Oilers top Sharks 4-3 in OT in Hitchcock’s 1st game as coach
McDavid scored his 100th career goal and set up Leon Draisaitl’s game-winner 51 seconds into overtime to give the Oilers a 4-3 victory against the San Jose Sharks in Ken Hitchcock’s first game as coach Tuesday night.
“That’s what it has to be,” McDavid said. “Anytime you bring in a new coach, that’s kind of the last option I would say before shipping everyone out. This is a chance for us to come together and turn this around.”
The Oilers started that process by overcoming three deficits to earn just their second win in eight games.
McDavid set up Drake Caggiula’s tying goal early in the third period and then the winner in overtime when his pass ricocheted off defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic before hitting Draisaitl’s skate and trickling past goalie Martin Jones.
“I was more worried that it was past my bedtime and I wasn’t going to be able to stay up,” Hitchcock said. “I don’t think I’ve seen a third period all year out West. But for me, we just got better and better as the game went on. We got better in the second; we were really good in the third. We really got on the grind.”
Joe Thornton assisted on Marcus Sorensen’s goal in the first period to tie Mario Lemieux for 11th place all-time with his 1,033rd helper. Joonas Donskoi and Logan Couture also scored for San Jose.
“Tonight’s a disappointing one because I thought if we had gotten a little bit better effort from everybody, from 20 guys, we should have gotten two points,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “We didn’t have enough participants tonight. We didn’t play well enough for long enough stretches. It wasn’t one or two guys, it was almost everybody.”
The Sharks took a 3-2 lead in the final minute of the second period when Couture deked Adam Larsson on the rush and beat Koskinen for his first goal in 11 games.
But the Oilers responded early in the third when McDavid set up Caggiula on an odd-man rush for the equalizer less than four minutes into the period.
“There are too many odd-man rushes,” Couture said. “It wasn’t horrible tonight. It was better than it has been, but still too many. Especially when you are out there against Connor. You can’t give them that many chances. He’s their best player.”
The Hitchcock era got off to a rough start for the Oilers, who allowed a goal in the opening minute when Donskoi was left alone in front of the net after a faceoff win by San Jose. Brent Burns’ shot from the point was stopped by Koskinen, but Donskoi was able to backhand the rebound in.
McDavid got the equalizer midway through the period when he beat Burns down the slot to take a feed from Draisaitl and knocked it in for his milestone goal. McDavid reached the mark in his 230th game. Only Wayne Gretzky (145 games), Glenn Anderson (183) and Jari Kurri (214) got there faster for the Oilers.
Thornton then reached his milestone later in the period when he fed Sorensen from behind the goal line for a one-timer that beat Koskinen.
Edmonton tied the game early in the second when Nugent-Hopkins converted a 2-on-1 off a feed from Kyle Brodziak after the Sharks turned the puck over in the offensive zone on a power play.
“Obviously it says something about your team, that you need to start playing better,” Nugent-Hopkins said. “We need to make a push here now. Our last eight or so games haven’t been good enough. I felt tonight we responded well, so we just have to keep that going.”
NOTES: McDavid has 31 points, becoming the first Oilers player to reach 30 in 21 or fewer games since Mark Messier did it in 19 games in 1989-90. … Thornton needs seven assists to tie Marcel Dionne for 10th place. … F Tomas Hertl returned to the Sharks lineup after missing two games with a lower-body injury.
Oilers: Visit the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
Sharks: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.