The Sharks knew they were going to have a challenge on their hands on Saturday night playing Connor McDavid and a desperate Oilers team. But they rose to the occasion, fueled by Kevin Labanc’s first career hat trick to emerge with a 5-2 win.
Here are three takeaways from the Sharks' fifth straight victory:
Evander Kane stays on a roll
What can be said about the way Evander Kane is playing that hasn’t already been said?
Sharks coach Peter DeBoer recently told the media he thought Kane was the team’s best player over the passed month, and it’s hard to disagree.
13th goal of 2019 for EK9, tied for most in the NHL— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) February 10, 2019
Feed him🍽️ pic.twitter.com/ru0bu00Lep
In addition to scoring his 13th goal of 2019 against Edmonton, he successfully filled in on the fourth line with Dylan Gambrell and Barclay Goodrow after Melker Karlsson left the game in the first frame. As well as he has played on the line with Tomas Hertl and Joonas Donskoi, it was nice to see DeBoer put the faith in Kane to move throughout the lineup and pick up the slack.
Aaron Dell had a solid performance
Dell's last few starts weren’t very good, and he was definitely in need of a strong performance to boost his confidence. He had just that in Edmonton on Saturday, turning away all but one shot the Oilers sent his way.
Dell was particularly impressive in the second stanza when the Oilers started to make a push and tried to take over the game. Edmonton outshot San Jose in the second 20 minutes and began creating different chances. But Dell didn’t let Edmonton push, making a couple big saves much like Martin Jones did in Thursday’s contest against the Calgary Flames.
We’re witnessing greatness
With the assist on Kevin Labanc’s third goal on the evening, Joe Thornton tied Gordie Howe on the NHL’s all-time assists list with 1,049 career apples. Just one more time pitching in as a helper and Thornton will take sole possession of ninth place on the all-time list, just 13 assists behind Steve Yzerman.
First career hat trick for Kevin LaBanc!! pic.twitter.com/dpjIlHQkhq— Sharks on NBCS (@NBCSSharks) February 10, 2019
With the rate at which Thornton is reaching milestones, it’s almost hard to keep track of all of them. But along with scoring his 400th goal, tying Mr. Hockey on the all-time assists list is likely a milestone no Sharks fan is going to forget any time soon.