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Edmonton Oilers sail past Sharks with 5-2 win

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The Edmonton Oilers won their sixth consecutive home game with a 5-2 decision over the San Jose Sharks Thursday night at Rogers Place.

“This is the first time we’ve had a fully healthy lineup and have had to make hard lineup decisions, and I thought we got a good effort from everybody who was dressed tonight,” Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said after the game.

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Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, back in the lineup after missing 12 games with an injury, had the best chance in the first period. He was set up by newcomer Derick Brassard, but Sharks goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen made a left pad save.

“Nuge is a real key piece of what we have going on here,” Woodcroft said. “He touches a lot of areas of the game and allows us to have a real strong spine of our team.

Read more: Edmonton Oilers lose back-and-forth game to Dallas Stars

Erik Karlsson was the finisher on a pretty passing play early in the second to make it 1-0 Sharks.

The Oilers replied on the power play when Kailer Yamamoto pounced on a loose puck and swooped in for this 18th goal of the season.

San Jose Sharks goalie Kaapo Kahkonen (34) is scored on by Edmonton Oilers’ Kailer Yamamoto (56) during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Thursday, March 24, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

“Every point matters at this time of year,” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said.

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“I thought the two guys we brought on — Kulak and Brassard — were great too and Nugent-Hopkins coming back too. You start to see the team fully healthy, and I thought it was awesome to get the win and some confidence moving forward.”

Three minutes later, Oilers forward Zack Kassian forced a turnover. Leon Draisaitl took the puck in and sniped his 43rd.

Read more: Edmonton Oilers lose 3-2 to Colorado Avalanche in OT thriller

Brassard made it 3-1 6:49 into the third when his pass banked in off Karlsson’s skate.

“‚ÄčI think he’s a very heady-type player,” Woodcroft said of Brassard. “He makes good plays with the puck. He doesn’t force little plays, he actually has some poise in the offensive zone in order to find that open man.”

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“We’ve acquired some guys that have been in the playoffs before and played important roles on teams, and obviously getting guys back healthy just solidifies our lineup,” Oilers netminder Mike Smith said.

Tomas Hertl got the Sharks right back in it with a shot from the slot 29 seconds later.

Shortly after, the Sharks’ Jeffrey Viel was penalized for shooting the puck over the glass. Draisaitl shoved home a pass from Connor McDavid to make it 4-2 Oilers with 6:05 left.

Edmonton’s Evander Kane added an empty netter.

Kane has seven goals in the last six games while Yamamoto has seven in the last eight.

Smith made 28 saves in the Edmonton goal for his seventh win of the season.

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“I felt like tonight I was pretty solid,” Smith said after the game.

“I didn’t like either goal — I just got out of position a little bit. But I felt like my game was letting pucks come to me tonight, and I’m feeling more comfortable every game that I’ve been in there.”

The Oilers (36-24-5) will play in Calgary on Saturday. You can listen to the game live on 630 CHED beginning with The Faceoff Show at 6:30 p.m.. The actual game begins at 8 p.m.

–With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED

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