Playing with a shaved head, Setoguchi scored twice in a 1:38 span to provide the punch San Jose has been lacking on its second line and the Sharks went on to beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Saturday.
“I did it once in junior when I was 18-years old and hadn’t scored a goal in a while,” Setoguchi said. “I did it and scored two goals that night. So it’s kind of weird. … It’s one of those things hockey players try to switch things up when they haven’t gone well in a while.”
Patrick Marleau(notes) scored his league-leading 32nd goal and Joe Thornton(notes) added his 13th for the Sharks, who have won 12 of 15 games to remain tied with Chicago for the most points in the league.
Despite that success, San Jose has struggled to get production outside of its top line of Marleau, Thornton and Dany Heatley(notes). The Sharks went six games without a goal from any other forward until Setoguchi broke through with two to snap a nine-game goal drought. He had eight shots overall, tied for the second most in his career.
“It was just a matter of time until he got scoring again,” Thornton said. “For him to score two tonight was a huge help for us. Just a big smile from the bench from all of us.”
The Oilers, who have been battling a flu bug the past week, have lost seven straight and 14 of 15 overall.
“We’re not exactly on fire when we had everybody healthy so things haven’t changed much,” Edmonton captain Ethan Moreau(notes) said. “They have better offensive players that capitalized and score more goals than us. The game was played pretty evenly but they just have high-end guys that win games for them. To beat these guys you almost to play a perfect game for us to beat them.”
Sharks coach Todd McLellan shook up his lines to try to get more balanced scoring, moving Manny Malhotra(notes) to the second line with Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski(notes), and dropping Ryane Clowe(notes) down to a line with Scott Nichol(notes) and Jed Ortmeyer(notes).
The revamped second line delivered with the goals by Setoguchi on both sides of the first intermission. After Thornton drew a penalty from Dustin Penner(notes) to give the Sharks their first power play, Setoguchi made the Oilers pay with a wrist shot from the circle that beat rookie goalie Devan Dubnyk(notes) with 1:16 remaining in the first period.
Then just 22 seconds into the second period, Setoguchi knocked home Pavelski’s rebound of a shot by to make it 3-1.
“It was nice to get rewarded,” Setoguchi said. “Now I have to keep going forward and not take any steps and keep going in the right direction.”
That helped Greiss earn his fifth win of the season. He had not started a game since beating Phoenix in a shootout on Dec. 31. He had only played briefly since then, replacing Evgeni Nabokov(notes) late in a blowout loss to Los Angeles on Jan. 4.
Greiss wasn’t tested often, but did come far out of his net to break up a scoring chance by Jean-Francois Jacques(notes) in the second period and made a tough save on Sam Gagner(notes) early in the third.
“Thomas doesn’t get to play often but when he does he always seems to come up with a really good game,” McLellan said. “Once again, he seemed to play well.”
The Oilers also went with their backup goalie as Dubnyk made the fourth start of his career. He has given up 18 goals in those four starts and is still looking for his first career win.
Marleau got the Sharks on the board first when his centering pass from the corner got caught in the skates of Dubnyk and trickled over the goal line.
“It’s not good for our goaltenders to have easily missed plays there,” coach Pat Quinn said. “It hurts the concentration. It hurts confidence and it builds fear. And if you play with a little bit of fear you are really in trouble.”
NOTES: Thornton got his 50th assist of the season on Marleau’s first-period goal. With his goal in the second, Thornton tied Owen Nolan(notes) for second in Sharks history with 451 career points. … The Sharks recalled F Benn Ferriero(notes) from Worcester of the AHL and sent John McCarthy(notes) back to the minors. … Edmonton became the last team this season to score a short-handed goal. … Malhotra won all 12 of his faceoffs. Only Buffalo’s Derek Roy(notes) has had a better game all season, winning all 14 of his on Nov. 4 against the Islanders.