Taylor Hall redirected a pass from Leon Draisaitl in overtime to give the Oilers a 4-3 win over the Sharks on Wednesday at Rexall Place, in Todd McLellan’s first game as a head coach against his former club.
On the winning goal, Draisaitl waited for Brent Burns to drop down on the ice before sliding the puck over to a charging Hall, the Oilers’ goal-scoring leader, who had a step on Joe Thornton and poked through his 12th marker under Martin Jones' right arm with 1:01 to go.
San Jose lost its fifth straight (0-4-1), while the streaking Oilers triumphed for the fourth in a row, all at home. The Sharks (14-13-1) somehow remain in second place in the Pacific Division, although the sixth place Oilers (12-15-2) now trail them by just three points.
In a concerning development, Logan Couture, playing in his second game after a 23-game absence due to a fractured right fibula, left the game midway through the second period and did not return. After the game, coach Pete DeBoer would only say that Couture had a lower body injury.
The Sharks trailed 1-0 entering the third period, but found their offense and ended up surrendering a 3-2 lead in a wild final frame as the clubs combined for five goals.
A rare Justin Braun marker tied it at 1-1 early in the third. Patrick Marleau shoveled the puck to the high slot where an open Braun backhanded it low inside the post at 3:56. It was the defenseman’s first goal of the season, and first in more than a calendar year (Dec. 6, 2014 at Calgary).
Edmonton responded quickly, though. Jordan Eberle received a pass and spun a backhander over Jones’ shoulder at 8:21 to give the Oilers a 2-1 edge at 8:21.
San Jose got the next two, just a minute and a half apart. Marleau tapped in a pass from Tomas Hertl through Jujhar Khaira on a Sharks rush to re-tie it at 11:07, and the Sharks took their first lead when Joe Pavelski set up in front of the net and bunted in an aerial Joonas Donskoi feed from the corner at 12:37.
This time, though, it was Edmonton’s turn to reply. Iiro Pakarinen’s shot sailed passed Braun and Jones, as the goalie appeared to be screened by his defenseman and Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at 15:23.
The Sharks went on a late power play on Hall’s delay of game penalty, but couldn’t find the go-ahead score. They lost for the first time when a game advanced past the third period (3-1).
Draisaitl’s second period goal held up as the only scoring through two periods. It came on a beautiful rush up the ice when the Sharks forwards were on a line change, Paul Martin drifted a bit too far away from the Oilers forward, and Draisaitl broke through to deposit it through Jones’ five hole at 6:22.
The Sharks had some of their best scoring chances in the first few minutes. Donskoi broke free in the offensive zone and his shot from the circle was swallowed up by Anders Nilsson in the second minute of play, and shortly after that Melker Karlsson elevated a puck just a little too high over the crossbar when he was alone in the slot.
The Sharks played their third straight game without Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who is out with what is thought to be a minor lower body injury. San Jose has lost all three minus their top defensive defenseman, and fell to 1-6-1 overall without one of its top four blueliners.
The game was physical from the start, including a pair of fights between Brenden Dillon and Khaira late in the first period, and another in the second when Luke Gazdic jumped Mike Brown after the Sharks forward laid a heavy hit on Brandon Davidson.
The Sharks host and the Oilers on Jan. 14 at SAP Center in what will be McLellan’s first game in San Jose as an opposing head coach. They return to Rexall Place on March 8, and stage a fourth and final meeting on March 24 in San Jose.
Jones, who was pulled for the third time this season just one night earlier in Calgary, took the loss to fall to 12-9-1 on the season. He allowed four goals on 21 shots.
Nilsson, who has seemingly overtaken former Rangers backup Cam Talbot for the starting job, improved to 9-7-1 with 27 saves.
The Sharks finished 0-for-3 with a man advantage, and killed off Edmonton's only opportunity. San Jose is 41-for-47 on the PK over their last 15 games (87.2 percent).
After sitting in Calgary, Mike Brown got back in the lineup for Matt Nieto. On defense, Dylan DeMelo played his third NHL game in place of Matt Tennyson.
Edmonton was down several regulars, including impressive rookie Connor McDavid and fellow former first overall pick Nail Yakupov.
The Sharks will briefly return home to host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday for the first of three games between the clubs. After that, a five-game road trip starts in Montreal next Tuesday, Dec. 15, and continues with stops in Toronto, Ottawa, Chicago and Los Angeles.