San Jose has split their first two meetings against former coach Todd McLellan this season.
The San Jose Sharks are right back on the ice tonight following last night’s stellar performance from Martin Jones who stole the show for team teal. After his career-high 47 saves, Jones earmed the night off as James Reimer checks in between the pipes as the Sharks get ready to take on the Edmonton Oilers for the third time this season.
With the Kings and Ducks idle, San Jose needs to take advantage and secure two points if they want to push both teams down the stretch. The Sharks continue their strong play on the road this year as their 24 victories away from home ice leads the entire NHL.
Meanwhile, it’s been a rough first season for Todd McLellan in Edmonton, although they’ve picked themselves up a bit of late. The Oilers have rattled off four wins in their last five contests as they attempt to pull out of the cellar in the Pacific Division.
The two teams have split their earlier meetings this season with Edmonton securing a 4-3 overtime victory back on Dec. 9, which also came in a back-to-back setting following a game in Calgary, while San Jose downed the Oilers in the shootout at SAP Center on Jan. 14.
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Sharks: Brent Burns. Besides Jones, Burns was probably the best player on the ice for San Jose as he picked up a Gordie Howe hat trick last night. He scored for the fourth consecutive contest which is a new record for Sharks blue liners and set up Joe Pavelski’s game-winning goal. Burns ranks third on San Jose with 59 points, and he has been a plus-13 since the beginning of January.
Oilers: Taylor Hall. While all the hoopla in Edmonton has centered around promising rookie Connor McDavid, Hall has quietly had a very good season for the Oilers. Hall leads Edmonton with 22 goals, 35 assists and 57 points. He’s put together his speed and skill, including the game-winning overtime goal to beat the Sharks the last time team teal was in Edmonton.
Keys to the Game
1. Stay Out of the Box
Over the past two contests, San Jose has allowed 14 power play opportunities, giving up four goals in those situations. That’s way too much time being spent killing off penalties for a group that is average in that particular department. The Sharks need to stay out of the box in front of Reimer tonight and not allow Edmonton’s young guns to get it going.
2. Get The Offense Going
The Sharks really struggled to get much of anything going last night, registering only 11 shots through the first 40 minutes including just four in the middle frame. Part of that was due to their abundance of penalties, but San Jose didn’t have the puck for much of the night. Team teal needs to get back to possessing the puck and wearing teams down in the offensive zone to help generate multiple scoring chances.
3. Sweep The Back-to-Back
Earlier this season, San Jose was swept on the Alberta back-to-back so the Sharks have a chance to return the favor tonight. Again, two points would be huge for team teal if they want to have any shot of chasing down their Southern California brethren in the Pacific race.
TV: CSN-California (6:00 p.m. PST)
Radio: 98.5 KFOX