– Taking advantage of a slumping Edmonton Oiler club, the San
Jose Sharks rolled to their eighth consecutive victory, taming the
visitors 4-1 at sold-out HP Pavilion Saturday night.
SAN JOSE – Taking advantage of a slumping Edmonton Oiler club, the San Jose Sharks rolled to their eighth consecutive victory, taming the visitors 4-1 at sold-out HP Pavilion Saturday night.
Beginning the second half of the 82-game schedule, the Sharks turned two point-blank goals and slapshots from Douglas Murray and Patrick Marleau into enough offense to remain atop the overall NHL standings with 61 points. San Jose hosts three games next week – Monday against the Los Angeles Kings, Wednesday opposite the St. Louis Blues and Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings.
Joe Thornton emerged as the top scorer in the NHL for the period from Jan. 1, 2000 through Dec. 31, 2009 (248-569-817 in 704 games). The Shark center, tops by two points in the current scoring race, began the current decade with two assists.
Edmonton, loser of nine of its past 10 games, stayed off the scoreboard until 4:06 of the second period. Trailing 3-0, Oilers Robert Nilsson and Sam Gagner crashed the net. Nilsson’s shot from close range bounded off goalie Evgeni Nabokov’s pads before striking the left leg of Shark Joe Pavelski and dropping into the net.
Nabokov turned back 22 Oiler shots to move to 23-5-7 for the season.
San Jose scored twice in each of the first two periods.
Jamie McGinn started the San Jose outburst when he was stationed near the Oiler crease and was able to tap in Kent Huskins’ shot from the left point underneath goalie Jeff Deslauriers at 13:10.
Defenseman Douglas Murray tried the same shot from the left point at 17:18 of the period. The blast flew past Deslauriers’ left arm for Murray’s second goal of the season, third of his career.
Dany Heatley netted his 24th goal of the season 43 seconds into the second period to give San Jose a 3-0 cushion.
Thornton won a battle for the puck along the right boards in the Oiler zone and dropped the puck to Heatley. The speedster moved around the back of the net, jamming a wrap-around goal just inside the left post as Deslauriers was late to that side of the crease.
After Edmonton struck for its lone goal, Marleau made it 4-1 with a crisp shot from the left circle dot with 13:32 gone in the second. Thornton and Murray earned assists.
The eight-game winning streak is the third-longest in the franchise history, trailing only one 11-game streak and a nine-gamer.