The Sharks don't always follow the script when they play one of the NHL's bottom feeders, but they did just that Friday night with a 3-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers have been a team mired in self-analysis after the embarrassment of being shut out their past three games at Rexall Place and now reside in the NHL's basement. The last time they faced an opponent in that spot, the Sharks lost a 5-4 shootout decision to the Buffalo Sabres. But against Edmonton, San Jose did what it needed to do and built a 3-0 lead on goals by Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl and Patrick Marleau, with Joe Thornton earning an assist on two of them. When Edmonton finally did score on a goal by Nail Yakupov at 12:48 of the second period to end its Rexall Place drought at 214:52 and avoid a fourth consecutive shutout, San Jose didn't let the Oilers get any closer, as backup netminder Alex Stalock stopped each of the 30 other shots he faced. Thornton now has at least one point in each of his past seven games and is the NHL's assist leader with 20. "The linemates are huge for me. Obviously I'm a passer, so they've got to be scoring," he said. "It just seems to be rolling so, yeah, I have a lot of confidence right now." Only one of the goals came with Thornton's current linemates on the ice, but it was the prettiest as Tommy Wingels got the puck to Thornton, who then hit Hertl with a perfect pass as the rookie cruised across the crease for a quick redirect that gives him a team-leading 12 goals for the season. "He gave me a good yell," Thornton said of his 20-year-old Czech linemate who speaks little English. That, however, wasn't a problem on this play. "No," Thornton said. "Just, 'Joe!' That's all he needs." Most of the suspense after the Sharks had their 3-0 lead centered on the possibility of a fourth shutout loss at home for the Oilers.
Sharks beat the Oilers, who have struggled at home of late
San Jose Mercury News | Nov 16