EDMONTON, Alberta -- If the season ended today, the San Jose Sharks and Edmonton Oilers would meet in the first round of the playoffs.
So, they saw Thursday's game in Edmonton not only as a key Pacific Division battle, but a throwdown to set up a potential playoff meeting in a couple of weeks.
Thanks to the hottest line in hockey, the Oilers won 3-2. Patrick Maroon scored twice, and Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid each extended their point streaks to nine games.
McDavid has 28 goals this season; Maroon and Draisaitl each have 27.
The Oilers (43-25-9) took over the second spot in the Pacific, one point behind the Anaheim Ducks, who lost in overtime in Winnipeg on Thursday. The Ducks face the Oilers on Saturday -- another potential playoff-series dress rehearsal.
"It's good to get these games in," said McDavid, who had a highlight-reel short-handed goal and an assist to bring his league-leading point total to 91. "You want to play these games heading into the playoffs. Those meaningful games. We're ramping it up, and we feel pretty good about our game right now. Still a long way to go."
The Sharks, holding onto the third spot in the Pacific, have lost seven of their last eight. San Jose (43-27-7) fell two points behind Edmonton.
San Jose outshot the Oilers 40-22, but Edmonton goalie Cam Talbot had an outstanding night with 38 saves.
The Sharks beat the Rangers 5-4 in overtime Tuesday, and they felt good about their game in Edmonton, except for the final score.
"You always debate that," said Jannik Hansen, who scored the Sharks' opening goal. "Do you rather play like crap and win or do you want to play good and lose? We're obviously getting closer to the playoffs here. We need to have our game in the right spot. The last two games have been a whole lot better than the previous six."
Hansen quieted the Rogers Place crowd just 1:01 into the game, as he took a couple of whacks on a rebound from Paul Martin's point shot before the puck floated in over the pad of Talbot.
San Jose's assault on the Oilers continued; nine minutes into the game, the Sharks were outshooting the home side 12-2, forcing Talbot into several good saves that kept his team from being snowed under early.
"That could be our first-round opponent or maybe our second-round opponent, you never know," Talbot said. "We definitely have to go through these teams to make a big splash in the playoffs, and that's a big statement win for us."
"I'd argue it is playoff hockey," Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. "I don't know if it's going to get much harder and tighter than it has been over the couple games, anyhow. I think we're into it already. A little bit of a lesson learned tonight. We weren't on our toes early in the game and that's a typical San Jose start."
Despite the early domination, the Sharks yielded the lead at 10:22. McDavid's pass found Maroon in the slot, and Maroon made no mistake.
McDavid then gave the Oilers the lead at 17:28, with his team a man down. Seconds after Drake Caggiula rang a shot off the post, McDavid got the puck at the Sharks' blue line, blew past Patrick Marleau and lifted a nifty backhand over goalie Martin Jones.
The Sharks had a golden chance to tie the game 12 minutes into the second. Justin Braun and Marleau broke in on a two-on-nothing chance, but Marleau lost his balance as Braun made the pass, and the puck went wide.
Maroon got his second of the night at 7:51 of the third, tipping in a shot from Kris Russell.
Joe Pavelski tipped home a point shot with 6:01 left in regulation to make it 3-2.
"We got the start we wanted, we played a great 12 minutes, then they made a little push," Pavelski said. "It was a tough one to give up, I think, on the short-handed one. That's on us as players. Both goals were maybe on line changes; just a couple of little breakdowns cost us tonight. We'll go from there; otherwise I felt it was a pretty solid game. It was a good atmosphere out there, fun game to play."
NOTES: The Sharks' last regulation win came on March 14, a 4-1 triumph over Buffalo. ... Sharks C Logan Couture has been out since Saturday, after he was struck in the mouth by a puck and required major dental work. ... Oilers D Matt Benning returned to the lineup after missing Tuesday's game against the Kings with a lower-body injury. ... The Oilers scratched C Matt Hendricks, RW Iiro Pakarinen, LW Jujhar Khaira and D Eric Gryba. ... The Sharks scratched LW Marcus Sorensen, RW Kevin Labanc and D Dylan DeMelo.