SAN JOSE SHARKS (27-15-7) at
EDMONTON OILERS (23-24-5)
7:38 p.m. MST
Rogers Sportsnet West
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Sharks Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
After a .500 road trip through the Southeast Division that saw the team go 2-2-1, the Edmonton Oilers return to Rexall Place to open a four-game homestand.
Tonight is Edmonton’s final game in the month of January and the team has already won more games this month than any other month this season with seven. The Oilers have been particularly good at home recently with four wins in their last five home games.
In their last game, the Oilers snatched victory from the jaws of defeat thanks to two goals by Jarret Stoll 31 seconds apart. Stoll's second goal came with just 52 seconds left on the clock, tying the game at 3-3. Shawn Horcoff
scored the lone goal in the shootout to seal the win.
The Oilers are five points behind Colorado for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Northwest Division.
San Jose is in second place in the Western Conference with 61 points, tied with Dallas. The Sharks won their last two games heading into the all-star break but prior to that, they had lost four in a row.
This is the second meeting of the season between Edmonton and San Jose. The Oilers defeated the Sharks 3-2 in a shootout in the team’s home and season opener on October 4.
Just The Facts...
Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish announced that Sheldon Souray
will likely be out at least one to two weeks. Dick Tarnstrom replaces him in the lineup tonight... The Oilers make no other lineup changes as Mathieu Garon gets the start in goal.
OILERS TO WATCH: Shawn Horcoff
returns to the Oilers after playing in Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game in Atlanta. He had 17:25 in ice time which was the most among all forwards, had five shots on goal and was 60% in the faceoff circle. Horcoff also won the fastest skater at the skills competition on Saturday. He has 21 goals and 50 points in 52 games to lead the Oilers. He had 51 points all of last season through 80 games and hit a career high of 22 goals in 2005-06 in 79 games… Ales Hemsky
has picked up points in each of his last three games and has a point in every game except one since returning from injury on January 5. During that span of 10 games he has three goals and 13 assists for 16 points. With 45 points in 45 games, Hemsky is now averaging a point per game.
SHARKS TO WATCH:
San Jose had two players who participated in the All-Star Game and both will play a big role in their game tonight. Joe Thornton leads the NHL in assists with 45 and with 60 points he has almost twice as many points as San Jose’s second leading scorer (Milan Michalek with 32). Goaltender Evgeni Nabokov has played in 48 of the Sharks’ 49 games this season and leads the NHL in wins with 27. Chances are he gets the start in goal tonight… Former 57-goal scorer Jonathan Cheechoo has struggled this season with only nine goals in 42 games this season… Another Shark who has struggled is Patrick Marleau with only eight goals and 25 points in 49 games. Marleau also has a -20 rating… Steve Bernier is third on the Sharks in goals with 13.
Edmonton – Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; San Jose – Kyle McLaren (knee) is questionable. Curtis Brown (hand) is doubtful. Ryane Clowe (knee) is out.
Tonight's game will be televised nationally throughout the United States on Versus... The Oilers won their 12th game in a shootout on Thursday against Florida and are now 12-3 overall in shootouts. They are tied with the 2005-06 Dallas Stars for the NHL record of most shootouts in one season… San Jose is one of the top penalty killing teams in the NHL, especially on the road. Away from home, the Sharks have a 90.5% rating. Overall, it is tied for second in the league at 86.5%... Edmonton’s penalty kill is also very good – second in the NHL on home ice at 89.3% and fifth overall at 84.8%.
