EDMONTON – Patrick Maroon scored twice, helping Edmonton take over sole possession of second place in the Pacific Division in a win over the Sharks at Rogers Place on Thursday, 3-2.
Connor McDavid added a goal and an assist, as the Oilers (43-25-9, 95 points) pushed San Jose (43-26-7, 93 points) down to third place. Each team has five games remaining, including one more head-to-head matchup next week.
It was a tale of two first periods, as the Sharks started strong but saw the Oilers respond to take a lead they would keep.
The Sharks came out with the territorial edge, capped off by a Jannik Hansen goal at 1:01, when he slipped in the rebound of a Paul Martin shot after some nice work by linemates Tomas Hertl and Mikkel Boedker. It was the second straight game Hansen opened the scoring.
San Jose kept up the pressure, recording 12 of the first 14 shots of the game.
Edmonton controlled play over the final half of the opening frame, though, and took a 2-1 lead.
First, Cam Talbot’s long outlet pass during a Sharks line change resulted in a two-on-one, as McDavid fed Maroon for a goal at 10:22.
McDavid’s first career shorthanded goal was dazzling. He blew past a flat-footed Patrick Marleau, and showed off his quick hands before roofing a backhand over Martin Jones at 17:28.
San Jose regrouped in the second period, outshooting the Oilers 14-6, but Marleau tipped a Justin Braun pass just wide on a two-on-none rush with about eight minutes to go. In the closing seconds, Marc-Edouard Vlasic turned the puck over at the Sharks’ offensive blue line, and Leon Draisaitl rang his breakaway chance off of the post.
Maroon added insurance at 7:51 of the third. Tomas Hertl slid the puck to the stick of Kris Russell in the Edmonton offensive zone, and Maroon redirected Russell’s floater to push the lead to 3-1.
The goal was needed, as Joe Pavelski redirected a Vlasic puck with 6:01 remaining.
The Sharks dropped their seventh game in the last eight, all in regulation, while surging Edmonton claimed its fourth in a row and eighth in the last nine. San Jose had a 10-point lead on Edmonton as recently as two weeks ago on March 16.
Hansen had a Gordie Howe hat trick, assisting on Pavelski’s goal and fighting Adam Larsson in the second period.
The Sharks and Oilers close out their season series on April 6 at SAP Center. They have split the first four.
After scoring a power play goal in each of their last three games, the Sharks were 0-for-2 on Thursday night. Edmonton was 0-for-3, but scored its sixth shorthanded goal of the season.
The Sharks have allowed a shorthanded goal in three of their last four games, and a total of eight this season.
Starting his third straight game, Jones allowed three goals on 22 shots to fall to 33-21-6 on the season.
Talbot, who leads all NHL goalies in games and minutes by a wide margin, picked up his second straight win with 38 saves.
After serving his one-game suspension, Micheal Haley returned on the fourth line while rookie Kevin Labanc came out of the lineup.
On Thursday morning, head coach Pete DeBoer confirmed that Logan Couture (face) would miss the entire three-game road trip.
San Jose visits Calgary on Friday for the second of a back-to-back, in an attempt to increase its slim lead over the fourth place Flames. The Sharks are 1-2-0 against Calgary rivals this season, including a 3-2 loss at the Saddledome on Jan. 11.