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GAME STORY: Oilers 3, Sharks 2

Edmonton's top line combined for five points as the Oilers drowned the Sharks 3-2 to move into sole possession of second in the Pacific Division

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB -  Patrick Maroon scored twice, while Connor McDavid added a highlight-reel, shorthanded goal as the Oilers topped the San Jose Sharks 3-2 for their eighth win in their last nine games.

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With the win, the Oilers surpassed the visiting team in the Pacific Division standings to take hold of the second spot.

"We want to play these games heading into the playoffs," said Oilers Captain McDavid. "We're ramping up and feel pretty good about our game right now. We've still got a long way to go."

Cam Talbot recorded his 39th victory of the season with a 38-save performance. He is now just a lone win away from tying Grant Fuhr's single season win record by an Oilers netminder with 40.

"We find a way to get one or two and Talbs takes us the rest of the way," McDavid continued. "They still got their chances, they had a lot of shots and we can always really on that guy back there."

Jannik Hansen opened the scoring just over a minute into the game. A Paul Martin point shot was kicked out by the right pad of Talbot but Hansen was on the doorstep to tuck home his eighth of the season.

Despite getting outplayed and outshot 12-3 through the first 10 minutes, the Oilers tied the game up. As they've been wont to do all season, Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Patrick Maroon merged for a goal. After a quick-up by Talbot to Draisaitl at the offensive blueline, the Cologne, Germany product fed McDavid to put he and Maroon on a 2-on-1. The Oilers captain then pump faked and slid a pass to Big Rig who slammed home his 26th goal and 40th point of the season at 10:22. 

Video: Maroon, McDavid pace Oilers past Sharks, 3-2

"The first 10 minutes wasn't our best," said Maroon. "I thought after that we kind of dictated the play and it was kind of over after that. I thought we did a really good job of just battling, staying with the system, focusing and making sure we were doing the right things."

With the assist, McDavid became the first player 20 years old or younger to register 90 points in a season. The last player to do so was Steven Stamkos in 2009-10.

The goal got the engine running for the Oilers.

Edmonton went on a 7-0 shot run, maintaining pressure long enough to force a tired Brenden Dillon to clear the puck over the glass. He got two minutes for delay of game, putting the Oilers on the power play.

The Oilers did not convert on the man advantage, however.

At 16:46, Zack Kassian got called for hooking but it was the Oilers who would tally down a man.

McDavid got hold of the puck in the neutral zone and proceeded to freeze Patrick Marleau with a body shift to give him a breakaway. The sophomore Oiler then put on a dizzying stickhandling display, weaving the puck from his forehand to backhand repeatedly. McDavid elected to go backhand, roofing the puck glove side on the Sharks netminder to record his 28th of the season. It was McDavid's first career shorthanded goal, his second point of the period - 91st of the season - as well as his League-leading 27th multi-point game of the campaign. The assists went to Oscar Klefbom and Drake Caggiula.

"He's been driving the bus all year," said Maroon of McDavid. "He's a true leader on the ice."

The Oilers flipped the script on their opponents, dominating the latter half of the period and taking a 2-1 lead into the second.

Just 3:06 into the second frame, Anton Slepyshev was called for cross-checking.

While killing the penalty, Hansen tripped Talbot behind the net and Adam Larsson took exception. He tussled with the Sharks goal scorer until the mitts were dropped. Both players got five minutes each for fighting, keeping the Sharks on the man advantage. 

Later in the period, a Joe Thornton slashing penalty gave the Oilers another man advantage.

And the first power play unit almost added an insurance marker on it. Klefbom's blast from the blue line spat out, with Milan Lucic and Jordan Eberle failing to deposit the puck past the goal-line.

In the final minute of the second, Draisaitl and McDavid also almost gave their squad a two-goal lead. First, McDavid navigated his way through a maze of Sharks, fooling everyone including Jones. He just missed getting his blade on the puck behind an outstretched Jones. Then, Draisaitl took advantage of a fortunate bounce that gave him a breakaway. He converged on Jones, firing a snap-shot that dinged the outside of the post.

Maroon added his second of the game at 7:51 of the final frame. He tipped home a Kris Russell point shot to score his 27th of the season, finally giving the Oilers the insurance they had been trying for all night and a 3-1 lead.

Joe Pavelski got the visitors within one at 13:59. He tipped a Marc-Edouard Vlasic point shot that took a bounce before Talbot could snare it. It was Pavelski's 29th of the year.

That would be the end of the scoring, as Edmonton closed out the tight victory. Edmonton stretched its win streak to four games and now hosts the Anaheim Ducks Saturday night in a battle for sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.

"We're excited to come to the rink, we're excited to play the games and I think it's a good time to be an Oiler," McDavid said.

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