The San Jose Sharks will host the Edmonton Oilers tonight for the first time in almost two months, with the bad guys taking home a tough 5-3 win in the last contest. Four different Oilers had two point games and goaltender Martin Jones had a rough outing, stopping only 21 of 25 shots.
The Sharks enter tonight sitting second place in the Pacific Division with a record of 28-18-8, whereas the Oilers are currently sixth place in the Pacific Division with a record of 23-26-4.
San Jose is currently riding a two game losing streak and coming off a tough 5-3 loss against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night. Marc-Andre Fleury was a huge part of the win, stopping 35 of 38 shots and four different players on the Golden Knights’ had two point nights.
The Sharks keep sliding down the standings since the Joe Thornton injury and are now 2-4-1 since he went down. San Jose has given up 23 goals in the seven games but has only managed to score 18 goals.
The Oilers are also riding a two game losing streak and are coming off a tough 3-2 loss against the Anaheim Ducks last night. Edmonton has been the disappointment of the NHL so far this year and are now 1-2-1 in their last four games. Connor McDavid remains the only bright spot of the Oilers season to date, recording 22 goals and 42 points for 64 points in 52 games.
The good news for Sharks fans is that San Jose still holds one of the best home records in the entire NHL going 14-8-3 through the first 25 games. Edmonton thankfully has an awful 11-13-2 away record going through the first 26 games.
Can the Sharks reset in the midst of a slump?
San Jose continues to struggle without the heart of the team in Joe Thornton and will look to find their game tonight against one of the league’s worst teams in the Edmonton Oilers. The Sharks have currently lost two games in a row being outscored by four goals within the games and are currently 2-4-2 in their last eight games. The Sharks will need to get an early start and build off the home crowd energy in order to win tonight.
Can the Sharks capitalize on the Oilers playing back-to-back?
The Oilers are entering tonight playing four games within the last six days and also coming off a game last night. The Sharks not only are getting one of the bottom teams in the league, but they are also playing a team who has played two games within 24 hours and will need to capitalize off that.
Can the big boys continue their hot streak?
The Sharks have missed Joe Thornton in the past couple of weeks and have been thankful the usual suspects, including Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Brent Burns, have done everything they have to keep this team’s offense alive. Burns has five points in five games while Couture and Pavelski both have three points in five games, creating a solid leadership group in this team with the absence of Jumbo Joe.
Bold Prediction: The Sharks will come out strong and beat the Oilers 5-2. Couture and Labanc will have five points combined between them and Brent Burns will chip in with two goals.
Check out the gamethread for lines and an open game discussion.