By Curtis Pashelka The Mercury News (TNS)
Mikkel Boedker never wavered in his belief — at least publicly — that his goal scoring would come around as long as he continued to put himself in the right position.
Give him credit for keeping the faith.
Boedker enjoyed his most productive night in teal on Tuesday, as he recorded his fourth career hat trick in the Sharks’ 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place.
Brent Burns added a goal and two assists, goalie Martin Jones finished with 33 saves and Logan Couture scored with 14:54 left to stifle an Oilers rally as the Sharks grabbed sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.
The Sharks led 4-1 after two periods, but goals by Matthew Benning and Oscar Klefbom cut the lead to one with 16:15 left in the third.
Couture stole the momentum away from the Oilers with 14:54 left in the third.
Couture picked the puck away from defenseman Matthew Benning near the Oilers’ blue line and streaked toward the net. After Couture was brought down, the puck went off his leg and under Oilers goalie Cam Talbot for a 5-3 Sharks lead.
The Sharks’ win may have come at a price. Early in the second period, Dylan DeMelo was injured and did not return after he took a hit behind the Sharks net from Zack Kassian.
DeMelo skated to the Sharks’ bench clutching his hand, it appeared, before he went back into the dressing room.
The Sharks took a 4-1 lead 8:55 into the second period on a pair of goal by Boedker.
Melker Karlsson set up Boedker for his second of the game and a 3-1 Sharks lead 2:24 into the second period. Karlsson sent a blind pass to Boedker, who beat Talbot for his fifth of the season.
At the 8:55 mark, Boedker redirected a shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic through Talbot’s legs for a 4-1 Sharks lead.
Jones kept the Oilers at one goal through two periods, as he finished the second period with 16 saves.
Jones, who was named an NHL All-Star earlier Tuesday, made a dandy pad save on winger Patrick Maroon on an Oilers’ 2 on 1, then stopped Maroon again from close range just after Edmonton began a power play with Patrick Marleau serving a two-minute minor for high sticking.
Boedker had been shuffled around the Sharks’ forward for a good part of the first half of the season.
Although he had spurts of inspired play, most recently in a two-week stretch break, Boedker never found a scoring touch as he scored just two goals in his first 38 games.
Boedker was a healthy scratch for the Sharks’ game against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, then came back on Saturday against the Detroit Red Wings and scored his first goal since November 1 against Arizona.
The game also marked the return of Vlasic, who had missed the previous four games after he caught a puck to the face on Dec. 30 against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The swelling in Vlasic’s face had gone down considerably since his injury. But he said he’s still dealing with the pain that’s lingered since a puck from a Shayne Gostisbehere slap shot went off Joel Ward’s stick and up above Vlasic’s upper lip.
“It’s unlucky. Could happen to anybody,” Vlasic said Tuesday morning. “It’s your turn to block and you get it in the face, it’s not something you want to get. I was fortunate enough not to lose any teeth, but I’m glad I’m feeling better today.”
Vlasic and defense partner Justin Braun helped to limit Connor McDavid, the NHL’s leading scorer with 48 points coming into Tuesday, to one shot on net through two periods.
Anaheim 2 Dallas 0
San Jose 5 Edmonton 3
Chicago 4 Detroit 3 (OT)
Boston 5 St. Louis 3
Nashville 2 Vancouver 1 (OT)
Buffalo 4 Philadelphia 1
Carolina 5 Columbus 3
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