NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, April 1st
(All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (26-40-9) at San Jose Sharks (47-20-9), 10:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The suddenly-struggling San Jose Sharks hope to get back
on track Tuesday when they welcome the lowly Edmonton Oilers for a battle at
The Sharks were one of the NHL's hottest teams not that long ago, collecting
11 wins during a 14-game stretch (11-2-1) from Feb. 5-March 20. However, San
Jose has lost four of five games (1-2-2) since and ended the month of March
with consecutive regulation losses.
Despite its recent slide, San Jose is still in the thick of the Pacific
Division title race. The Sharks, who have already locked up a playoff spot,
are three points behind Anaheim for the division title, with the Ducks holding
a game in hand.
Anaheim is idle Tuesday before hosting the Oilers on Wednesday.
The Sharks hope to get back on track Tuesday against Edmonton, which is last
in the West and officially eliminated from playoff contention. The Oilers have
missed the postseason in eight straight years since making a surprise run to
the Stanley Cup Finals in 2006.
San Jose has won three of four against the Oilers this season and has claimed
seven of eight overall in the series. Edmonton, which is 12-20-6 on the road
this season, has lost in seven of its past nine trips to San Jose.
After losing at home to Winnipeg on Thursday, the Sharks were dealt a second
straight regulation defeat in Saturday's road game against Colorado. John
Mitchell recorded the eventual game winner in the second period for the
Avalanche and Semyon Varlamov stopped a season-high 47 shots to frustrate the
Sharks in the 3-2 loss.
San Jose went 1-for-4 on the power play, but failed to convert on two chances
with the man advantage during a scoreless third period. The Sharks fired 20
shots at Varlamov over the final 20 minutes, but couldn't beat the Russian
netminder for the equalizer.
Joe Pavelski and Dan Boyle tallied for the Sharks, with Alex Stalock making
only 19 saves in defeat.
"We had our chances. Our PK was winning a lot of games early, but we can't
give up a lot of penalties, especially against them," offered Pavelski. "They
were committed tonight, but so were we. Our guys did better and better as the
game went on, but it wasn't enough."
Antti Niemi expects to get the start in net for San Jose tonight. The Finnish
backstop is 8-1-1 with a 2.24 goals against average in 10 career games against
The Sharks are beginning a three-game homestand on Tuesday and boast a 26-6-5
record at SAP Center this season.
The Oilers have dropped four of their last five games and are coming off
Sunday's 5-0 blowout loss against the visiting New York Rangers. Cam Talbot
stopped 26 shots to blank Edmonton, while Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash each
posted two goals for the Rangers.
Ben Scrivens allowed all five goals for the Oilers, who surrendered five or
more goals for the third time in four outings.
"We have to find a way to manufacture some offense and it's something that
we're going to have to look into this summer as we add and subtract," Oilers
head coach Dallas Eakins said.
Edmonton is beginning a three-game road trip on Tuesday before capping its
season with four straight at Rexall Place.
04/01 10:50:22 ET