SAN JOSE – Connor McDavid scored on a breakaway at the 31-second mark of overtime, taking an outlet pass from goalie Mike Smith and beating James Reimer with a backhand shot to give the Edmonton Oilers a 2-1 win over the Sharks at SAP Center.
The goal was McDavid’s 41st of the year, as the Sharks fell to 0-2-1 against the Oilers this season.
The Sharks were nearly perfect on the defensive end for the first 50 minutes of the game as they owned a 1-0 lead on Tomas Hertl’s first-period power-play goal. The only issue was their inability to add to the lead despite several Grade-A chances, especially early in the second period.
The Sharks finished with 32 shots, including 22 after the first period.
“We did everything we needed to do 5-on-5. That’s one of our best games in a long time,” Sharks coach Bob Boughner said. “Little bit of a story of our year. We had so many chances, Smith plays great. You can’t get the second goal you need and it changed the whole phase of the game and that’s a team that takes advantage of things.”
The Oilers made the Sharks pay for their inability to add a second goal, as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored shorthanded at the 11:56 mark of the third period, as he took a pass from Zach Hyman and poked it past Reimer to tie the game 1-1.
Nugent-Hopkins outbattled Sharks forward Scott Reedy at center ice to take a long clearing pass off the glass from Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse.
After Nurse picked up a loose puck in the Sharks’ zone that had been batted back by Ryan Merkley, he found Hyman at the side of the Sharks net to the right of Reimer. Hyman then passed it back under the stick of a sliding Merkley, and Nugent-Hopkins scored his 10th of the season.
“Merkley tried to dive, (Nick) Bonino went to the same guy Merkley did when he dove, our other two forwards got beat up the ice by Nurse,” Boughner said. “Many errors.”
The Sharks (29-31-9) have now allowed nine shorthanded goals this season, third-most in the NHL with both Montreal and New Jersey both allowing 11.
“Lately, we’ve given up too much. We allow too many chances on our power play,” Hertl said. “I know we get one (power play) goal, but it just can’t happen. Our special teams must be really strong if we want to win some games.”
The Sharks have now scored 15 goals in their last six games as they fell to 1-4-1 since a 4-3 win over the Calgary Flames on March 22. The Sharks host the Pacific Division-leading Flames on Thursday to end a three-game homestand.
“(At even strength), we generated, we played hard, we were physical,” Boughner said. “We collapsed and took away a lot of stuff around our net, so those are the ways we want to play.
“We’ve got to start scoring, that’s the bottom line. You can’t go on a nightly basis and score one goal, two goals. Doesn’t matter how well you play, we’ve got to find a way to put it in the back of the net.”
Hertl’s goal came at the 15:32 mark of the first period, as he one-timed a pass from Brent Burns past Smith for his 27th goal of the season and a 1-0 Sharks lead.
From there, the Sharks, with their 1-1-3 system, held the Oilers to 17 shots in the first two periods, and just one shot through the first 12 minutes of the third period.
Edmonton sorely missed injured center Leon Draisaitl, who came into Tuesday with 50 goals and 101 points. The Sharks went 2-for-2 on the penalty kill.
Edmonton had scored a combined 32 goals in its last six games before Tuesday and had outscored the Sharks 8-2 in two prior meetings this season.
“We did so many great things, and that was encouraging,” Boughner said. “That was the best game we’ve played in a long time.”
McDavid was held to one shot on goal through the first two periods, as he was on the ice mostly against Sharks captain Logan Couture.
“We wanted to get down and take his ice and (Couture) probably had him 95 percent of the time as an assignment, and I thought they did a good job,” said Boughner, adding later that Couture is “one of the better guys in the league if you give him an assignment. He takes a lot of pride in playing against top players. I thought he did a heck of a job.”
The Sharks came into Tuesday on a three-game losing streak, falling to Arizona and Colorado on the road last week before returning home and being beaten by the Dallas Stars 5-4 on Saturday.
After Thursday’s home game with the Flames, who came into Tuesday with a five-point lead in the Pacific Division, the Sharks have a five-game road trip against Vancouver, Nashville, Chicago, Dallas, and Minnesota.
Source: Culled From Paradise Post.