EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — It seems the Edmonton Oilers are finally hitting their stride.
Ryan Strome scored twice to lead the Oilers to a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night, marking just the third time this season Edmonton has won consecutive games.
Mark Letestu, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Patrick Maroon also scored for the Oilers, who have won four of six. Leon Draisaitl had two assists and Cam Talbot stopped 18 shots.
“We have gotten the ship slowly going in the right direction the last eight or nine games,” Strome said. “We have to keep it going. Obviously, the divisional games are very important. We have a lot of those in the second half and this is a good start.”
Joe Pavelski, Tomas Hertl and Marcus Sorensen had goals for the Sharks, losers of two straight. Martin Jones finished with 24 saves.
“We’re not as tight defensively as we have been, we’ve also got some guys out of the lineup who weren’t out earlier in the year, too,” Sharks coach Peter Deboer said. “I think we did a good job on (Connor) McDavid tonight. I thought the difference in the game was the depth, they got some more depth scoring than we did.”
With the score tied 1-1, Strome gave the Oilers the lead for good with 1:09 remaining in the first period. Draisaitl made a perfect pass across to Strome to give him a wide-open net to deposit the puck into. It was It was the 10,000th goal in the Oilers’ franchise history.
Edmonton made it 3-1 at 6:36 of the second as Nugent-Hopkins’ pass hit Pavelski’s stick and got past Jones for his 14th.
San Jose got that goal right back, however, as Hertl’s shot got past Talbot for his eighth at 8:32.
Maroon’s ninth of the season restored the Oilers’ two-goal edge at 8:23 of the third.
San Jose kept coming and pulled to 4-3 as Sorensen made a nice deke and scored his second with 8:02 to go.
However, Strome sealed the win with an empty-netter with 8 seconds left.
There was a comical moment in the game as Maroon playfully tugged on Sharks defenseman Brent Burns’ beard a few times after the pair had gotten tangled on the ice behind the San Jose net.
“It was just in my face and I decided to pull it,” Maroon said. “I thought he would be mad at first, but he just asked me if I liked it and I said yeah, it’s a pretty nice beard.”
San Jose started the scoring on the power play at 6:15 of the first as Pavelski swooped in to put a rebound past Talbot for his seventh.
Letestu beat Jones with a one-timer shortly after an Oilers power play expired to tie the game with 5:18 left in the first.
NOTES: It was the first of four meetings between the teams this season. Edmonton was 3-1-1 against San Jose last season, and went on to beat the Sharks in six games in the first round of the playoffs. ... The Sharks were without C Logan Couture, who suffered a concussion in Friday’s game against Vancouver. San Jose did get a player back, though, as F Mikkel Boedker returned after missing seven games with a lower-body injury. ... The Oilers had D Adam Larsson back after missing eight games with an upper-body injury.
Sharks: Host Vancouver on Thursday night.
Oilers: Host St. Louis on Thursday night.