The Sharks defensive woes continued on Tuesday night on home ice and with the world’s most dangerous player in town, it proved to be one that was costly.
Connor McDavid and company took advantage of another lousy defensive performance as the Oilers beat the Sharks by a final score of 4-3 in overtime. McDavid had a goal and two assists, one of which led to Leon Draisatl’s game winner just 0:51 seconds into the extra frame. The Sharks gave up the lead on three separate occasions, following an ugly trend through the first quarter of regular season play.
After a goal by Joonas Donskoi put the Sharks up 1-0 just 45 seconds in, the Oilers were able to thwart two different clearing attempts by the Sharks. Both Brent Burns and Joe Thornton had opportunities to get the puck out of the Sharks defensive zone, but the Oilers held the line and eventually worked the puck down low to Draisatl. The 2014 third overall pick found McDavid cruising into the slot and he slid the puck past into the net past Sharks goaltender Martin Jones. The goal was McDavid’s 100th career goal, coming in just his 230th NHL game.
However, just two minutes and 23 seconds later, Joe Thornton found Marcus Sorensen open to the right side of Oilers netminder Mikko Koskinen and Sorensen wristed a shot past the large Fin to put the Sharks up 2-1. It was what some would call a vintage Joe Thornton play. With his back to the play behind the Oilers net, he found Sorensen with a no-look pass and the young Swede made no mistake.
The assist was Thornton’s 1033rd of his career, tying him for 11th all time in NHL history to go alongside Mario Lemieux. The Sharks would take the lead as well as one minute and 46 seconds of powerplay time into the second.
Unfortunately for the Sharks, the powerplay to start the period did not go as planned. As the penalty was winding down, Timo Meier was stripped of the puck, leading to an Oilers 2-on-1. Kyle Brodziak slid a pass through Brent Burns to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who proceeded to wire one top shelf over a sliding Jones just after the penalty expired. Burns seemed lost on the play, not sure whether to take the shot or the pass and ended up doing neither.
The game stayed tied until the last minute of the second where the Sharks once again took the lead. Tomas Hertl, playing in his first game back since sitting out the last two games with a lower-body injury, forced a turnover and sent the puck up the ice to Logan Couture. The Sharks forward marched into the offensive zone, turned Oilers defensemen Adam Larsson inside out and buried a shot off the far post and right into the Oilers net. The goal gave the Sharks a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission, but once again, holding a lead seemed to be a little too big of a test.
Just 3 minutes and 32 seconds into the third period, Drake Caggiula finished off a nifty passing play from McDavid and Leon Draisatl. McDavid received a beautiful backhand pass from his partner in crime before sliding a deft pass to a net-driving Caggiula, who poked it into the net past Jones. The game would stay tied while going into overtime, a place where the Oilers young phenoms would become even more dangerous.
McDavid would find himself with time and space to the left side of Martin Jones, picking up his own rebound and feeding a puck to Draisatl, where the puck took a fortunate bounce off his skate and into the Sharks net. Both players finished with three points on the night.
The Oilers won their first game with new bench boss Ken Hitchcock. Hitchcock replaced former Sharks head coach Todd McLellan after he was relieved of his bench boss duties on Tuesday morning at Rogers Place.
With the loss on Tuesday night at the SAP Center in San Jose, the Sharks fall to 3-2 on their season-long six game homestand which concludes with the finale on Friday night as they play host to Swedish centreman Elias Petterson as well as the Vancouver Canucks organization.