HIGHLIGHTS: Couture celebrates by 'Kaepernicking,' Sharks remain perfect
With his goal Thursday night, Joe Pavelski has at least one point in all seven games this season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN JOSE – The last undefeated team in the NHL can still claim perfection.
For the second straight game, the Sharks needed a shootout to win. Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski scored in regulation and Dan Boyle’s wrist shot over the shoulder of Devan Dubnyk ended the game, while Michal Handzus also converted his shootout opportunity.
The Sharks improved to 7-0-0 with the 3-2 win, and have the best record in the NHL. They are the only team left in the league without a loss.
The Sharks nearly ended it in overtime. Marc-Edouard Vlasic drew a hooking penalty on Sam Gagner, putting San Jose on the power play with 1:15 to go. Patrick Marleau and Boyle both had chances in front of the net, but Dubnyk held the fort. A one-timer by Couture from the circle as time expired sailed high.
Edmonton battled back from a 2-0 hole to tie the score in the third period.
First, Gagner deflected Mark Fistric’s wrist shot from the high slot at 10:56 of the second to cut the lead in half. The game remained that way until early in the third, when Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle executed a perfect two-on-one rush against defenseman Matt Irwin, with Hall putting it into an open net just 51 seconds after the faceoff.
The Sharks broke a scoreless tie with two quick goals in the second period on Oilers neutral zone turnovers. First, Scott Gomez pressured Ryan Whitney into giving the puck up to Couture. Couture raced in and fired a wrist shot past Dubnyk at 7:32.
Just 39 seconds later, Joe Pavelski intercepted a pass from Ladislav Smid and raced up the wing. He cut to the circle and put in his fourth goal in the last three games at 8:11 to give the Sharks a two-goal lead. It didn’t last.
The Sharks and Oilers entered the game with the number one and two ranked power play units, respectively, but neither scored on a man advantage.
The Sharks killed off all three Oilers power plays, and have now denied 16 straight opponent advantages.
San Jose finished 0-for-5, the second straight game it has failed to score after starting the season with five straight multiple-power play goal efforts.
Marty Havlat had a great chance alone in front with about seven minutes to go in regulation with Jeff Petry off on an ill advised cross-check, but Dubnyk denied him with a pad save.
Antti Niemi started for the sixth time in seven games for San Jose, and made 26 saves in regulation.
Dubnyk surrendered all six goals to the Sharks in the first period in the team’s prior matchup on Jan. 22, but got the call in net for Edmonton again. He made 36 saves on 38 Sharks shots, including a number of impressive stops in the first period.
After failing to generate much offensively on Tuesday, the coaching staff shook up its bottom three lines. Couture centered Gomez and Ryane Clowe; Handzus was with Tommy Wingels and Havlat, while the fourth line was Andrew Desjardins between Adam Burish and James Sheppard.
Boyle returned to the lineup after a one-game absence with the flu. He took the place of rookie Nick Petrecki, who made his NHL debut on Tuesday against Anaheim.
TJ Galiardi was scratched for the first time this season, while Jason Demers, who was added to the roster earlier in the day, also did not play. Both were coach's decisions.
The Sharks’ six-game homestand concludes on Saturday night against the Nashville Predators. San Jose visits Anaheim on Monday and returns home on Tuesday to host Chicago.
Logan Couture was spotted “Kaepernicking” after his goal, kissing his bicep before getting swarmed by teammates. … Joe Pavelski has at least one point in all seven games. … The Sharks failed to score in the first period for the first time since the season opener in Calgary. … The Sharks and Oilers meet once more on March 20 in Edmonton. … San Jose outshot the Oilers 20-8 in the third period and overtime.