks bench boss Pete DeBoer challenged the goal, alleging the play was offside, but the play and the score stood as the two teams headed to the locker room.
The second period saw the first Sharks power play when Jordan Eberle headed to the box for holding Brenden Dillon.
The Sharks top power play unit did not generate much pressure and the Oilers force San Jose’s second unit to the edges of the offensive zone.
Just after the teams resumed five-on-five play, Oscar Kelfbom found iron as he beat Jones. Luckily for the San Jose netminder, the goal post came to his rescue, deflecting the puck away. Moments later, Joe Thornton’s slap shot to the far side went just wide.
The Oilers finally recorded their first shot on goal over 12 minutes into the middle frame as Brandon Davidson’s wrist shot forced Jones into action.
The Sharks went back on the man-advantage when Matt Hendricks was booked for tripping Braun. The Oilers had the best chances of the period while killing the Hendricks penalty.
Kassian and Sekera both had odd-man rushes on the San Jose net, but the 1-1 tie remained.
The Oilers got their power play on the ice when Brent Burns headed to the sin bin for slashing McDavid. Sekera found the back of the net for the second time in the game and gave the Oilers their first lead of the 2016-17 season against the Sharks.
The Sharks failed to capitalize on a critical opportunity in the early stages of the final period. Joe Thornton took a high stick from Adam Larsson and the Sharks had four minutes of power-play time. Outside of a modest scramble with Joe Pavelski, nearly no threatening shot made it to Talbot.
Four-minute power play goes by with hardly a peep. Meier then denied on the doorstep by Talbot. Still 2-1 Oilers with 14:10 left, 3rd
— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) January 27, 2017
Joe Thornton took a minor penalty of 6:17 of the third period as he interfered with Kris Russel.
Drake Caggiula put the game out of reach in the 12th minute of play. Paul Martin tried to play the puck deep, but Caggiula chipped it past the veteran defenseman and broke in alone on Jones. The former University of North Dakota standout faked a move to the middle of the ice and fired it short side, beating Jones clean.
McDavid added an empty net goal with just under two minutes to play to seal the game and take two points from the Sharks.
SJS – Logan Couture (17) Assisted by Mikkel Boedker and Patrick Marleau
EDM – Andrej Sekera (6) Assisted By Connor McDavid
EDM – Andrej Sekera (7) (Power Play) Assisted by Leon Draisaitl
Drake Caggiula (4) Unassisted
Connor McDavid (17) Assisted by Leon Draisaitl
THW Three Stars
First Star: Andrej Sekera (Two goals)
Second Star: Cam Talbot (32 saves)
Third Star: Leon Draisaitl (Two assists)
Chicago Blackhawks vs. San Jose Sharks
SAP Center –7:30 PM PST on Jan. 31, 2017
Broadcast Channels: CSN-CA, CSN-CH
Nov. 23: Sharks 2 – Blackhawks 1
Dec. 18: Blackhawks 4 – Sharks 1
Minnesota Wild vs. Edmonton Oilers
Rogers Place – 9:00 PM EST on Jan. 31, 2017
Broadcast Channels: SNW, FS-N, FS-WI
Dec. 4: Wild 2 – Oilers 1 (Overtime)
Dec. 9: Wild 3 – Oilers 2 (Shootout)
Covering all manner of hockey on the West Coast, including the San Jose Sharks, San Jose Barracuda, Stockton Heat, WHL, and random prospect news and notes with random SM-Liiga coverage tossed in as well.