Trying to keep pace isn't easy. And taking a non-playoff team easy can result in disastrous results. San Jose went to change their "playing down to their opponent's level" Monday night to a struggling Edmonton Oilers squad who are down and out. If you have seen the results in the past, it's been very frustrating to Sharks fans.
Team Teal started off with some nice 4th line scoring. Andrew Desjardins put away the garbage in front of the net and buried it home to get an early lead. After Edmonton tied it at 1-1 almost half way through the period, Dan Boyle scored to make it 2-1, which he received a sweet pass from Joe Thornton near the goal line. So far, so good right? Hang on, this is about to become a roller coaster ride of emotion the rest of the way.
In the second period, Tommy Wingels banged home a loose puck to make it 3-1. But Edmonton who hasn't shown much hunger lately, finally started to get back into things. In a matter of 38 seconds, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle tied the game. Suddenly an excited SAP Center at San Jose went quiet with fans wondering if the chances of a Pacific Division title were going by the wayside.
Things didn't help at all when the Oilers took the lead with Nugent-Hopkins' second goal of the game at 6:16 of the third period. All looked bleak until, Brent Burns one timed a nice cross crease pass from Joe Thornton which started a kick pass from Joe Pavelski. A little more than 90 seconds later, while on the power play, Patrick Marleau buried home a backhander past Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens for the eventual game winning goal. Edmonton made a mad scramble under a minute to go, but the Sharks persevered to take a 5-4 win.
Team Teal is now 48-20-9, good for 105 points and just a point behind Anaheim in the Pacific Division race. Anaheim was idle on Monday, but the Ducks have two games in hand and despite just a one point lead in the division. The win for San Jose means that they need just two points either a win, two overtime/shootout losses, or an LA regulation loss or two overtime/shootout losses by the Kings to secure home ice for the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Both Southern California teams play Wednesday night and could use some help from Edmonton (who plays Anaheim) or Phoenix (who takes on Los Angeles) to boost the Sharks' playoff seeding.