The San Jose Sharks have learned the value of jumping on a team early, especially when it is a club struggling as badly as the Edmonton Oilers.
Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist, and Joe Thornton helped set up two goals as the Sharks earned a 3-1 victory to stretch their winning streak to three games on Friday night and extend the Oilers’ skid to five.
Joe Pavelski and Tomas Hertl scored in the first period for the Sharks (13-2-5), who moved one point behind Pacific Division-leading Anaheim. San Jose has one game remaining on a five-game trip, Sunday at Chicago.
The Sharks won at Vancouver in overtime on Thursday.
"Coming off back-to-back nights, you want to get off to a good lead. We were able to do that with two early first ones," Thornton said. "We just kind of rolled on after that. It is always nice to get a 2-0 lead like that when you are playing back-to-back."
The Sharks had been 0-1-4 in the five games before their winning streak.
"We feel good," Thornton said. "We weren’t playing bad, even if we had a few extra-time losses. We’ve got points in nine of our 10 last games. We have a good team in here."
Sharks coach Todd McLellan said Thornton is playing a big role in the club’s turnaround.
"We know he can make plays and run the offence and all of that type of stuff, but it is the backcheck, the tracking, the defensive play, the faceoffs and shot blocking that really fulfills his game," McLellan said. "It is not always about the score sheet, it is about all the little things he does.
"When he is doing them properly, everybody seems to fall in line and follow."
Nail Yakupov had the lone goal for the Oilers (4-15-2), who are 1-9-1 in their last 11 games. Edmonton has been outscored 23-3 in its last six home contests — all losses.
The Oilers, 1-7 at home this season, fell behind Buffalo and into last place in the NHL standings.
"I’m so tired of coming in here after games and giving a reason why we lost," Oilers forward Taylor Hall said. "You have to win. It doesn’t matter how you win, if your goalie stands on his head or you get lucky, you just have to win games.
"It’s been tough to do that this year. We’re all trying really hard but we’re not winning games. Something is not clicking for us, and we have to figure out what that is."
Fellow forward David Perron added his frustration.
"No one is going to feel sorry for us. It’s the NHL, and we’re lucky to be in this position," he said. "If we can’t get up to battle, we don’t belong in this league. We have to find a way to come out flying like we did in the second and third. That was a lot better."
The Sharks took a 1-0 lead with 4:16 left in the first period on a power-play goal. Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk got knocked out of position by Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference, allowing Pavelski to score his seventh goal of the season into the vacant net.
San Jose struck again 1:29 later. Thornton won a battle for the puck behind the net and fed it through the crease to Hertl, who redirected it into the net.
The Sharks had 14 first-period shots. Edmonton recorded only six on San Jose backup Alex Stalock.
San Jose took a 3-0 lead at 3:45 of the second period as a poor pass back to the point by Edmonton’s Luke Gazdic led to a 3-on-2 break. Marleau converted with a shot that beat Dubnyk glove side for his 10th goal of the season.
Edmonton had a glorious chance to end its lengthy home-scoring drought seven minutes into the second period when Ryan Smyth had Stalock cleanly beaten on a wraparound attempt, but he sent the puck through the crease and off the post. Oilers defenseman Philip Larsen hit a post on the next shift.
The Oilers finally got a goal after being shut out in three consecutive home games. They went 214 minutes, 52 seconds without a goal at home with a power-play goal at 12:48 of the second period. A big rebound came out to Yakupov, who drilled a one-timer into the net for his third goal of the season.
The Oilers avoided becoming the first team in 84 years to get shut out in four straight home games, a feat accomplished by the Chicago Blackhawks, who went an NHL-record six straight from Feb. 10-28, 1929.
The 1927 Montreal Maroons were the only other team to be blanked in four consecutive home games.
"It’s always good when you score and you get points, but we only have four wins and we’ve played 21 games," Yakupov said. "I don’t know what’s going on. We’re a little frustrated about it. We’re trying to get the two points, but we can’t."
NOTES: It was the first of five games this season between the Pacific Division foes. The Sharks, who swept their three-game series with the Oilers last season, have won six of seven and 10 of 12 in Edmonton. … The Oilers called up D Oscar Klefbom and sent rookie forward Mark Arcobello to Oklahoma City (AHL). Arcobello is tied for second in NHL rookie scoring with 12 points this season. The rookie points leader is Hertl, who has 12 goals and 18 points in 20 games. … San Jose RW Brent Burns missed the game because of an undisclosed injury.