Skinner’s first shutout leads Oilers past Sharks 3-0
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Stuart Skinner made 20 saves in his first career shutout and the Edmonton Oilers beat the San Jose Sharks 3-0 on Monday night.
“It was pretty special,” Skinner said. “To say that I got an NHL shutout is something cool and something that you dream of as a kid. Definitely a really special moment and I’m really grateful for it.”
Connor McDavid, Darnell Nurse and Warren Foegele scored. Evan Bouchard had two assists.
Former Shark Evander Kane returned to San Jose for the first time with the Oilers and was booed every time he touched the puck. He did not have a point but took four shots on goal.
“I’ve kind of moved on,” Kane said before the game. “I’m happy where I’m at.”
Added Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft: “I’ve been nothing but impressed with Evander Kane. I think he’s single-minded in his purpose and that (was) to get a win tonight for the Edmonton Oilers.”
James Reimer made 36 saves as San Jose lost its fourth in a row. The Sharks played their first game since Feb. 1 and their first home game since Jan. 22.
“I think that you can see there wasn’t a lot of sharpness to our game, and that’s the worry after being on a break that long,” coach Bob Boughner said. “But you’ve got to find ways at this time of year and there’s no excuses.”
The Oilers jumped ahead with two goals in the first period. Foegele tipped home his sixth of the season on Edmonton’s first shot on goal. Nurse added his fifth goal just 1:05 later.
“We haven’t played with a lead early in games a lot this season, but when you find a way to get it and just stick to your game plan, not take the foot off the gas, I think it’s huge,” Nurse said.
After a scoreless second period, McDavid scored his 24th early in the third, moving into a tie for second place in the NHL with 64 points.
The Oilers controlled the game, outshooting the Sharks 41-20. Both teams went 0 for 4 on the power play.
“I thought we played a full 60 minutes,” Woodcroft said. “There were times when the other team had some chances, but we really, really liked the commitment to the defensive side of the puck, the commitment to working back to our end.”
The game marked a return to San Jose for Woodcroft, who served as a Sharks assistant coach from 2008-15.
“At that time, it was my first opportunity to be an assistant coach in the NHL and I’m very thankful for that opportunity,” he said. “I made a lot of really good friendships in the city of San Jose.”
Woodcroft improved to 2-0 since replacing Dave Tippett as Edmonton’s head coach. Tippett was fired on Feb. 10 in the middle of his third season.
NOTES: Sharks LW Rudolfs Balcers left after blocking a shot late in the second period and did not return. ... Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen missed the game due to COVID-19 protocols. ... Sharks backup goalie Adin Hill (lower-body injury) is nearing a return from injured reserve. “He’s getting better,” Boughner said. “I still think he needs a few more days to feel comfortable if he had to go into action.” ... The Oilers remained the NHL’s only undefeated team when scoring first, improving to 14-0-0.
Oilers: At the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Sharks: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
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