Instant Replay: Sharks win battle between Pacific's best teams, beat Oilers in OT

Instant Replay: Sharks win battle between Pacific's best teams, beat Oilers in OT


SAN JOSE – In what could be a fierce rivalry for the next several years to come, Kevin Labanc scored two goals in a 3-2 Sharks overtime win over Edmonton on Friday at SAP Center.

On the winning goal, Labanc got free in the circle, received a pass from Logan Couture, cut to the net and feathered a shot high over Cam Talbot’s nearside shoulder at 3:22 of extra time.

The Sharks won for the sixth time in their last seven games, and are in sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division (21-12-1, 43 points). Edmonton is in second (18-12-6, 42 points).

Joe Pavelski’s power play goal was the only score through two periods. On a Sharks power play that carried over from late in the first, Pavelski rocketed a one-timer from the circle past Cam Talbot for his 12th of the season just half-a-minute into the middle frame.

The Sharks controlled play for much of the second, not allowing Edmonton a shot on goal for more than nine minutes during one stretch. They couldn’t increase the lead, though, despite a four-minute power play after Zack Kassian’s antics at 12:22, when he was issued roughing and cross-checking minors drawn by Brenden Dillon.

That allowed the Oilers to tie it in the third period, courtesy of the league’s leading scorer. Connor McDavid bopped around Joonas Donskoi in the neutral zone, brought the puck over the line, and directed a shot that deflected off of both Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Justin Braun before slipping in at 6:17.

The Sharks took a 2-1 lead at 8:21, when Labanc finished off a two-on-one with Couture after Pavelski sprung them with a nifty play in the neutral zone.

Edmonton replied again, though. McDavid slipped a pass over to Patrick Maroon, who buzzed in a wrist shot past Martin Jones’ far side after the Sharks goalie overcommitted moving from his right to his left.

There was some feistiness to the game, as perhaps each team was looking to set the tone against a division rival in the first meeting of the season. Dillon and Matt Hendricks engaged in a spirited bout in the first period, and later it was Micheal Haley going to Kassian, who lost control of his emotions on a few different occasions, including when he put the Sharks on that lengthy power play.

San Jose visits gleaming new Rogers Arena for the first time on Jan. 10 in the next match between the clubs.

The Sharks are 12-2-2 against the Oilers in the last 16 meetings in San Jose.

Special teams

The Sharks were a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill, and are now 12-for-12 over their last four games. They killed off a Justin Braun tripping minor at 13:28 of the third period to keep it a 2-2 score, as well as a Timo Meier delay of game minor with 3:40 left in the third.

Melker Karlsson nearly scored a shorthanded goal in the first period, but Talbot stretched out to rob him with 12:22 to go.

San Jose went 1-for-4 on the power play.

In goal

Talbot and Jones entered the game as the league leaders in ice time, respectively, so it was no surprise they were in net in the battle for first place.

Talbot stopped 28 shots, while Jones made 16 saves on 18 shots.


Tommy Wingels was the latest forward to come out of the lineup as a healthy scratch, making way for Joel Ward’s return. David Schlemko was also scratched for the second straight game.

Brent Burns recorded his 300th career assist on Pavelski’s goal, while Joe Thornton got his 700th assist with the Sharks on the same play.

Up next

The Sharks will resume their schedule on Tuesday, Dec. 27 in Anaheim on a quick one-game trip, and return home to host the Flyers next Friday, Dec. 30.



Kane leads Sharks to critical win on four-goal night

Kane leads Sharks to critical win on four-goal night


CALGARY, Alberta -- Evander Kane scored four goals to lead the San Jose Sharks past the Calgary Flames 7-4 on Friday night.

Tomas Hertl had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have won three straight and four of five. Kevin Lebanc and Eric Fehr also scored, and Martin Jones made 30 saves.

It was the first NHL hat trick for Kane, acquired from Buffalo just before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Micheal Ferland had a goal and an assist for the Flames, who are four points out of a playoff spot. Troy BrouwerMark Jankowski and Johnny Gaudreau also scored for Calgary.

