Rexall Place, Edmonton
Joe Pavelski (SJ) — 2 goals, 1 assist
Joe Thornton (SJ) — 3 assists
Dany Heatley (SJ) — 1 goal, 1 assist
Skating together for the first time this season in 5-on-5 situations, Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton failed to hit the scoresheet.
No problem. On the power play, the San Jose trio combined for a goal and four assists in a 6-1 drubbing of the hometown Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.
Thornton, who entered the game with a team-worst minus-7 rating, led the way with three assists while Heatley added a power-play goal and assist.
"Yeah, we got some skill up front," understated Thornton, the Sharks' captain, in a post-game interview with Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Oake. "That's going to be a good [Oilers] team in a couple of years but they're just learning right now."
On this night, an Edmonton penalty-kill unit that began the night 29th among the NHL's 30 teams was schooled by a San Jose power play that has scored in each of the team's first six games this season and was tied for second with a 28.6 per cent success rate entering play Saturday. The Sharks went on to convert three of eight chances.
According to HNIC analyst Glenn Healy, the Sharks' prowess with the extra man starts with Thornton in the faceoff circle. He noted the six-foot-four, 235-pound centre won one faceoff in the defensive zone.
"Who cares?" Healy said. "Where it was most important was in the offensive zone [where] he won 75 per cent of his faceoffs. In all, Thornton won nine of 15 draws for a 60 per cent success rate.
Heatley, who tipped a Joe Pavelski blast by Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin at 16:34 of the first period to answer Jordan Eberle's second short-handed goal of the season, shined through with his competitive nature, added HNIC analyst Kelly Hrudey.
"He played like [Detroit's Henrik] Zetterberg and [Pavel] Datsyuk tonight," said Hrudey of Heatley, who posted three shots, two hits and three takeaways in 18-plus minutes of ice time. "If he lost the puck he wanted it more than the other guys.
"There's so many situations where he doesn't give up, backchecks, and I thought he sent a real message to his teammates."
Marleau failed to register a point for the first time in five games and remains one shy of 700 for his career.
Dan Boyle and Pavelski, who also had three points on a goal and two assists, had the other power-play markers for San Jose, which has won its first three road games of a season for the first time since joining the NHL in 1991.
Ryane Clowe, Logan Couture and John McCarthy, with his first NHL marker, rounded out the scoring for the 3-2-1 Sharks, who have scored 11 of 19 goals this season with the man advantage.
Edmonton lost for the fourth consecutive game after winning its first two games of the season.
"Turnovers were also an issue, we turned the puck over a lot and we weren't getting in on the forecheck," Eberle said.
Oilers head coach Tom Renney said his young team can't start to use its inexperience as a crutch when times get tough.
"We're not going to hang our head on being young and being inexperienced," he said. "We're in the NHL. We're six games in, and while this won't be the last time we go to school, our intention is to make sure we show people what we are all about too. Anything less than that on any given night is unacceptable."
The Sharks conclude a three-game trip on Sunday in Calgary at 6 p.m. MT while the Oilers next game is also against the Flames, on Tuesday in Calgary.
Edmonton defenceman Jason Strudwick's season debut wasn't exactly memorable. He finished minus-2 in 17 minutes 27 seconds of ice time in place of Theo Peckham, who injured his hand when he hit Cal Clutterbuck of the Minnesota Wild in the first period of Thursday's 4-2 loss.
Ryan Whitney continues to excel on the Oilers' blue-line. The team's leading scorer this season picked up his sixth assist in as many games and played a game-high 24:30. Whitney recorded three goals and 11 points in 19 games with Edmonton a year ago following a late-season trade from Anaheim.