EDMONTON – In a free fall in the standings, the San Jose Sharks are grateful for any handhold they can find.
The Sharks captured some valued points on Wednesday as they were able to overcome a two-goal, third-period deficit and then get the shootout winner from Dan Boyle in a 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Logan Couture had a pair of goals and Tommy Wingels added a single in regulation for the Sharks (13-10-6), who have now won just twice in their last eight games.
“It’s a battle every night,” Couture said. “There are no easy points in this conference, every single team is so good. To win the way that we were able to and come back with two goals in the third, hopefully that can get us going in the right direction.
“We needed something. We need all the points we can get right now. We need to find ways to get points every single night right now.”
The victory kept the Oilers from moving into a tie with San Jose for the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference. The Sharks are now two points up on the pack for the last post-season spot.
Sharks head coach Todd McLellan credited Couture for being a real spark for the team in the comeback win.
“Logan is always really determined, but he gets excited to come here and play in Edmonton, I don’t know why,” he said. “He had six shots on goal, a couple of goals, and an amazing shot in the shootout. We’re really proud of him and we’re happy to have him.”
Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Jones replied for the Oilers (11-11-7), who have captured eight points in their last five games to re-enter the playoff picture.
“It is very disappointing losing the penalty shots,” said Oilers coach Ralph Krueger. “We are a good team at that.
“It’s painful, but we have to look at the fact that we have points in five games and move forward. But right now of course the pain of giving up a 3-1 lead dominates.”
Jones, who scored his first goal of the season, echoed his coach’s comments.
“It’s just tough,” he said. “Not only did we need the two points, I thought we deserved them for the most part.”
The Oilers struck first midway through the first period on the power play as Nail Yakupov fed the puck across the ice to Gagner, who had time to tee up a slapshot from the top of the circle that beat Sharks starter Antti Niemi glove side. It was Gagner’s 12th goal of the season.
San Jose tied up the game with just under six minutes to play in the opening frame as the puck popped loose from under goaltender Devan Dubnyk in a scramble in front and Couture was there to hammer it in on the doorstep.
The Sharks had the best opportunity in the first half of the second period as Joe Pavelski rang a shot off the post in the opening minute.
Edmonton went up 2-1 with eight minutes left to play in the second period. Nick Schultz picked up a pass as he stepped on to the ice from the penalty box and raced in on a two-on-one before feeding it across to a streaking Horcoff, who slapped it in at the side of the net.
The Oilers went up 3-1 four minutes into the third period as Jones picked the pocket of defender Matt Irwin behind the San Jose net and hooked around front to send the puck through Niemi’s legs.
The Sharks pulled back to within one three minutes later on the power play as they were able to send the puck out of a scrum in front of the Oiler net to Couture, who sent his second of the game and 14th of the season through traffic and past Dubnyk.
San Jose then tied the game with 10:45 remaining in the third as a puck found Wingels, who sent a quick wrist shot into the net to make it 3-3 and eventually send the game to extra time.
Both teams are off until Saturday when Edmonton closes out a four-game homestand against St. Louis and the Sharks travel to Minnesota for the fourth game of a five-game road trip.
Notes: It was the final of three meetings between the two teams this season. The Sharks spoiled the Oilers home opener on January 22 by lighting up Dubnyk for six first-period goals in a 6-3 win. San Jose also took the rematch at home 3-2 in a shootout … The Sharks entered the contest having won three straight and seven of their last 10 overall against the Oilers, as well as eight of their past 10 games in Edmonton … The Oilers were without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the game, as he came down with the flu. With Eric Belanger also out with a groin injury, Edmonton was left with just two centres for the game. Winger Teemu Hartikainen took Nugent-Hopkins’ place in the lineup … Sharks forward Ryane Clowe missed the game with a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, goaltender Thomas Greiss (neck) and forward Tim Kennedy (undisclosed) remained on injured reserve for San Jose … Sharks defenceman Marc-Edouard played in his 500th career NHL game, all with San Jose.