Patrick Marleau had two goals and an assist as the Sharks moved to within two points of the Pacific Division leading Anaheim Ducks with a 5-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.
The Oilers rallied in a crucial playoff game last spring and came back from a three-goal deficit in their last two meetings.
But the Sharks were determined to keep their opponents on their heels this time. Joe Thornton, Mike Grier and Patrick Rissmiller also scored for the Sharks.
Fernando Pisani had the lone goal for the Oilers.
The Sharks were leading 4-1 after the second and head coach Ron Wilson wasn’t about to let another game against the Oilers slip away.
“Going into the third period I was still cautious,” he said. “In the playoffs we had a 3-1 lead and the last time we were here we had a three-goal lead going into the third and boom, we lose. I just told the guys to keep their heads about them. We didn’t give them any opportunities to get back into this one.”
The Sharks (33-16-0) have now won five of their last six and have only two losses in their last 10.
Grier, who had a two point night, feels the team is on a real upward trend.
“We had pretty good jump tonight,” he said. “They got themselves into some penalty trouble and from there we took the game over.
Edmonton (23-22-4) has lost two in a row and four of the last six. There is a palpable feeling of frustration in the Oilers dressing room right now.
“I think everybody is frustrated,” said Roloson. “But at the same time we can’t afford to feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve put ourselves into this hole and we have to dig ourselves out of it.”
Assistant Oilers captain Ryan Smyth says it will take a team commitment to turn the tide.
“We have to find a way to put it together here,” he said. “The bottom line is we have to compete. We need some extra intensity.
“We don’t have to be great, we just have to be good. Obviously we have to find our confidence and our game individually and collectively. We are thinking too much instead of just playing the game.”
The Sharks controlled the play to start the game but Edmonton opened the scoring at 13:20 as Pisani’s shot from the high slot hit Toskala in the shoulder, then bounced in off Sharks defenceman Doug Murray.
The Sharks tied it with just 1:54 left in the first on Thornton’s power-play goal, his 14th this season as San Jose outshot the Oilers 13-6 in the period.
The Sharks went ahead 2-1 early in the second as they took advantage of a defensive breakdown in the Oilers zone. Ryane Clowe chipped the puck past Edmonton defenceman to Marleau, who scored his 23rd goal of the season.
San Jose made it 3-1 with just under six minutes left to play in the second when Grier converted a 3-on-1 break by beating Roloson with a wrist shot through the goalie’s legs. Rissmiller’s deflection of a Josh Gorges shot 2½ minutes later put the Sharks ahead 4-1.
“We’ve been playing well for the past three weeks,” said Grier. “And it is good to keep it going after the break. Hopefully we can keep that going over the next little while.”
Marleau’s second goal of the game with just 27 seconds left to play in the third rounded out the scoring.
Edmonton plays the fourth game of a five-game homestand Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks conclude their two-game road trip on Sunday in Vancouver.
NOTES: Edmonton had won the two previous meetings between the two teams this season . . . Jarret Stoll returned to the Oilers lineup after missing one game with a fractured nose suffered
Jan. 18 against Anaheim . . . It was a pretty safe bet going in that the game wouldn’t be going to overtime. San Jose has only had one overtime game this season, a 5-4 win over St. Louis in their first contest of the year. Their current stretch of 48 straight games without going to overtime is an NHL record, breaking the mark of 41 set by the 1996-’97 Toronto Maple Leafs.