McLellan: 'The go-to offensive guys were productive'
Brent Burns scored his 13th goal of the season in the Sharks' 5-1 win over the Oilers Thursday in San Jose. (USATSI)
SAN JOSE – Logan Couture and Bracken Kearns each extended goal-scoring streaks in the Sharks’ painless 5-1 win over an awful, last place Edmonton club on Thursday night at SAP Center.
The Sharks (26-9-6, 58 points) reached the midway point of the regular season by winning five of their last six. They improved to a dominant 15-1-3 on home ice.
San Jose led 2-0 after the first, and Kearns and Couture each got their third goal in as many games to break the game open in the second.
Kearns put in a shot from the high slot after it squirted to him off of Andrew Desjardins’ stick at 7:18. A minute and a half later, John McCarthy’s pass through the neutral zone sprung Couture on a breakaway, and the Sharks’ center guided in a snipe to the top corner at 8:45.
McCarthy picked up his first point on the season, while Couture now has 10 goals in 13 career games against Edmonton.
Antti Niemi, in his first game since getting pulled against Anaheim on Dec. 31, made his biggest saves with the game still scoreless earlier in the first and the Sharks on a power play. Twice, Niemi made pad saves on partial breakaways by Sam Gagner after misplays by defenseman Matt Irwin.
Brent Burns opened the scoring. Joe Pavelski controlled the rebound of a Justin Braun wrist shot, and shoveled the puck through the slot to an open Burns, who scored his 13th goal at 14:37.
Less than a minute later, Nail Yakupov gave the puck away along the wall in the Oilers’ defensive zone. Patrick Marleau scooped it up and unleashed a wrist shot that found its way past Devan Dubnyk at 15:26.
Pavelski’s one-timer from Joe Thornton less than six minutes into the third put it away. Thornton finished with two helpers, has 10 assists in his last six games, and leads the league with 41.
Kearns, who scored his first career goal on Dec. 29 against Anaheim, has equaled the goal output of Marty Havlat and Tyler Kennedy, neither of whom played against Edmonton. The oft-hurting Havlat remains out with a lower body injury, while Kennedy was a healthy scratch.
In 41 games, the Sharks have taken a 2-0 lead 17 times. They are 14-1-2 in those games.
San Jose and Edmonton face one another three more times, with the next on Jan. 29 at Rexall Place. In their last 21 meetings, the Sharks are 16-2-3 against the Oilers.
Each team was 0-for-3 on the power play in six minutes.
Niemi improved to 7-0-1 in his career against Edmonton, the only Western Conference club that has never given him a regulation defeat. He recorded his 22nd win with 23 saves.
Dubnyk never looked comfortable, and allowed all five Sharks goals on 36 shots.
Tommy Wingels (upper body) missed his third straight game. Along with Kennedy, defenseman Brad Stuart was an apparent healthy scratch.
Scott Hannan played for the first time since Dec. 19. He had missed 10 of the last 11 games.
Yakupov returned for Edmonton after he was a healthy scratch on Dec. 31 in Phoenix.
The Sharks start a three-games-in-four-days road trip on Saturday in Colorado. They visit Chicago Sunday and Nashville next Tuesday, and return home to host the Detroit Red Wings on Jan. 9.
Overall, six of the next eight games are on the road, where the Sharks are 11-8-3.