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Labanc outshines McDavid for Pacific Division lead
Rookie forward scores a pair of goals in OT win
12/23/16 - By Mike Lee -

With the Edmonton Oilers in town in the battle for Pacific Division supremacy, there was a youth exhibit on display on SAP Center ice on Friday night. Both teams sport a few players under 25 that are key contributors. NHL poster-boy Connor McDavid showed everyone in the South Bay why he's the new face of the NHL, but it was Sharks rookie Keving Labanc that decided the game, scoring a pair of goals for San Jose. Labanc's 2nd goal came in the overtime period to give the Sharks a 3-2 victory and sole possession of the Pacific Division lead.

Labanc scored a key 3rd period goal, but his goal in the extra period gave the Sharks the 2 points. The rookie took a feed from Logan Couture in the right corner, before skating to the net and roofing a shot past Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot. The stars aligned for the Sharks on the play, as both McDavid and Milan Lucic peeled away from the puck skating away from their own net.

Both Oiler forwards left defenseman Oscar Klefbom to try and handle both Sharks forwards, which wasn't going to happen. Labanc elected to go top shelf on Talbot near side, slipping the shot past Talbot's glove for his first career multi-goal game.

The ending was fitting, given the Sharks performance for most of the game. They were the better team, out-chancing the Oilers all night long.

A too many men penalty on San Jose in the opening period almost turned into gold for the Sharks, when Melker Karlsson sprang past the Oilers on a short-handed breakaway. Karlsson tried to move around Talbot on the right side, but his scoring attempt was gloved off a nice glove save.

The Sharks killed an interference penalty to Mikeal Boedker later in the period, then went on the power play after Matt Hendricks drew a roughing penalty on the front end of a fight with Brendan Dillon at the end of the period.

The Hendricks penalty carried over into the 2nd period, where the Sharks converted on a one time blast off the stick of Joe Pavelski. Brent Burns setup the shot with a pass from the point that Pavelski tee'd up and ripped past Talbot. The puck sailed under the crossbar, catching the left corner.

Matt Kassian and Micheal Haley dropped the gloves in a spirited bout at 2:34 of the period, which continued the physical play. Things got chippy later in the period when Kassian decided to extend things by cross checking Dillon and sucker punching him while the linesman tried separating the two. Kassian earned a double minor for his trouble, but the Sharks power play would not make the Oilers pay.

The Sharks were cruising along in the 3rd period when Oilers phenom COnnor McDavid scored one of the luckiest goals you'll ever see. The Oilers captain caried the puck up the right wing and fired a puck that hit Marc-Edouard Vlasic in the skate, deflecting it into the slot where it hit Justin Braun in the skate. The second 90 degree redirection sent the puck into the Sharks net to tie the game at 1-1.

San Jose responded less than 2 minutes later, when Kevin Labanc sent a one-time feed from Logan Couture past Talbot on a 2-on-1 break. Labanc skated up the left wing with Couture flanking him on the right side.

McDavid and company answered on the very next shift. The 2nd year forward carried the puck up the left wing boards before sending a pass to Patrick Maroon on the off wing for a shot that handcuffed Jones. The goal was Maroon's 10th of the season.

San Jose took a pair of penalties in the latter half of the 3rd period, putting themselves into a precarious spot against one of the better power plays in the league. San Jose would kill both infractions, and finished the evening a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.

Labanc sent the sellout crowd home happy, heading into the NHL's Christmas break. No trades can occur during the break, which lasts through next week.

Game Notes:

* Joe Thornton recorded his 700th assist as a Sharks on the Pavelski goal. Brent Burns recorded his 300th career assist on the same goal.

* Connor McDavid finished the game with a goal and an assist on 26 shifts over 23:47 of ice time. He had 3 shots on goal.

* Four Shark skaters finished the evening with 4 or more shots, including Brent Burns, who led the team with 5. Burns had a pair of assists to extend his team lead in scoring.

* Zack Kassian didn't touch the ice in the 3rd period after his decision to go after Dillon and put his team in a tight spot with his double minor.


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1 2 3 OT T
EDM 0 0 2 0 2
SJ 0 1 1 1 3
1st period - None.
2nd period - 1, SJ, Pavelski12 (Burns, Thornton), 0:31, (pp).
3rd period - 2, EDM, McDavid 13 (Sekera), 6:17. 3, SJ, Labanc 5 (Couture, Pavelski), 8:21. 4, EDM, Maroon 10 (McDavid, Gryba), 8:45.
Overtime - 5, SJ, Labanc 6 (Couture, Burns), 3:22.
1st period - Bench, SJ (too many men), 6:26; Boedker, SJ (interference), 17:05; Hendricks, EDM (roughing), 19:21; Hendricks, EDM (fighting major), 19:21; Dillon, SJ (fighting major), 19:21.
2nd period - Kassian, EDM (fighting major), 2:34; Haley, SJ (fighting major), 2:34; Braun, SJ (holding), 4:07; Beck, EDM (tripping), 6:23; Kassian, EDM (cross checking), 12:22; Kassian, EDM (roughing), 12:22; Pavelski, SJ (hooking), 16:16.
3rd period - Braun, SJ (tripping), 13:28; Meier, SJ (delay of game - puck over glass), 16:20.
Overtime - None.
Shots Saves
EDM - Talbot 31 28
SJ - Jones 18 16
Shots On Goal
1 2 3 OT T
EDM 5 4 9 0 18
SJ 10 13 7 1 31
Power Play Conversion
EDM 0 of 6
SJ 1 of 4
3 Stars of the Game
Kevin Labanc
Joe Pavelski
Connor McDavid
SAP Center - 17,562
Referees: Schlenker, St Pierre. Linesmen: Grandt, Galloway.
Holiday Gifts at BustedTees

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