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Playoff-bound Sharks aim to bounce back in Edmonton
(SportsNetwork.com) - The San Jose Sharks may have already clinched a playoff spot, but the club has plenty of work to do if it wants to go in as the Pacific Division champions.
The Sharks hope to avoid a third straight loss on Tuesday night as they take on the hosting Edmonton Oilers.
Though San Jose lost its second game in a row on Monday night, both losses came in a shootout and the point gained last night versus the Calgary Flames was enough to lock up the Sharks' 10th straight playoff appearance.
With 101 points, the Sharks are two ahead of the idle Anaheim Ducks for the top spot in the Pacific Division, but San Jose has played two more games.
San Jose got a goal from James Sheppard in last night's 2-1 setback to the Calgary Flames, while backup goaltender Alex Stalock made 26 saves through overtime as the Sharks fell to 8-1-3 in their last 12 games.
"It was probably an inevitability," said Sharks coach Todd McLellan of clinching a playoff spot. "There is satisfaction in clinching. That's one of the goals that we set out to do and they've accomplished that. It would've been nice to get the two points, obviously we're in a heck of a race for other things, so that's a little bit disappointing, but we got to move on."
San Jose did see forward Logan Couture exit early due to a lower-body injury suffered after blocking a shot. McLellan said that Couture is okay, but it was unknown if he will be able to play tonight.
Antti Niemi is likely to return to net tonight for San Jose and is 7-1-1 lifetime versus the Oilers with a 2.27 goals against average.
The Oilers should be eager for redemption tonight after getting routed 8-1 by the Flames on Saturday night. Jeff Petry had the lone Edmonton goal and Viktor Fasth yielded five goals on 16 shots before getting lifted just over seven minutes into the second period.
Ben Scrivens allowed three goals on 15 shots in relief for the Oilers, who have dropped their past two after opening a six-game homestand with last Tuesday's win over Nashville.
"I apologize to the fans who had to watch that," Edmonton head coach Dallas Eakins said. "It was painful on the bench and painful for our great fans."
Forward Nail Yakupov missed his third straight game due to injury and is doubtful to return tonight.
Scrivens seemed likely to get the start tonight even before Fasth suffered an upper-body injury in practice on Monday when he collided with teammate Anton Lander. He had to be helped off the ice and Edmonton recalled goaltender Laurent Brossoit from the American Hockey League on an emergency basis.
Scrivens was stellar the last time he faced the Sharks on Jan. 29, setting an NHL record for the most saves in a regular-season shutout as he turned aside 59 shots in a 3-0 win.
The victory by the Oilers snapped a six-game slide to the Sharks and four-game skid at home in this series.
03/25 11:15:01 ET