EDMONTON – Oilers head coach Tom Renney unleashed on his players after what he saw as a lackadaisical effort against San Jose.
Logan Couture scored a tiebreaking goal early in the third period as the Sharks snapped a five-game losing skid with a 3-2 victory over Edmonton on Monday.
The usually calm and collected Renney was left fuming after the Oilers lost for the sixth time in seven games.
“It doesn’t take many (players) with the wrong attitude to make its way through your dressing room. It doesn’t take many guys at all,” said Renney.
“We have a few people who need to look in the mirror here. Because this is unacceptable. You’re the Edmonton Oilers. You’re a millionaire. You have an opportunity to play the game. Suck it up and play hockey.”
Renney accused his team of giving up and in the process helping San Jose stay in the playoff hunt
“Problem No. 1 one was playing not to lose,” he began. “Problem No. 2 is two power-play goals for your opponent. Problem three was deciding it was just too hard.”
Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist while Torrey Mitchell also scored for the Sharks (34-25-9), who are trying to get back into the playoff picture after losing 11 of their previous 13 games.
San Jose is now just one point back of eighth-place Colorado in the tight Western Conference race. The Avs won 3-2 in overtime against Anaheim on Monday.
“We needed this really bad,”Thornton said.“We’re struggling right now and to come in here and get a big win, every game is so important for us. The playoffs have already started for us. It was just a huge two points for us.
“Hopefully this gives some guys some confidence.”
Ryan Whitney and Taylor Hall replied for the Oilers (26-36-7), who remain second last in the NHL.
“Everyone in this room knows we have to be better,”Hall said.“This isn’t the way we wanted to start off this homestand.”
San Jose opened the scoring just 1:07 into the match when Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk lost sight of a bouncing puck before Mitchell put in the rebound off a Tommy Wingels shot.
The Oilers tied the game with just 49 seconds to play in the opening frame. Whitney wound up from the top of the faceoff circle and fired a shot past Sharks starter Antti Niemi while both teams were playing four players a side.
Dubnyk made up for his earlier gaffe midway through the second, coming across to make a huge stick save on a rebound attempt by T.J. Galiardi.
The Sharks went up 2-1 on the power play a minute later as Patrick Marleau fed a pass through to Thornton and he snapped home his 15th of the season.
Edmonton drew even again with five minutes to play in the second on a tremendous effort by Hall. After blocking a shot at his own blue-line, Hall turned on the jets to outrace a pair of San Jose defenders to the puck and beat Niemi for his 26th of the season.
The Sharks got their go-ahead goal 38 seconds into the third period as Dan Boyle unleashed a hard shot from the point that Couture tipped past Dubnyk while on the power play.
The Sharks had gone their previous six games without scoring a power-play goal but went 2-for-2 on the man advantage on Monday.
“Our power play was the difference tonight, getting those two goals,”Couture said.“We created some opportunities from the top of the point and were able to get rebounds and tips off of them.
“We’ve been sliding and points are very important for us at the moment given our circumstances. We’ll see how we build off this win. It’s been a tough stretch for us. Any confidence we can get from winning games is huge for us right now.”
The Sharks conclude a four-game road trip in Calgary on Tuesday night. Edmonton next plays host to Columbus on Wednesday.
Notes: It was the fourth and final meeting between the two teams this season. Edmonton won two of the first three in shootouts. Nonetheless, the Sharks entered the match the winner of 10 of the past 14 encounters overall and six of their past eight trips to Edmonton. … Oilers forward Ben Eager returned to the lineup aftermissing two games with the flu. It looks hopeful that Sharks winger Marty Havlat could return as early as next week. He has been out since Dec. 21 with a hamstring injury. … The last time the Sharks missed post-season play was in 2003. … By playing in the game Oilers forward Linus Omark now will have to clear waivers if he is sent back down to the American Hockey League.