The Oilers return home for just one game, before heading back on the road, a Battle of Alberta showdown on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT. The game can be seen on CBC and Sportsnet and heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
SAN JOSE, CA - Nail Yakupov scored in his return from injury and Cam Talbot made 36 saves, however the Oilers would fall 2-1 in a shootout to the Sharks.
At 10:29 of the first, San Jose opened the scoring. Marc-Edouard Vlasic fired a laser of a shot past Talbot, on a 2-on-1 rush. The goal was assisted by Melker Karlsson and Joe Thornton.
Yakupov, in his first game back from injury since November 25, recorded the equalizer at 8:02 of the second. Lauri Korpikoski fed Yakupov on a 2-on-1 and the winger one-tapped the puck past Martin Jones. Justin Schultz recorded the second assist on the goal, giving the defenceman four points in his last four games. The goal was Yakupov’s first since October 18.
“I thought he had a lot of energy,” Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan said of Yakupov’s night. “He played fast. He was prepared to shoot the puck, and we’d been missing that dangerous shot all the time. He was prepared to release it. He had some velocity on it, he shot and got it back. When he was on the ice, he was dangerous. I was impressed with him being able to play at the pace he did after being out as long as he was. Good for him. We’ve still got to clean up some things defensively, but good for him.”
Also being inserted into the lineup was forward Zack Kassian. Making his debut as an Oilers player, Kassian finished the game with four hits and a shot on goal in 14:23 of ice time.
“I thought it was a good game,” said Kassian. “We wanted to focus on the first 10 minutes and come out hard. We channeled the energy fairly well, got behind the eight ball and battled back. Anytime it goes to a shootout, it’s a toss up. All-in-all, it sucks to lose but feel pretty good.”
The Oilers managed to kill off a late delay of game penalty in the third period to take the game to overtime. Talbot was big in the third, making 11 saves in the final frame, following 15 in the second.
Four of the Oilers last six games have gone beyond regulation. The Oilers lost to Arizona on Tuesday 4-3 in overtime.
“This was a better game for us,” said McLellan. “Same result, getting a point, but I thought we played a firmer, better-executed game than we did in Phoenix. Penalty kill rebounded well against a very dangerous power play. I know that team well, and for us to play the way we did, we have to be somewhat pleased.”
Talbot made a big post-to-post save 1:21 into overtime to give his team more time.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a great opportunity in which he skated the puck around and behind the Sharks players to go one on one with Jones. He couldn’t convert, and the game played on.
Jordan Eberle and Andrej Sekera had a 2-on-1 chance with just under a minute to go but Jones made a toe save on Sekera’s shot so that the puck trickled just wide. With things deadlocked after five minutes of 3-on-3, things went to a shootout.
Unfortunately, the Oilers would be blanked in the skills competition. Joe Pavelski and Joonas Donskoi each scored for the Sharks to secure the win.
Edmonton returns home to host the Calgary Flames on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT.