SAN JOSE, CA --Milan Lucic scored a natural hat trick -- three goals consecutive and unanswered -- in the third period to help lift the Oilers to a 4-2 come-from-behind victory over the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Thursday night.
With the win, goaltender Cam Talbot earned his 41st victory of the season, breaking Grant Fuhr's franchise record of 40 wins in one campaign, set in 1987-88.
"I respect him immensely, what he was able to do in the 80s was something special and to surpass a Hall of Famer is pretty special for me," said Talbot. "Tonight was more about the two points in this building and being able to gain confidence against a very likely (playoff) opponent so that was the most important thing to me."
With the win, the Oilers now only need one more point in order to clinch home ice advantage in the first round with two games remaining -- both against Vancouver. Their first-round opponent will almost certainly be these same San Jose Sharks.
Although he was the first star of the game, Lucic was quick to talk about his goaltender's exploits.
"Most importantly, we got the two points. Huge congrats to our goaltender for his franchise-record 41st win. He's been a warrior for us since the start of the season and been a huge difference in the team," said Lucic.
Talbot's shining moment was a penalty shot save early in the third period on Marcus Sorensen to get some momentum back for the visitors.
Several minutes later, the Oilers had a power play and converted only nine seconds in. Milan Lucic tipped home a point shot from Oscar Klefbom to knot the game up at 2-2.
"We knew we just had to stick with it and hope things are going to go our way," said Lucic, who struck again 3:31 later.
On the go-ahead goal, Lucic outmuscled David Schlemko in the paint to sweep the puck past Martin Jones.
Lucic completed his natural hat trick with 3:29 to go in the game.
It was an excellent finish to a game that didn't go exceptionally well early on according to Oilers head coach Todd McLellan.
"I didn't think we started well," he began. "Penalty problems right off the bat and they're a tenacious team. When they release pucks they do a good job of getting it back right away. There was some shifts where they had us pinned in our end but we didn't give up a lot of shots that got through to the net. I thought we did a good job in lanes and worked our way back into the game."
Only 44 seconds into the game, the Oilers received a penalty for having too many men on the ice, sending the Sharks to the power play but Edmonton was able to kill it off with ease.
24 seconds after the penalty expired, David Desharnais received two for slashing to send the Sharks power play unit back to the ice. Again, Oilers were able to kill it off but after the penalty expired, they couldn't clear the zone and it led to the first goal of the night only four seconds after expiry.
David Schlemko teed up a shot from the point that made it through several screens before being tipped in front by Joel Ward through Talbot's five hole, giving the Sharks a 1-0 lead.
13 minutes into the opening frame, the game only had seven shots total with San Jose outshooting Edmonton 4-3 but the Oilers peppered the Sharks with seven shots in the final segment of the period. After one, shots were 10-5 Oilers.
Oilers pulled even at 1-1 after a point shot by Oscar Klefbom ricocheted off the leg of San Jose's Tomas Hertl in front onto the stick of Connor McDavid, who made no mistake and put the puck into the yawning cage.
Just past the midway point in the game, shots on goal were 17-6 for the Oilers but it was the Sharks who were making their shots count. They struck for their second goal of the game with 7:30 remaining in the middle frame. Brent Burns wristed a shot from the point that had eyes and beat a screened Talbot.