SAN JOSE – It wasn’t pretty by any means, but the Sharks managed to get a vital two points to stay in the race for the Pacific Division title with a 5-4 win over Edmonton on Tuesday night at SAP Center.
The Oilers erased a 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 third period lead. Jordan Eberle’s pass was knocked away by Matt Irwin, but ended up on second-year forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ stick. He turned around and beat Antti Niemi’s cleanly for his second goal of the game at 6:16.
The Sharks’ top line tied it, though. While nearly falling flat on his face, Joe Pavelski managed to reverse-kick the puck to an open Joe Thornton at the side of the cage. The captain quickly found Brent Burns on the other side for an easy slam-dunk at 10:35.
After looking dangerous all night but having nothing to show for it, the top power play unit finally came through when David Perron went off on a tripping minor. Burns flubbed a one-timer at the point, but the puck squirted to Patrick Marleau, who backhanded in his 32nd goal at 12:31. That held up as the game-winner.
The Sharks (48-20-9, 103 points) are one point behind Anaheim. The Ducks, who host the Oilers on Wednesday, have two games in hand and have clinched the tiebreaker of more regulation/overtime wins.
Edmonton erased a 3-1 hole with two second period goals just 38 seconds apart.
First, Nugent-Hopkins curled toward the top of the circle from the wall, and beat Niemi to the short side with a wrist shot at 13:04. He helped tied the game soon after by driving the net on a rush with Eberle, who skated past Brad Stuart and centered the puck, which deflected in off of Justin Braun’s skate with Nugent-Hopkins in the crease.
The Sharks opened the scoring early with a goal from the fourth line. Tyler Kennedy’s shot rebounded to Andrew Desjardins, who flipped it past Ben Scrivens at 3:11. Desjardins’ goal, his third, was his first since Jan 9 vs. Detroit, 31 games ago.
Edmonton tied it with a power play goal, when Taylor Hall’s wrist shot sailed just inside the far post at 12:34 of the first.
San Jose regained its lead later in the period, though, with Dan Boyle’s third goal in as many games. Thornton started it by winning a faceoff, driving through Anton Lander and giving Boyle a perfect pass. Boyle picked the top corner at 15:54.
The Sharks upped that lead to 3-1 on Tommy Wingels’ first goal in 11 games. The forward stationed himself in front of Scrivens, tipping a Braun shot before it hit the goaltender. Wingels poked in the loose pick for his 16th goal at 2:45.
Nugent-Hopkins finished with four points (2g, 2a). Burns and Boyle each had one goal and one assist, while Thornton acquired a pair of assists.
The Sharks took four of five games against Edmonton in the season series (4-1-0).
The Sharks have scored at least one power play goal in each of their last four games, going 7-for-18 over that span. They were 1-for-7 against the Oilers.
Edmonton finished 1-for-3.
Niemi gained his 37th win with 35 saves. He’s tied for second in the league with Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop, one behind Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov.
Scrivens allowed five goals on 33 shots.
Jason Demers returned after a one-game absence due to illness. Scott Hannan was scratched for the third time in the last four games.
Boyle’s scoring streak reached five games. He has three goals and three assists over that span.
The Sharks have five games left in the regular season. They host the Kings on Thursday and Predators on Saturday.