The Oilers close out this homestand on Friday at 7:30 p.m. MT against the New York Rangers. It is Glen Sather’s banner raising ceremony as well. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
EDMONTON, AB– Five goals were exchanged in the third period, but it was Taylor Hall’s tip-in of Leon Draisaitl’s pass in overtime that gave the Oilers their fourth-straight win, fifth straight at home, a 4-3 decision against the San Jose Sharks.
“It was a fun game to be in, to be honest with you,” said Draisaitl. “The crowd was in it, obviously, and it went up and down. We had momentum, then they did. I think it’s huge for us to get another win and finish off the homestand here.”
What made the night sweeter for the Oilers, who now have points in six of their last seven games, is that it was Head Coach Todd McLellan’s first game against his former team. McLellan spent seven seasons with San Jose before coming to Edmonton this off-season.
“I think for him it’s very special to win a game like that against a team where he spent a lot of years. That win was for him as well and I’m sure he’s happy,” said Draisaitl.
The first period was uneventful from an offensive standpoint, but things heated up with under a minute to go in the frame. Oilers rookie Jujhar Khaira crushed Justin Braun with a check behind the Sharks net. Brenden Dillon and Khaira squared off and dropped the gloves, settling their differences near centre ice. It was Khaira’s first NHL fight.
“I was just trying to be hard to play against,” said Khaira. “Behind the net, I had the opportunity to hit someone and I did. Like any good teammate, he’s going to stick up for his guy 100 percent of the time. I feel that anybody on our team would do the same. I thought the fight went well, it was fun. A couple bumps and bruises, but it was good.”
The chippy end to the first continued with Matt Hendricks and Brent Burns exchanging shoves at the horn.
The Oilers took the 1-0 lead at 6:22 of the second period, courtesy of some nice passing. On the rush, Hall passed to Teddy Purcell at the blueline. The Oilers winger dropped it for Draisaitl and the centre sniped his ninth of the season, alone in the slot.
The physicality of the game continued shortly following the Draisaitl goal with Luke Gazdic and Mike Brown dropping the gloves, following a Brown hit on Oilers defenceman Brandon Davidson behind the Edmonton net. The scrap was quickly stopped by the officials.
Braun scored on a backhander from the slot at 3:56 of the third period to tie the game at 1-1.
Khaira continued his strong game when he set up Jordan Eberle for the go-ahead goal at 8:21 of the third. Eberle spun and flung a backhander on net and it went top shelf on Martin Jones. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was screening Jones on the goal. San Jose Head Coach Peter DeBoer challenged for goaltender interference but the goal stood and Edmonton took the 2-1 lead. Nugent-Hopkins earned a second assist on Eberle’s sixth of the season.
“That was a great play,” said Khaira. “It started by Nuge getting in there and Ebs got it to me. I kind of just went behind the net and Ebs made a fantastic play. I just tried to get him the puck and he did the rest.”
The Sharks tied things up at 11:07 of the final frame when Patrick Marleau buried his 11th of the season, finishing off an odd-man rush.
Joe Pavelski redirected a centring pass in at 12:37 to give the Sharks their first lead of the night.
Nugent-Hopkins tied the game with 4:37 left in regulation. Iiro Pakarinen zipped a shot on net from the top of the circle and Nugent-Hopkins got a piece of it on its way in.
“I liked our pushback,” said Eberle. “I think that’s number one. The best part of our game tonight was our pushback. We found a way to get another one. When they scored, we found a way to tie it. I thought when we needed to, we were there and we found a way to get two points. That’s all that matters.”
With 25 seconds to go in regulation, Eberle crashed the net to give the Oilers a chance to win the game. Jones held on to keep Edmonton out and send the game to overtime.
Pakarinen had an opportunity in the overtime period, set up by Purcell’s forecheck, but it was deflected out of play.
The Oilers sealed the victory with a 2-on-1 rush in overtime with Draisaitl feeding a driving Hall in front for the game-winning tally.
“When the crowd gets into it, it’s a lot of fun,” said Draisaitl. “It was loud in here. The momentum shifts are something we don’t want that much, but at the end of the day we got two points and that’s important.”
The Oilers close out their homestand against the New York Rangers on Friday night. They will honour their legendary former head coach and general manager Glen Sather with a banner raising ceremony that night.