EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Oilers coach Tom Renney unloaded on his players after what he felt was a lackadaisical effort against San Jose.
Logan Couture scored a tiebreaking goal early in the third period and the Sharks snapped a five-game slide with a 3-2 victory at Edmonton on Monday night.
The usually calm and collected Renney was fuming after the Oilers' sixth loss in seven games.
``It doesn't take many (players) with the wrong attitude to make its way through your dressing room. It doesn't take many guys at all,' Renney said.
``We have a few people who need to look in the mirror here. Because this is unacceptable. You're the Edmonton Oilers. You're a millionaire. You have an opportunity to play the game. Suck it up and play hockey.'
Renney accused his team of giving up and in the process helping San Jose stay in the playoff hunt.
``Problem No. 1 one was playing not to lose,' he said. ``Problem No. 2 is two power-play goals for your opponent. Problem three was deciding it was just too hard.'
Joe Thornton had a goal and an assist while Torrey Mitchell also scored for the Sharks (34-25-9), who are trying to get back in playoff position after losing 11 of their previous 13 games.
San Jose is one point back of eighth-place Colorado in the tight Western Conference race. The Avs won 3-2 in overtime against Anaheim on Monday.
``We needed this really bad,' Thornton said. ``We're struggling right now and to come in here and get a big win, every game is so important for us. The playoffs have already started for us. It was just a huge two points for us.
``Hopefully this gives some guys some confidence.'
Ryan Whitney and Taylor Hall scored for the Oilers (26-36-7), who have the second-fewest points in the NHL with 59.
``Everyone in this room knows we have to be better,' Hall said. ``This isn't the way we wanted to start off this homestand.'
San Jose got off to a fast start, taking advantage when Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk lost sight of a bouncing puck. Mitchell converted a rebound of a Tommy Wingels shot just 1:07 into the game.
The Oilers tied it with 49 seconds left in the first. Whitney wound up from the top of the faceoff circle and fired a shot past Antti Niemi while both teams were down to four players a side.
Dubnyk made up for his earlier gaffe midway through the second, coming across to make a huge stick save on a rebound attempt by T.J. Galiardi.
The Sharks went up 2-1 on the power play a minute later. Patrick Marleau fed a pass through to Thornton, who snapped home his 15th of the season.
Edmonton drew even again with five minutes to play in the second on a tremendous effort by Hall. After blocking a shot at his own blue line, Hall turned on the jets to outrace a pair of San Jose defenders to the puck and beat Niemi for his 26th of the season.
The Sharks got their go-ahead goal 38 seconds into the third period when Dan Boyle unleashed a hard shot from the point that Couture tipped past Dubnyk while on the power play.
The Sharks were without a power-play goal in their previous six games but went 2-for-2 with the man advantage on Monday.
``Our power play was the difference tonight, getting those two goals,' Couture said. ``We created some opportunities from the top of the point and were able to get rebounds and tips off of them.
``We've been sliding and points are very important for us at the moment given our circumstances. We'll see how we build off this win. It's been a tough stretch for us. Any confidence we can get from winning games is huge for us right now.'
NOTES: It was the fourth and final scheduled meeting between the teams this season. Edmonton won two of the first three in shootouts. ... Oilers F Ben Eager returned to the lineup after missing two games with the flu. ... Sharks winger Marty Havlat could return as early as next week. He has been out since Dec. 21 with a hamstring injury. ... The last time the Sharks missed postseason play was in 2003.
The Associated Press News Service
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