Oilers dive into Shark Tank tonight
LINEUP UPDATES: Dwayne Roloson will be the starter in goal tonight. Gilbert Brule slots in on the fourth line though it's unsure if Ladislav Smid or Jason Strudwick draws out. Check back shortly for pre-game video. Pre-game audio is posted below.
EDMONTON OILERS (12-11-2) at
SAN JOSE SHARKS (22-3-1)
Start Time: 8:08 p.m. MST
Television: CBC (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes
|Shawn Horcoff tries to slip one past Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
(Photo by Andy Devlin/Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
The Edmonton Oilers have a tough task ahead of them tonight. Not only are they playing their second game in as many nights, they're looking to pick up two points in arguably the toughest building in the NHL.
The San Jose Sharks have been dominant since the first drop of the puck back on October 9. With 45 points, they have seven more points than any other team in the NHL (Boston and Detroit have 38).
Also, they have yet to lose in regulation time on home ice this season. The Sharks are 14-0-1 in the Shark Tank with the lone loss being a 4-3 overtime defeat to the Nashville Predators.
If that wasn't enough, heading into tonight's game the Sharks have won nine straight. They're 9-0-1 in their last ten with their last regulation loss coming on November 9 against Phoenix (4-2).
Edmonton has won two straight games and are looking to make it three in a row for the first time since opening the season at 4-0-0. Last night was a see saw battle with the Los Angeles Kings that saw the Oilers come out of the first period with a 3-0 lead only to trail 4-3 after the second. The club came back with a goal in the third and won it in a shootout.
This is the first of four meetings this season between the Oilers and Sharks.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH: Gilbert Brule
makes his debut as an Edmonton Oiler tonight. He has eight goals and 12 points in 15 games for the Springfield Falcons in the AHL this season... Rob Schremp has impressed since being called up from Springfield last Tuesday. In two games, Schremp has three points and is +2. In the two games, he's averaged just over 14 minutes per game of ice time... Marc Pouliot has benefitted from the Schremp recall. He has three goals this season but two have come in the past two games with Schremp assisting on both.
SHARKS TO WATCH:
San Jose is an offensive juggernaut with seven players at 20 or more points this season and four players with 10 or more goals. In addition, Joe Thornton has eight goals and Dan Boyle has nine. Thornton leads the Sharks overall with 32 points in 26 games... After only 19 goals and 48 points in 78 games last season, Patrick Marleau has bounced back in a big way. He has 12 goals already through 26 games in 2008-09 and 29 points.
Edmonton – Sam Gagner
(concussion) is out. Steve MacIntyre
(orbital bone) is out; Robert Nilsson (upper body) is out; Fernando Pisani (broken ankle) is out; San Jose - Torrey Mitchell (leg) is out.
The Sharks are currently on pace for 140 points this season which would eclipse the NHL record of 132 set by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. With 45 points through 26 games, San Jose is off to the best-ever start in NHL history. The previous best was 44 set by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings. Since February 21, 2008 the Sharks have a regular season record of 40-5-3.
Friday's Post-Game Video:
Friday's Post-Game Audio:
Oilers recall Gilbert Brule
- General Manager Steve Tambellini announced Friday the Edmonton Oilers have placed left wing Robert Nilsson on the NHL Injured Reserve List and recalled centre Gilbert Brule
from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. ...more
The Other Side - From SanJoseSharks.com
- Boyle talks on the home ice advantage - Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle talks with Dan Rusanowsky about his first season in San Jose and the home ice advantage the team is enjoying this season. Heading into Saturday, the Sharks are 14-0-1 at the friendly confines of HP Pavilion. ...more
- Remenda: Telling the Hockey Story - Sharks Color Analyst Drew Remenda tackles some tough issues in his Seagate Broadcaster Blog. Coaching vs. broadcasting, Todd McLellan's opinions and Remenda's thoughts on Luke Schenn's hit on Tomas Plihal are all discussed. ...more
Odds and Ends
- The LINK: Getting to know Schremp & Deslauriers - In this episode of The Link, we get to know Oilers rookies Rob Schremp and Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers a little better. We also go Dancing for the Kids with Schoena Strudwick and talk to injured Oilers forward Steve MacIntyre. ...more
- My Five with Steve MacIntyre - Not sure which province Steve MacIntyre calls home? Well, the answer is fairly obvious once you read his Top 5 in four categories, including athletes and North American cities. ...more
- Ask an Oiler: Steve Staios answers your questions - Steve Staios recently took the time to answer questions from Oilers fans in this most recent edition of Ask an Oiler. Follow the link or click the play button above to watch the video. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
Though the San Jose Sharks boast an impressive winning streak, they aren't taking any opponent for granted - especially not the next one.
The league-leading Sharks aim for a 10th consecutive victory - and fifth straight at home - on Saturday night, when they match up against an Edmonton Oilers team that spoiled last season's franchise-record run.
Since an overtime loss to visiting Nashville on Nov. 11, San Jose (22-3-1) has reeled off nine straight victories with five in a row at HP Pavilion, including a 3-2 win against Columbus on Thursday night.
After being held off the scoresheet for the first 34:56 of the game, the Sharks recovered behind goals from captain Patrick Marleau, Jeremy Roenick and Joe Thornton to back a 29-save performance from Evgeni Nabokov, who has compiled a 2.08 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage while winning a career high-tying 10 straight outings.
But despite San Jose's success, Nabokov expects that his teammates won't become complacent as they continue their surge.
"We have to understand every game is going to get tougher," said Nabokov, who has started five consecutive contests following a seven-game absence due to injury. "It's getting closer to the middle point (of the season), and teams are going to find a way to play tougher against us."
The Sharks own their longest winning streak since the franchise-record 11-game run from Feb. 21-March 14. But they're probably wary of the Oilers, who thwarted last season's milestone stretch with a 2-1 shootout win at HP Pavilion on March 16.
Edmonton (12-11-2) has also won nine of the last 13 matchups, taking three of four in 2007-08 as Nabokov compiled a 1.45 GAA in those contests.
San Jose, though, hopes it can rely on its current success at HP Pavilion, where it is a league-best 14-0-1 and has collected at least a point in 24 consecutive games (22-0-2) since a 3-2 loss to Edmonton on Feb. 14. The Sharks are the only NHL team to have avoided a regulation defeat at home this season.
The Oilers, meanwhile, recovered after blowing a three-goal first-period lead, converting two of three attempts in the shootout for a 5-4 victory at Los Angeles on Friday.
Andrew Cogliano contributed a goal and an assist, while Denis Grebeshkov and Rob Schremp each provided two assists and Mathieu Garon won his 11th consecutive shootout to win back-to-back contests for the first time since a three-game run Oct. 12-18.
"When you're up by three goals, you're supposed to win those games," Garon said. "(Friday night) we made it harder on ourselves and put ourselves in trouble. But we bounced back, and now we know that these kind of things can happen."
Ales Hemsky, who has three goals and seven assists during a seven-game point streak, has registered 21 of his team-leading 27 points over his last 17 contests. He has five goals and seven assists in 18 career games versus San Jose.