Jujhar Khaira

Oilers snap Sharks’ win streak with big win

After a dreadful start to the 2019-20 regular season, the San Jose Sharks started to look like the perennial playoff contender we have become used to seeing.

A six-game winning streak helped steady the ship in the Bay area, but the Sharks ran into the dynamic tandem of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl and fell to the Edmonton Oilers, 5-2.

While the Sharks don’t have the ultimate trophy to back up their run over the past decade, they have long been the class of the Pacific Division.

However, with a new culture in Edmonton, the Oilers are looking to establish themselves as the new elite team in the Western Conference.

Oilers kept foot on the gas pedal

A strong start helped the Oilers capture an early two-goal lead. But their response after Kevin Labanc cut their lead in half is why they left the arena with two points against a division rival. Not only did Jujhar Khaira score late in the first period to restore a two-goal advantage, James Neal recorded his 13th of the season to keep the game out of reach.

Neal has enjoyed a bounce-back season after an extremely tough season with the Calgary Flames last year.

Dave Tippet has installed a system that allows skilled players to flourish in the offensive zone as long as they handle their responsibilities on the other end of the ice.

Through 23 games, the results have been favorable in Edmonton.

Draisaitl deserves more respect

When mentioning the top players of the game throughout the NHL, Draisaitl is often left off most lists.

Connor McDavid’s tantalizing skill set usually overshadows Draisaitl, but the German forward is quietly leading the NHL in points (16 goals, 28 assists) and should be considered a favorite for the Hart Trophy.

Draisaitl is currently riding a 13-game point streak while McDavid extended his own point streak to eight games.

The Oilers have eyes on returning to the postseason but will need more secondary scoring to compete for a Stanley Cup. The question general manager Ken Holland will have to answer is, do they have the pieces internally, or does Edmonton need to make an acquisition?

Scott Charles is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottMCharles.

Oilers release Westgarth from PTO

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For the second straight day an NHL tough guy was released from his camp invite.

On Sunday the Oilers announced that forward Kevin Westgarth had been released.

The news comes after the Blues released Paul Bissonnette on Saturday.

Westgarth, 30, has 169 games on his NHL resume with the LA Kings, Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames.

The Princeton product has collected 266 penalty minutes during his NHL tenure, which according to hockeyfights.com, includes 32 career fights.

Westgarth won a Stanley Cup with the Kings in 2012.

Rookies staying in Edmonton

It appears rookie center Leon Draisaitl and defenseman Darnell Nurse are sticking with the big club.

Draisaitl, 18, was Edmonton’s third overall selection in the June NHL Draft.

Nurse, 19, was the Oilers seventh overall pick at the 2013 NHL Draft.

Neither player is old enough to be sent to the AHL.

TSN’s Ryan Rishaug tweeted potential lines for the Oilers heading into the regular season:

Oilers trim roster

Edmonton also announced seven other cuts on Sunday.

Jujhar Khaira, Martin Marincin and Bogdan Yakimov have been assigned to the American Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Barons.

Additionally, Keith Aulie, Anton Lander, Steve Pinizzotto and Tyler Pitlick were placed on waivers with the purpose of assignment to the Barons.