|SJS||0||0||2||(0 - 0)||2|
|EDM||0||0||3||(0 - 0)||3|
GAME: San Jose Sharks (28-21-8) at Edmonton Oilers (30-21-8).
TIME: Friday, 9 p.m. EST.
The surging San Jose Sharks continue their chase of the stumbling Edmonton Oilers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference as the teams meet at Rexall Place.
The Sharks are looking for their fifth consecutive win and the Oilers are trying to avoid their fifth loss in a row.
A win in regulation would push San Jose within two points of Edmonton for eighth place in the West. Anaheim and Minnesota also are right on the heels of the stumbling Oilers.
The Sharks, though, have won only once in the last nine meetings with Edmonton, including shootout losses in both matchups this season.
San Jose's latest game wasn't nearly as close, scoring a franchise-record five power-play goals in a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Joe Thornton had a goal and three assists in the team's first contest after the Olympic break.
"(Tuesday) was kind of an anomaly," Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. "You're not going to threaten teams with five power-play goals. Since we picked up Joe, though, we've had one of the most dangerous power plays in the league."
San Jose has converted 21.5 percent of its power-play chances since the blockbuster deal to acquire Thornton from the Boston Bruins on Nov. 30, second-best in that span behind Detroit (22.1). Before the deal, the Sharks were tied for 26th in the league at 14 percent.
Thornton leads the NHL with 63 assists and is second with 85 points this season. The former first overall pick in the 1997 draft also has been a big boost to linemate Jonathan Cheechoo, who already has set career highs with 35 goals and 24 assists.
The third-year winger has 44 points in 33 games since Thornton was acquired, compared to 15 in 24 contests before the trade.
The Oilers are looking for their fourth consecutive win over the Sharks, which would be the longest winning streak in the series since Edmonton took six in a row from April 1992-February 1993.
"I'm embarrassed for all of us," said Morrison, who allowed one goal on two shots. "It's tough to swallow."
The Oilers have been outscored 20-11 during their four-game skid as both Markkanen and Morrison have had trouble in goal with a combined .804 save percentage.
STANDINGS: Sharks - 64 points, 4th place, 15 PB, Pacific Division. Oilers - 68 points, 4th place, 7 PB, Northwest Division.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Sharks - Power play: 18.5 percent (65 for 352), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 80.7 percent (230 for 285), 23rd. Oilers - Power play: 17.9 percent (67 for 375), 17th (tied). Penalty killing: 82.9 percent (300 for 362), 14th.
GOALTENDERS: Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov (14-15-6, 1 SO, 2.95 GAA); Vesa Toskala (9-5-2, 2.99). Oilers - Markkanen (15-12-6, 3.13); Morrison (10-4-1, 2.83).
SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 2-0.
LAST MEETING: Jan. 19; Oilers, 3-2, SO. At San Jose, Calif., Morrison made 27 saves in the game, then stopped Thornton and Patrick Marleau in the shootout.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Sharks - 11-14-3 on the road; Oilers - 13-12-4 at home.