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EDMONTON OILERS (26-27-5) at
SAN JOSE SHARKS (31-17-8)
Start Time: 8:38 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com. Game Notes | Oilers/Sharks Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics The Edmonton Oilers open a four-game road trip tonight in San Jose when they face off against the Sharks on Valentine's Day.
With a win in their last game by a score of 4 to 2 over Minnesota, and three wins in their last four outings, the Oilers have a little bit of momentum to start the trip. They are now eight points behind Colorado for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference but many of the teams between themselves and that last spot have used up their games in hand on the Oilers.
LAST GAME: Oilers 4, Wild 2
San Jose has been neck-and-neck with Dallas for first place in the Pacific Division for most of the season but four straight losses in the middle of January allowed the Stars to cruise ahead of the Sharks.
Recently, the Sharks have had more success with a 6-2-1 record in their last nine games but they have slipped to third in their division and are five points back of Dallas.
Tonight's game concludes a six-game homestand for the Sharks that has seen them go 3-1-1 through the first five games. Their most recent outing was a 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. The Sharks outshot the Flames 43-18 but a goal from Dion Phaneuf with 49.8 seconds left in regulation followed by the OT winner by Jarome Iginla with 24.9 seconds to go gave them the loss.
The Sharks head out on a season-high eight-game road trip after tonight so they will be especially motivated to get these two points at home. Just The Facts...
Pre-Game Audio... Pre-Game at San Jose: Craig MacTavish
Oilers recall Mathieu Roy - The Edmonton Oilers have recalled defenceman Mathieu Roy from the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League. ...more The Other Side Plihal making most of oportunity - Sharks Center Tomas Plihal has played in just three NHL games in four professional seasons. However, since his call up from Worcester of the American Hockey League on Jan. 28, Plihal has not missed a contest. ...more Hockey Hot Stove: Episode 21 - Sharks broadcasters Dan Rusanowsky, Randy Hahn, Drew Remenda and Jamie Baker engage in a round table discussion about Richard Zednik's injury and the current state of the Sharks. ...more Goc: Residences, Restaurants, Road Trip - My wife and I have been living in Willow Glen for two years now, renting the same place. We kept it through last summer even though we still went back to Germany. We really like the area. It seems that everything is 10 minutes away. ...more From the Fans
Click here to read tonight's gameday thread on the Oilers message board. Odds and Ends
Oilers pay visit to world's longest game - Matt Greene, Dustin Penner and Kyle Brodziak all paid a visit recently to the World's Longest Hockey Game - currently in progress near Sherwood Park. Photos ...more Get to know your Oilers - Ever wondered who your favourite Oiler would take as a partner on The Amazing Race? How about what former Oiler they would have liked to play with? We ask Stortini, Pitkanen, Greene, Glencross and Reasoner all the hard-hitting questions. ...more From the Wire
Before the San Jose Sharks embark on a season-high eight-game trip, the NHL's best road team will look to continue its recent success at home.
The Sharks look to dominate the last-place Edmonton Oilers for a second straight time when the teams meet at HP Pavilion on Thursday.
Starting Sunday, the Sharks (31-17-8) play eight straight road games - the first five against Atlantic Division teams - as they try to build on a 17-5-3 road mark that's tops in the league.
San Jose will be looking to take advantage of this trip to gain on first-place Dallas in the Pacific Division. They trail the Stars by five points, but have four games in hand.
Until recently, the Sharks had struggled at home, but they're 5-1-1 in their last seven games there, including 3-1-1 on their current six-game homestand.
On Jan. 29, San Jose handed the Oilers (26-27-5) a demoralizing 3-0 defeat in Edmonton. The Sharks outshot the Oilers 39-13, including 21-4 in the second period.
"You can say that we got outbattled but we didn't even get to the battle," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said that night. "It was a humiliating evening in virtually all of the aspects of the game."
The Sharks had a similar edge in shots Tuesday against Calgary, piling up a 43-18 advantage, but they lost 4-3 in overtime. The Flames tied the game on a 6-on-4 with just 50 seconds left, then won with 25 seconds remaining in overtime on Jarome Iginla's goal.
"The way we played tonight should have been good enough to win," Sharks winger Mike Grier said. "It's not a time for moral victories. We've got to find a way to get the two points. We've got to make plays. We have to get it straight before the playoffs. We're too good a team for that to keep happening."
San Jose had won two straight before losing to the Flames, and was playing its first game of the season without captain Patrick Marleau, who was out with a groin injury.
The Sharks' Evgeni Nabokov had just 14 saves, and has allowed seven goals on just 31 shots in his last two games. San Jose is giving up the second-fewest shots in the NHL, behind only Detroit, with 24.5 allowed per game.
"We had a lot of play in their end, and in the last few minutes, they got the puck in our end and took advantage of it," forward Jonathan Cheechoo said.
Edmonton used a similar formula to beat the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Tuesday, getting outshot 40-23 but holding a lead nearly throughout and sealing the win on two third-period goals by Kyle Brodziak.
Mathieu Garon had 38 saves for the Oilers. Garon has a 1.83 goals-against average in his last six games, going 4-2-0 over that span and making at least 32 saves four times.
"Sometimes when you have a young team, you can get panicking a little bit in your zone," Garon said. "We were giving up a lot of shots, but at the same time most of the shots were coming from the side and they were shooting from everywhere. Sometimes the shot clock doesn't really reflect the game."
Edmonton, 3-6-2 in its last 11 road games, also lost 3-0 in its most recent visit to San Jose on March 11. The Sharks outshot the Oilers 31-22, and are 3-0-1 in their last four against Edmonton overall.