It seems the Edmonton Oilers are finally hitting their stride.
Ryan Strome had a pair of goals as the Oilers won their second game in a row with a 5-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday.
Mark Letestu, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Patrick Maroon also scored for the Oilers (15-17-2), who have won back-to-back games for just the third time this season but have victories in four of their past six.
“We have gotten the ship slowly going in the right direction the last eight or nine games,” Strome said. “We have to keep it going. Obviously, the divisional games are very important. We have a lot of those in the second half and this is a good start.”
Joe Pavelski, Timo Meier and Marcus Sorensen replied as the Sharks (17-11-4) lost back-to-back games.
The 10,000th @EdmontonOilers goal couldn’t have been drawn up any better.
Tic-tac-toe. All @strome18 – @Drat_29 – @jujhar94. pic.twitter.com/YRlJBUa9Y4
“We’re not as tight defensively as we have been, we’ve also got some guys out of the lineup who weren’t out earlier in the year, too,” said Sharks head coach Peter Deboer. “I think we did a good job on [Connor] McDavid tonight. I thought the difference in the game was the depth, they got some more depth scoring than we did.”
San Jose started the scoring on the power play six minutes into the first period as Pavelski swooped in to put a rebound past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot, scoring his seventh goal of the season.
Letestu beat Sharks goalie Martin Jones with a one-timer shortly after an Oilers power play expired to tie the game with five minutes left in the first.
Leon Draisaitl made a perfect pass across to Strome to give him a wide-open net to deposit the puck into and give Edmonton a 2-1 lead with 1:09 left in the first. It was the 10,000th goal in Oilers’ franchise history.
Edmonton added to their lead 6:30 into the second period when a Nugent-Hopkins pass hit Pavelski’s stick and got past Jones.
THE NUGE? STILL HUGE. #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/r1tQlzqnRf
San Jose got that goal right back, however, as a Tomas Hertl shot deflected off teammate Meier and in.
Maroon’s ninth of the season restored the Oilers’ two-goal edge eight minutes into the third.
San Jose kept coming and made it 4-3 with eight minutes left as Sorensen made a nice deke to record his second goal.
Strome put the game away with an empty-netter.
There was a comical moment in the game as Maroon playfully tugged on Sharks defenceman Brent Burns beard a few times after the pair had gotten tangled on the ice behind the San Jose net.
“It was just in my face and I decided to pull it,” Maroon said. “I thought he would be mad at first, but he just asked me if I liked it and I said yeah, it’s a pretty nice beard.”
Just making sure it’s real. 🧔🏻 #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/3VPS1P6OgB
Both teams are off until Thursday, when the Sharks return home to host the Canucks and the Oilers play the second game of a three-game homestand against St. Louis.