Kevin Labanc scored his first career hat trick as the San Jose Sharks sank the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 Saturday night at Rogers Place.
“We don’t play like this on the road. We don’t come close to playing like this on the road, but we sure as heck do ,” Oilers coach Ken Hitchcock said.
The Oilers’ dismal play on home ice continues. They’ve lost five in a row and 11 of their last 13 at Rogers Place.
“For the players, it has to be really unacceptable,” Hitchcock said. “To play that way with so much at stake–to be able to move within two or three points of and to play this way–it just can’t be acceptable.”
LISTEN BELOW: Ken Hitchcock
“If we found a way to bring the game that we’ve brought in the three road games after the break, we would’ve given ourselves a better chance to win,” Milan Lucic said.
Labanc opened the scoring just past the halfway point of the first period. His shot deflected off Kevin Gravel’s skate and beat Cam Talbot. Only 1:39 later, Evander Kane was left alone in front and made it 2-0.
Labanc struck on the power play 6:10 into the second. The Oilers came back with a goal on a man advantage of their own as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins beat Aaron Dell for this 17th of the season.
Labanc completed the hat trick early in the third. Tomas Hertl added one more shortly after. Zack Kassian knocked a puck in out of the air late in the game for the Oilers.
“It’s pretty cool that there were a couple hats thrown out there,” Labanc said. “It was fun, it was a good game. Besides the hat-trick, we got the two points so that was huge for us.”
“It’s not the team you want to turn pucks over to,” Oilers defenceman Oscar Klefbom said. “They’ve got some good players that can make some plays and they really showed that early in the game and it cost us the game.”
Ty Rattie blocked a shot late in the first period and didn’t return to the game. The Sharks have won three straight against the Oilers, scoring 19 goals in the process.
It wasn’t that long ago that Edmonton beat us in a playoff series,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “I think we’re playing with a lot of confidence right now and our game is in a good place. The games against Edmonton, we’ve managed to score some goals on them. The games probably look a little worse on the score sheet than they actually are.”
The Oilers, 24-26-5, will visit Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
with files from 630 CHED’s Brenden Escott and Kyle Morris
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