SAN JOSE (AP) — Rookie forward Kevin Labanc sent the San Jose Sharks into their Christmas break in first place in the Pacific Division.
Labanc scored his second goal of the night 3:24 into overtime and the San Jose Sharks beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday for their sixth victory in seven games.
“That’s a great way to end the break,” he said. “But it’s even better that we’re first in the standings. That’s always nice.”
Joe Pavelski also scored for the Sharks, one point ahead of the second-place Oilers. Martin Jones made 16 saves.
San Jose prevailed when Logan Couture got the puck below the goal line and fed Labanc, who skated in and beat Cam Talbot on the short side for his sixth of the season.
“He scores goals,” Couture said. “We’re a team that’s struggling to score right now. He’s a guy that’s consistently creating chances and scoring some goals for us. He’s done a tremendous job.”
Connor McDavid and Patrick Maroon each scored a tying goal in the third period for the Oilers, but they never managed to take the lead as their three-game winning streak was snapped. Talbot made 28 saves.
Despite the loss, the Oilers earned five points on their three-game trip and are in position to end a 10-year playoff drought.
“We’re in a good spot,” McDavid said. “If you told us at the beginning of the year that we’d be sitting in second place in the Pacific Division down by one point, I think everyone in here would have taken that.”
San Jose controlled play for most of the game and held a 1-0 lead before things opened up with three goals in less than 3 minutes in the third period.
McDavid scored one goal that deflected off two Sharks defenders and then set up Maroon for another after Labanc had put San Jose back ahead with his first of the night. That helped Edmonton come away with a point.
“We were never in that game,” coach Todd McLellan said. “They were better than us in every facet of the game. It was a disappointing performance but we’ll steal the point and move on.”
The Oilers could have gotten the second had they converted on two later power plays in the third period. But the Sharks prevented any good chances and ended up 6 for 6 on the penalty kill.
“It was the difference in the game,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “We never like to take six penalties, we were playing with fire, but I thought those guys that hopped over the boards, they were aggressive, took away a lot of time and space, blocked shots when we needed to.”
The first of five matchups this season between the teams was rather heated, with a pair of fights, numerous hard hits and a few smaller scraps as both clubs appeared to be trying to set the tone for the season series.
The Sharks killed off two early penalties against the NHL’s top road power play before getting their first chance with the man advantage late in the first period when Matt Hendricks got an extra roughing penalty after a fight with Brenden Dillon.
San Jose converted on the power play in the opening minute of the second when Brent Burns set up Pavelski for a one-timer from the faceoff circle that beat Talbot to make it 1-0.
The Sharks had a great chance to add to the lead when Zack Kassian was sent to the box for 4 minutes for roughing and cross-checking Dillon midway through the second period. Kassian also appeared to hit a linesman during the scrap but wasn’t given an additional penalty, and San Jose failed to capitalize.
NOTES: There was another fight in the second period when San Jose’s Micheal Haley squared off with Kassian. ... F Joel Ward returned to the lineup for San Jose in place of Tommy Wingels.
Oilers: Host the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday.
Sharks: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.