NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, January 13th
(All times eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (13-21-7) at San Jose Sharks (21-18-5), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Though San Jose is on its longest losing streak of the
season, the Sharks have to like their chances of getting on track tonight when
they go for their first ever season-series sweep of the Edmonton Oilers at HP
The Sharks have lost their last five games, the club's longest slide since
dropping six in a row from March 13-21, and are just 2-7-0 in their last nine
games. The three-time defending Pacific Division champions are currently 10
points back of first place in the standings.
San Jose opened a three-game residency on Tuesday, losing 4-2 to Toronto.
Patrick Marleau had both goals and Antti Niemi gave up three goals on 25 shots
as the Sharks also dropped their fifth straight at home.
To make matters worse, Logan Couture, who leads all rookies with 19 goals,
left in the game with a knee injury after a knee-to-knee hit by the Maple
Leafs' Colton Orr and is doubtful for tonight's game.
"The hit on Logan, I was disappointed in the call. I don't think it should
have been [just] a minor penalty and it was a dangerous play," Sharks head
coach Todd McLellan told his team's website.
Joe Thornton finished with a pair of assists for his first points in six
games. The playmaker could break out again tonight as he has six assists in
three meetings with the Oilers this year and a goal and 13 assists over a
seven-game point streak against the club.
San Jose has outscored Edmonton, 12-5, in winning all three meetings,
including two on the road prior to a 2-1 home win on Dec. 21. Antero
Niittymaki has been in net for all three wins, posting a 1.67 goals-against
The Sharks have won nine of their last 10 over the Oilers, taking four
straight at home in that span.
Dany Heatley has seven goals and 17 points in 15 career games when facing
Edmonton, including three goals and two helpers this year, while Joe Pavelski
has a pair of goals and two assists in the three games. Pavelski, though, has
missed the last eight games with a lower-body injury.
The Oilers have dropped the first two contests of a five-game road trip since
ending a seven-game slide with last Thursday's 2-1 home win over the
Islanders. Edmonton was bested, 6-1, in Vancouver the following day before
dropping a 3-2 decision in Dallas on Tuesday.
The Oilers lost the contest despite a season-high 41 shots and third-period
goals by J.F. Jacques and Ryan Jones less than two minutes apart to tie the
game. Nikolai Khabibulin allowed three goals on 20 shots.
"The guys really worked hard. They wanted this one here," Oilers coach Tom
Renney said. "If we're going to lose hockey games, let's lose going after
Khabibulin has struggled in his last nine games versus the Sharks, going 2-4-2
with a 3.30 GAA.
Edmonton has lost five straight on the road and has been without both Jim
Vandermeer (ankle) and Gilbert Brule (abdomen) for the past two games.
01/13 13:29:52 ET