The San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers faced off to decide who would take sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division headed into the holiday break.It was a game with something for everyone: big saves, big hits, a few fights and some highlight reel goals. The two teams would play a solid defensive game through the first 45 minutes of action before a flurry of goals in the third period would set up the overtime heroics of Kevin Labanc.
The first period had a good pace to get started with a pair of rested teams. Timo Meier would have the best chance early when he’d deliver a hit behind the Oilers net and corral a puck on the left faceoff dot and whip a shot on Talbot.
During the Sharks first penalty kill of the game, Melker Karlsson would break in alone on Cam Talbot down the left side. Karlsson would get the Edmonton netminder down to the ice, but Talbot would make a stupendous save with his glove to keep the Sharks off the board. The Sharks would get another great chance when Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic headed in two-on-one, but the rebound from Marleau’s shot would bounce over the defenders’ stick.
Edmonton would get another chance on the man advantage when Milan Lucic would sell the interference penalty to send Mikkel Boedker to the box, but the Sharks would kill the penalty off despite some puck wizardry by Connor McDavid. Brenden Dillon and Matt Hendricks would drop the gloves, but Hendricks actions to incite the altercation drew the extra minor and San Jose would finish the first on the power play with a pair of good chances on Talbot. Time would expire and the period would end scoreless after 20 minutes and just over a minute of power-play time would carry over to the next period.
The Sharks would need just 31 seconds of the second period to get on the board.
Joe Thornton would spin at the right boards, pass to Brent Burns who tipped it on for a one-timer by Joe Pavelski for the power-play goal. Soon after Michael Haley and Zack Kassian would drop the gloves with Haley, putting a thumping on the Oilers tough guy. The Oilers would threaten with Justin Braun off for holding and put a shot off of the goal post but still be blanked by Jones.
The Sharks would get their second powerplay when Taylor Beck tripped Pavelski at 6:23 of the middle period. The Sharks would spend much of the two minutes in the offensive zone but come up empty handed.
Kassian would take a double-minor after clipping the linesman trying to punch Brenden Dillon. Cam Talbot would continue as the best Oiler on the ice and keep the San Jose advantage at 1-0 which is where the second stanza of this increasingly chippy contest would end.
The Sharks excellent work in the neutral zone would continue to stifle the speedy Oilers attack. On the heels of a full minute of pressure with the Sharks top line camped in the Oilers zone, Connor McDavid would get a lucky equalizing goal when his shot would pinball off Marc-Edouard Vlasic and then his partner Justin Braun to level the score at 1-1 with 13:43 left in the game.
The Sharks would regain the lead when Oscar Klefbom would misread the play, allowing Logan Couture and Kevin Labanc to go in on Talbot. Couture’s cross-ice feed set-up a wicked one-timer by Labanc and it was 2-1 Sharks. The lead would not last long when McDavid’s pass to Patrick Maroon was shot through Jones’ blocker arm and into the net, again knotting the score.
Justin Braun would be whistled for tripping Patrick Maroon, and the Oilers defense would make for some tense moments at the SAP Center. The Oilers would end the night 0-6 on the power play as the Sharks tempted fate with the high-powered Edmonton squad. Each team would get a point as regulation ended 2-2, and free hockey was needed to find a winner.
Over two minutes would elapse before a Joe Pavelski shot would be the first attempt on net in the extra frame as the two teams played it safe with the extra open ice. The Sharks would get the extra point when Kevin Labanc would fight through a McDavid check to get the puck deep to Couture, who would feed Labanc breaking in on Talbot. Talbot would drop to the ice and right at the top of the crease, Labanc roofed the puck to send the crowd home with the San Jose Sharks atop the Pacific Division.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) December 24, 2016
Joe Pavelski (12) (Power Play) Assisted by Brent Burns and Joe Thornton
Connor McDavid (13) Assisted by Andrej Sekera
Kevin Labanc (5) Assisted by Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski
Patrick Maroon (10) Assisted by Connor McDavid and Eric Gryba
Kevin Labanc (6) Assisted by Logan Couture and Brent Burns
THW Three Stars
First Star: Kevin Labanc (two goals, including overtime winner)
Second Star: Joe Pavelski (goal, assist)
Third Star: Cam Talbot (28 saves)
San Jose Sharks vs. Anaheim Ducks
Honda Center – 7:00 PM PST on Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Broadcast Channels: CSN-CA, SN, PRIME
October 25 – San Jose Sharks 2 Anaheim Ducks 1
November 26 – Anaheim Ducks 3 San Jose Sharks 2
December 9 – Anaheim Ducks 3 San Jose Sharks 2