McDavid hits milestone as Edmonton Oilers flatten helpless Sharks

Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News on

Published in Hockey

The deck was stacked against the San Jose Sharks before Monday’s game with the Edmonton Oilers even began.

A handful of Sharks’ veterans were too banged up to make the team’s trip to Alberta, the team said, leaving a handful of inexperienced players to take on the world’s most dangerous forward in Connor McDavid and an Oilers offense that ranks as one of the most potent in the NHL.

The result was not pretty, but also rather predictable for anyone who has spent time watching the Sharks try to play defense this season.

The Sharks allowed four goals on 10 shots in the first period and five more on 17 shots in the second as they were flattened 9-2 by the Oilers, who handed San Jose one of its most lopsided losses of this dismal season.

Sharks starting goalie Devin Cooley was hung out to dry on several occasions as the skaters in front of him looked completely helpless about how to defend McDavid and the Oilers.

After he allowed his eighth goal of the game, with Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard scoring his 18th of the season at the 13:49 mark of the second period, Cooley momentarily laid flat on the ice – face down — as the music blared at Rogers Place.

Cooley allowed eight goals on 22 shots before he was mercifully pulled.

Georgi Romanov came on in relief of Cooley, making his NHL debut, and allowed the Oilers’ ninth goal at the 15:35 mark of the second, as Connor McDavid recorded his 100th assist of the season, setting up Zach Hyman for his 54th goal.

McDavid joins Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Bobby Orr as the only players in NHL history to record 100 assists in a season. His production has helped the Oilers have the fourth-most prolific offense in the NHL this year.


Danil Gushchin and William Eklund both scored for the Sharks, who have now allowed 326 goals this season, the highest total since they gave up 357 in 1995-96. Romanov finished with 14 saves on 15 shots.

Several Sharks players did not join the team for their final road trip of the year, ending their respective seasons and for a few of them, likely their tenures with the organization.

Forwards Kevin Labanc, Mike Hoffman, Filip Zadina, and Alexander Barabanov, forward/defenseman Jacob MacDonald, defenseman Jan Rutta, and goalie Mackenzie Blackwood all did not travel with the Sharks.

As much as the Sharks missed the veteran presence of those individuals, Blackwood’s absence and calming presence really seemed to hurt.

Adam Henrique, Darnell Nurse, and Dylan Holloway had three points each for the Oilers. McDavid had a goal and an assist, with his goal, his 32nd of the season, coming just 53 seconds into the first period.

Blackwood started Saturday’s game and stopped 32 of 38 shots in the Sharks’ 6-2 loss to Minnesota. Sharks coach David Quinn, though, said Blackwood “is battling something. He has for a while, actually,” leading the team to recall Romanov.

The Sharks have now lost by six or more goals seven times this season. Their most lopsided losses came in November, when they were trounced 10-1 and 10-2 by the Vancouver Canucks and Pittsburgh Penguins, respectively, in successive games.

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