San Jose Sharks Face Familiar Foe For First Time


The San Jose Sharks are a reeling team at the moment as they’ve lost four straight games, including last night’s 4-2 game against the Calgary Flames. Ever since their perfect six-game road trip, the Sharks have dropped five of their past six games as they now find themselves in a dog fight within the mediocre Pacific Division.

San Jose is back on the ice tonight in Edmonton where they will face a familiar opponent. This will be the first time the Sharks square off against their former bench boss in Todd McLellan. As many of you are aware, McLellan and the Sharks “mutually agreed to part ways” this summer after spending seven seasons in San Jose.

After a rough start to his tenure in Edmonton, McLellan and the Oilers have begun to turn things around of late. Edmonton has won their past three games and are only four points behind San Jose for second place in the Pacific.

The Sharks will have to be on top of their game tonight as the upstart Oilers will be looking to win one for their new coach against his former club.

Players to Watch

More from Sharks News

Sharks: Joe Pavelski. When things go bad, it’s up to your leaders to be at their best. Pavelski leads the Sharks with 12 goals and 13 assists on the season, but he’s been a minus-four player in his last five games. San Jose will need a big effort from Pavelski to help guide them out of their recent funk.

Oilers: Leon Draisaitl. When Connor McDavid went down with an injury, Draisaitl joined the club and has been a solid contributor with Edmonton. The 20-year-old center was a 2014 first-round pick (third overall) of the Oilers, and he is currently second on the team with eight goals, 12 assists and 20 points, while being a plus-eight in 18 games. He’s a name that Sharks fans need to be aware of tonight.

Keys to the Game

1. Martin Jones

The San Jose netminder had a rough outing in Calgary last night being pulled after allowing three goals on 14 shots, including another goal that was disallowed. To be fair, his defense did him no favors, but Jones will be relied upon with the Sharks playing for the second consecutive night. Through 22 games, Jones has posted good numbers with a 2.28 GAA and a .920 save percentage, and he should be busy between the pipes as you can expect the Oilers to come after the Sharks early.

2. Defense

Speaking of the defense, San Jose was flat out terrible in their own zone last night allowing numerous odd-man rushes and taking a season-high eight penalties. The Sharks have been otuscored 14-6 during their current losing streak as they’ve seen the puck head into their net way too often. San Jose is clearly missing Marc-Edouard Vlasic, who is still out with a lower-body injury, but it’s time for the rest of the blue line to step up and limit the time and space for their opponents.

3. Play With Emotion

As mentioned earlier, this should be an emotional matchup with the Sharks players taking on their former head coach. The Oilers want to win this one for McLellan while extending their winning streak, while San Jose is looking to snap a streak of their own. The Sharks will need to match the intensity of Edmonton in the early going and make sure they’re engaged in the game from the get-go, otherwise this could be another long night for the boys in teal.

Next: Sharks Treading Water In Pacific Division Standings


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