Erik Karlsson puts up four points as Sharks beat Oilers

Erik Karlsson a huge difference maker factoring in on four of San Jose's seven goals against the struggling Oilers. Connor McDavid scored an amazing tip goal late despite the loss.

EDMONTON — Erik Karlsson‘s two-game suspension didn’t slow him down one bit.

The star defenceman had a season-high four points on a goal and three assists in his return as the San Jose Sharks beat the slumping Edmonton Oilers 7-4 on Saturday.

"It’s nice to be back," said Karlsson, who received a two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of Los Angeles Kings forward Austin Wagner.

"It’s never fun to be out of the lineup especially for the reason that I was out for — it was a little unjustified I think. But I made the most of it and I watched the games and sometimes it’s good to watch the game from afar too, you figure a few things out. I was excited to get back today and do everything I could to stay in it and luckily it was only two (games)."

Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson each had two goals and Joonas Donskoi and Tomas Hertl also scored for the Sharks (21-12-7), who have won two in a row and pulled into a tie for top spot in the Pacific Division with the Calgary Flames entering Saturday night’s action.

Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said having Erik Karlsson back on the blue-line was a big boost.

"You can see his impact on our team with the players around him," DeBoer said of the former Ottawa Senators captain. "You take him for granted a little bit, you realize when you take him out the hole is there and I think every week he’s getting more comfortable here."

Connor McDavid had a pair of goals and Caleb Jones and Leon Draisaitl also responded for the Oilers (18-17-3), who have lost a season-high five straight and have slipped to a tie for fourth in the wild-card race.

"They won the one-on-ones, they knocked us out of the box, they won the net front. They owned us," said Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock.

Edmonton started the scoring six-and-a-half minutes into the first period when Ty Rattie made the most of his return to the top line when his shot hit the inside of the post and appeared to trickle past San Jose starter Martin Jones. The goal was later credited to McDavid upon review, as he banged it in after a Sharks attempt to fish the puck to safety.

San Jose replied just 17 seconds later, however, as the Sharks tied it up on a tic-tac-toe passing play on a three-on-one, with Donskoi sending his seventh of the season past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.

The Sharks took the lead midway through the opening frame when Hertl made a spin move in tight to beat Talbot for his 14th of the season.

San Jose made it 3-1 seven minutes into the second period when a one-timer from Couture from the side of the net hit Talbot and rolled in.

The Sharks extended their lead late in the second when Erik Karlsson scored on a long screen shot.

They added yet another goal early in the third when Melker Karlsson redirected in a Brent Burns point shot.

Couture gave the Sharks even more insurance with a short-handed goal after Talbot lost a race for the puck.

Edmonton responded a couple minutes later when Jones recorded his first career NHL goal.

"I’m sure in a couple of days when I look back on it, I will have a little smile," said the rookie defenceman, younger brother of Seth Jones of the Columbus Blue Jackets. "But there was a lot of bad things tonight in our game. The moment I scored it, it just felt like a garbage-time goal."

Melker Karlsson closed out the Sharks scoring with his sixth before Draisaitl got his 19th and McDavid notched his 21st for the Oilers late in the game.

Both teams return to action on New Year’s Eve Monday, with the Sharks heading to Calgary to face the Flames and the Oilers playing host to the Winnipeg Jets.

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