EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The San Jose Sharks don’t feel they are in playoff form yet, though their latest effort was a step in the right direction.
Brent Burns had a goal and an assist as the Sharks got a bit of relief from a late season funk with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
“It was good to get a win,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer said. “We are getting closer. Our detail is getting a bit better. Some guys who have been out of the lineup are starting to get their legs again. That takes a little bit of time. We are working our way there. It’s not there yet, but I am confident by next week that it will be.”
Marcus Sorensen and Gustav Nyquist also scored and Aaron Dell finished with 26 saves for the Sharks, who improved to 2-8-1 in their last 11 games. San Jose has clinched second place in the Pacific Division and will face Vegas in the first round of the playoffs.
“At this time of the year, in these games, you kind of take the win/loss out of it and want to play the game that you are going to want to play in a week or so,” Sharks forward Logan Couture said. “For a lot of the game I thought we did a good job with that, but I still think we are a ways away from where we want to be. I still think there is a lot to improve on.”
Leon Draisaitl had two goals to reach 49 for the Oilers, who have lost five straight and will miss the playoffs for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons. Anthony Stolarz had 24 saves.
Nyquist tipped Burns’ point shot with 1:12 left in the second to give San Jose the 3-2 lead.
Draisaitl started the scoring 2:03 into the opening period when he stripped a puck while short-handed and went in to send a backhand shot through Dell’s legs.
San Jose tied it up at 8:52 when Joe Thornton sent a pass from behind the net to Sorensen, who beat Stolarz. With the assist Thornton passed Steve Yzerman (1,063) for eighth-place on the NHL all-time list in that category.
The Sharks took a 2-1 lead just 1:12 later when Burns scored his 15th high to the glove side from the middle of the faceoff circle.
Edmonton tied it again early in the second when Matt Benning made a nice feed across to set up Draisaitl for his 49th at 3:22.
“I think he wants 50 and you can see the hunger in that and that’s good for us,” Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock said of Draisaitl. “He’s competing for pucks and he wants to shoot and there is nothing wrong with that. And we’re hopeful as heck he gets it.”
NOTES: It was the fifth and final meeting between the two teams this season with San Jose winning four. ... Sharks D Erik Karlsson participated in the morning skate, but missed his 17th consecutive game with a groin injury. ... Stolarz got the start for Edmonton after Mikko Koskinen had started 24 of the last 25 games.
Sharks: Host Colorado on Saturday night.
Oilers: At Calgary on Saturday night.
More AP NHL: www.apnews.com/NHL and www.twitter.com/AP_Sports