The San Jose Sharks entered the All-Star break on a sour note, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Edmonton Oilers 4-1 at SAP Center on Thursday night.
The Sharks didn’t waste any time getting on the board as Mikkel Boedker found Logan Couture, who beat Cam Talbot short-side for his 17th of the season at the 15:55 mark of the first period.
The game took an unexpected turn as Andrej Sekera’s shot bounced off of Marc-Edouard Vlasic’s pants and into the net for his sixth of the season. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer challenged Sekera’s play, claiming offside, but the goal stood, and the Oilers tied the score 1-1 with just six seconds left in the period.
Despite a 1-1 tie, the first 20 minutes were pretty even as the Oilers held a 10-9 shot advantage over the Sharks.
The Sharks played some uninspired hockey in the second period, mustering just one shot on goal in the first eight minutes.
Former Sharks head coach Todd McLellan looked excited as the Oilers capitalized with their man advantage after Brent Burns was called for slashing at 16:20. Sekera blasted a shot that ricocheted off the post and into the net for a power-play goal and his seventh of the season with 2:51 left in the period. Sekera’s last two-goal game was on Nov. 21, 2013.
The Sharks were outshot 18-17 and trailed 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Simply put, the Sharks grabbed an early lead, but defensive lapses and wasted scoring chances prevented them from getting ahead of the Oilers.
The fact Adam Larsson went to the box to serve a double-minor for high sticking Joe Thornton was a turning point for the Oilers.
In a lone effort, Drake Caggiula picked up a loose puck and fired a shot from the top of the left circle past Martin Jones for his fourth of the season, extending the Oilers’ lead to 3-1 at 8:29.
Conor McDavid scored into an empty net for his 17th of the season to seal a 4-1 victory and snap the Sharks’ six-game win streak. Talbot finished with 32 saves.
Jones made 17 saves in a losing effort.
After his much anticipated return, Tomas Hertl said the second period was a little slow, but overall, the game was pretty good. Hertl added that the NHL games were fast paced as opposed to his individual practices in the past 10 weeks.
Patrick Marleau looked at the bright side, saying that they had some good looks and chances, despite the rough loss.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer displayed sportsmanship in his postgame press conference.
“You got to give them (Oilers) credit,” DeBoer said. “They blocked a lot of shots, they clogged up a lot of lanes, their goalie (Cam Talbot) made saves when he had to…I think they won the special teams battle. They got a power play goal and we didn’t…I think we’re ready for a break.”