Oilers fail to match Sharks’ desperation, miss shot to pull away in Pacific

Erik Karlsson recorded three assists to help the San Jose Sharks double up the Edmonton Oilers.

The beauty of jumping out to such a fast start was that the Edmonton Oilers, with a couple of well-placed victories over the San Jose Sharks, could bury them almost for good in the Pacific Division.

Alas, there’s a reason they’d want to put the Sharks as far in the rearview mirror as possible. It is because the Sharks own the Oilers — they gave up just one point to Edmonton in five games last season — and that continued Tuesday with their 6-3 pasting as they met for the first time during the 2019-20 season.

It was the first time all season the Oilers gave up three goals in the first period, and the first time they’ve been beaten up like this, trailing by scores of 4-0 and 5-1. Edmonton gave up six goals only once before this season, a year in which they’ve reined in their goals against considerably.

So this was an aberration. In the end, the Oilers split a two-game road trip, after having handled the Anaheim Ducks in a similar fashion, winning 6-2 on Sunday.

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Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you. The Oilers end their first 20-game segment at 12-7-2, good for 26 points and first place in the Pacific.

You don’t like the way the first-quarter finishes, but 12-7-2? Any team in hockey would take a first-quarter record like that.

The Big Takeaway

Hey, there’s not much to take away from a game like this, other than the old standard: you win some, you lose some.

Did the Oilers lose some focus having their mothers along on the moms trip? That would sound very much like an excuse.

“We weren’t ready,” Leon Draisaitl told reporters in San Jose after the game. “They start really strong here at home … and we weren’t ready.

“We just got outplayed today, We were sloppy.”

More likely, the Oilers couldn’t match San Jose’s hunger and desperation. If the Sharks lost to Edmonton in regulation, they would have been 13 points behind them in the Pacific, with a meeting back at the Shark Tank next Tuesday. San Jose is already in desperate times at 8-10-1. They needed this game, where Edmonton only wanted it — or so goes the theory.

“I saw a team that was desperate and trying to get back in the race,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said to reporters in San Jose.

“And a team that was content with where they’re at. The desperate team usually wins that game.”

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Alas, Mike Smith didn’t have a prayer on any of the first three goals, and we’re not blaming him for No. 4, 5 or 6 either. This was a team loss of a 20-man proportion, with lots of close-in deflections and open looks for the Sharks. We’re sure even Mikko Koskinen had a lousy game on the bench.

“We got outcompeted by a desperate team. It wasn’t a good effort by our team, right through,” Tippett said. “It shows the immaturity of the group. We’re trying to become a really good team and we’re not there yet.”

Leon Lights

The points keep coming for the NHL’s leading scorer Draisaitl, who had a goal and an assist. He now has 15 goals and 21 assists for 36 points in the season’s opening 20 games, 10 of those coming on the power play.

Draisaitl has 11 multi-point game, tops in the NHL this season, and is running a 10-game points streak. He was the only player in the NHL who had 50 goals and 100 points last season — he had 105 — and through 20 games he’s on pace for 62 goals and 148 points.

What’s Next

Edmonton comes home for games against Colorado (Thursday) and Dallas (Saturday), then hits the road on Monday for a five-game roadie that begins right back in San Jose.


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