- Pre-Game omments from Moreau, Stoll, Penner, Sanderson, Cogliano, Gagner, Horcoff, Garon & MacTavish: 700K
- Craig MacTavish and Matt Greene talk to the media following a physically demanding team practice on Monday evening. 700K
Horcoff returns after rubbing shoulders with NHL's elite -
Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff
talks about playing and spending time with the NHL's elite during the NHL All-Star weekend, what he learned from his all-star teammates and which players he'd like to bring back with him to Edmonton. ...more
Molson Half-Price Seats available, complimentary vehicle boosts & huge 50/50 pot
- In addition to the usual Molson Half Price Seats promotion, fans attending tonight's game will have access to complimentary vehicle boosting, as tow trucks will be on site at Rexall Place. Plus, fans in attendance will also have a chance to win up to $40,000 in a special 50/50 draw. | Click here to purchase Half Price Seats
The Other Side
- Sharks bring four back from the AHL - Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson announced today that the club has recalled Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Devin Setoguchi, Tomas Plihal and Thomas Greiss from the Worcester Sharks ...more
Item of the Game
- Tonight's item of the game is a Sub Zero Cap. (Regular $29.99 on sale for $19.99)
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Gagner's goal in Atlanta the play of the week - Sam Gagner's highlight reel goal against the Atlanta Thrashers on January 20 was voted the top play of the week by a wide margin, picking up 53.6% of the vote. Follow the link to see the top three as voted by you the fans. ...more
- Gagner still assisting Kane - ATLANTA — A year later, Sam Gagner is still dishing assists to Patrick Kane, only now the pass is coming through a television screen and the goal doesn’t do much for Gagner at all. ...more
From the Wire
The San Jose Sharks enter the second half of the season with one of the best records in the NHL - and plenty of room for improvement.
The Sharks hope to get their run for the postseason started on a high note on Tuesday when they visit the Edmonton Oilers.
San Jose (27-15-7) is tied with Dallas atop the Pacific Division and for the third-best record in the league. Only Detroit and Ottawa have better records in the NHL, and the Sharks have played four fewer games than both the Stars and the Ducks, who are one point behind in the Pacific.
But the Sharks know they have plenty to work on before the playoffs start.
"I think we all realize we're not even close to playing the way we want to," defenseman Craig Rivet said. "We've got much more work to do in the next three months or so before the playoffs. We've got a lot to get done."
San Jose has struggled on offense all season, and is tied with Boston for 20th with just 2.59 goals per game. The Sharks have also had trouble winning at home, and are tied with four other teams for 24th in the NHL win 11 wins on their own ice.
However, the Sharks have made up for their struggles at home with 35 points on the road, third-most in the NHL. And their defense is tied with New Jersey for third in the league with 2.33 goals allowed per contest.
Evgeni Nabokov leads the league with 27 wins and owns a career-low 2.16 goals-against average. He turned aside all eight shots he faced the West's 8-7 loss to the East in Sunday's All-Star Game.
"We're just taking steps every week to improve for the playoffs," defenseman Kyle McLaren said. "All this work we're doing at this point in the season is about giving us a chance to succeed in the spring. That's why you can't get too up or too down about what's going on in January."
The Sharks beat St. Louis 4-1 on Thursday in its last game before the All-Star break. Jonathan Cheechoo scored twice for his first multigoal game since April 1.
Cheechoo led the Sharks with 37 goals in 2006-07 but has just nine so far this season.
"Cheech has been looking good lately and getting stronger. It's only a matter of time before a guy like that breaks out of it," said Joe Thornton, who had three assists and is tied for first place in the NHL with 45.
Patrick Marleau picked up an assist for the third straight game, but has just eight goals after getting at least 32 in each of his last two seasons. Marleau has 17 goals in 38 career games against the Oilers (23-24-5), his second-most against any NHL team.
The Sharks are hoping to get their offense going against Edmonton, which is ranks 24th in the league with 2.98 goals allowed per game.
The Oilers lost four of six heading into the break, but won 4-3 in a shootout in Florida on Thursday. The Oilers' 12 shootout victories are as twice as many as any other team in the league and make up more than half their win total .
Jarret Stoll scored twice in the final 1:23 of regulation to force overtime, and Shawn Horcoff scored the only goal in the shootout for Edmonton, which ended a season-high five-game road trip.
"It was a miraculous win," coach Craig MacTavish said. "I'm not saying we didn't deserve the result, but the way that it happened was a long shot."