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Oilers Falter Against Sharks; Lose 6-3

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A beautiful McDavid goal wasn’t enough to get past a slumping Sharks team

The Pacific Division wins and loses as an unit it appears.

The Edmonton Oilers dropped a disappointing 6-3 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night. The game started off great for the home team, jumping on the Sharks with two early goals by Sam Gagner and Connor McDavid, but a relentless San Jose team was able to come back.

It was a game full of frustration as the Oilers failed to garner much momentum all night long. The loss drops their record to 29-20-6 and they drop to 3rd in the Pacific Division.

It was one to forget if you’re an Edmonton Oilers fan but, just in case you do want to know how it happened, I got the full recap for your reading pleasure:

1st Period:

The Oilers looked a lot more energetic to start this one compared to Wednesday’s lethargic effort in Arizona. Perhaps the injection of Tyler Benson gave the team some extra incentive to make his NHL debut a memorable one, as he started the game next to Connor McDavid and Josh Archibald. Benson’s first shift in the NHL wouldn’t result in anything and Tippett would put him back on his regular line with Gaeten Haas and Alex Chiasson after.

The first few minutes of the game went back and forth with each team having their share of chances at each end. Edmonton would get on the board first as Sam Gagner, a new member of the first line, was able to unleash wicked back-hander from the slot that beat Aaron Dell. 1-0 Oilers.

That lead would be extended less than two minutes later as Connor McDavid steamed up the ice, beating both defenders, and roofing a forehand shot overtop of Dell’s glove hand. A classic McDavid breakaway goal to give the Oilers some insurance. 2-0 Edmonton.

Things would quickly start to unwind for the Oilers, however, as San Jose got a sudden burst of energy. They went to work in Edmonton’s end and Timo Mier would redirect a Brent Burns point-shot past Mikko Koskinen to cut the lead to 2-1. Shortly thereafter Melker Karlsson would receive a high-stick from Oscar Klefbom, sending the Sharks on a 4 minute power-play with a chance to tie the game. They would do just that as Brent Burns found some room near the top of the left circle and let loose a slap-shot that zipped by Koskinen.

At the end of the opening 20 minutes the Oilers and Sharks were deadlocked at 2 goals apiece.

2nd Period:

The second period would prove to be one that Edmonton would want to forget. The Sharks seemed much more motivated after tying the game late in the first period. The Oilers, on the other hand, looked rather unmotivated much like they did against Arizona.

San Jose would take advantage of this. About 7 minutes into the period Maxim Letunov was able to pounce on a rebound in front of the net and gives the Sharks their first lead of the game. Not too long after that the Sharks would get to work behind Edmonton’s net where the puck would eventually pop out to Stefan Noesen who would squeak it past Koskinen to give the Sharks a 4-2 lead.

The period would end without much more action but it was clear that a bad Sharks team was clearly outworking the Oilers in this one. Not an ideal time for Edmonton to falter...they had to have a big third period to get back into this one.

3rd Period:

The third period saw a few line changes for the Oilers, the most notable saw Zack Kassian return to the first line. The change did little to salvage the game as the Sharks once again found a way to extend their lead early on in the period. Timo Meier got a lucky bounce off the end boards that he one-timed straight past Koskinen. The Oilers looked a little better but they now found themselves down 5-2.

Ethan Bear would give Edmonton some life near the midway point as he made an excellent move to the middle of the ice and picked a corner on Dell to cut the lead to 5-3, but the relief would be brief. About 5 minutes later Kevin Labanc would take a feed from behind Edmonton’s net to restore San Jose’s 3-goal lead.

That would be it for the game. Not much going for the Edmonton Oilers in this one as the only bright spot was that all of Arizona, Vancouver and Calgary lost as well.

Final score: 6-3 San Jose.

Takeaways:

  • Connor McDavid needs better wingers. It was painful watching such a great talent be stifled by a mediocre team all night long due to him having no support on the ice. You can’t let a talent like 97 drag two anchors and expect him to lead you to the promised land.
  • Even with some lacklustre linemates, Connor McDavid was able to score a highlight reel goal...the kid is insane.
  • Tyler Benson only played 8 minutes tonight in his NHL debut....didn’t give him much of a chance to make a real impact. Definitely an interesting decision by Tippett.
  • Mikko Koskinen wasn’t too great tonight. He let in a 2 or 3 questionable goals that really hampered Edmonton’s chance at getting back into the game. Smith should be up against the Preds this Saturday.
  • Ethan Bear’s goal was a thing of beauty....wish it was more impactful than it was.
  • The entire team as a whole seems...hungover? Not in the literal sense but they’ve seemed tired and disinterested during these past two games. Given the state of the Pacific division this is not the time to start a losing streak.
  • Luckily the entire Pacific Division (with the exception of Vegas) decided to suck tonight as well. All of Vancouver, Calgary and Arizona lost as well tonight leaving the playoff picture largely untouched. The only difference was Vegas’ win moving them up to second in the division and bumping Edmonton down to third.
  • Edmonton will be back in action this Saturday as they host the Nashville Predators at 5pm MTN. A win will go a long way in a volatile playoff race in the Western conference!