Three nights after stopping all 28 shots he faced against the Oilers, Calgary goalie Mike Smith had a rough outing as he made just 14 saves before being replaced by David Rittich early in the third period. Rittich went on to stop all seven shots he faced in a relief appearance.

The Sharks opened the scoring six minutes into the first period when Kane's wrist shot beat Smith to the glove side.

The Flames pulled even at 16:42 when Brouwer chipped a pass from Curtis Lazar into the top corner behind Jones. Matt Stajan stole the puck from Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon behind the San Jose net to get the play started.

Jankowski took a pass from linemate Garnet Hathaway and wired a shot to the top corner, glove side behind Jones to put Calgary up 2-1 at 2:10 of the second period.

Kane then redirected Dillon's point shot past Smith at 6:29 before Gaudreau cut into the slot and snapped a shot past Jones at 10:16 to put Calgary back up by a goal.

That lead lasted just 1:26 as Lebanc fired a shot from a sharp angle into the top corner past Smith to pull the Sharks into a 3-all tie.

Kane completed his hat trick at 16:32 when he swatted in his own rebound before Hertl poked the puck through Smith's legs with 1:58 remaining before the second intermission.

The Sharks added an insurance goal 62 seconds into the third when Kane redirected a pass from Joe Pavelski past Smith.

Ferland backhanded a shot past Jones to pull Calgary within two goals with 5:35 left in regulation and Rittich on the bench for an extra attacker. Fehr rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal 1:37 later.

NOTES: Jankowski suited up for the Flames after sitting out Tuesday's 1-0 win over Edmonton. Fellow forward Kris Versteeg returned to Calgary's lineup after missing the past 49 games with a hip injury. ... Gaudreau extended his point streak to six games (three goals, five assists).


Sharks: At the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Flames: At the Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday.

Jones set for big workload down the stretch


Jones set for big workload down the stretch

Sharks goaltender Martin Jones is on pace for the lightest overall workload of his career as a starter. After starting 65 games in his first two seasons in San Jose, Jones can only play a maximum of 62 if he appears in each of the team's 12 remaining games. 

Yet simultaneously, he is also on pace for the largest stretch-run workload of his career. Jones will make his 10th straight start, and 51st overall, Friday night in Calgary. 

Friday will also mark his eighth consecutive start since the trade deadline. Over the last two seasons, Jones made 13 and 14 starts, respectively, from the deadline onwards. 

It's easy to envision Jones far surpassing that workload. Entering Mar. 16 each of the last two years, the Sharks held, respectively, 10-point and 18-point leads over the West's ninth-place team, the closest among the squads on the outside looking in at the postseason. As a result, James Reimer and Aaron Dell spelled Jones for eight and seven starts, respectively, to keep him rested ahead of the postseason. 

This year, San Jose's only three points clear of the ninth-place Anaheim Ducks. There's also only one back-to-back remaining on the post-deadline schedule, compared to five in 2016-17 and two in 2015-16, and 10 of the next 12 games are against teams within four points of a playoff spot. 

Taking all of that into consideration, Jones should pretty easily exceed the mark of 14 post-trade deadline starts he set last season and ultimately start more than 60 games for the third consecutive season, barring injury. 

Should the Sharks clinch a playoff spot, it will be fair to wonder what kind of effect Jones' stretch-run starts will have on his postseason performance. Jones posted a .923 save percentage in San Jose's run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2016, and a .935 save percentage in the first round last year after receiving a good amount of time off. 

But the Sharks have to get there first, and it's understandable they will rely on Jones in order to do so. The recently-extended Aaron Dell remains one of the league's better backups, but has come a bit back down to earth this season (.914 save percentage) after earning the role last year (.931). 

Jones, for his part, has handled the increased workload well so far, winning five of nine games and posting a .922 save percentage. How well handles his 10th consecutive start, and any that follow, will have a profound impact on the Sharks' hopes of making the playoffs.