Series (Game 2 of 4)

San Jose leads 3-1

Game 1: Friday, November 27th
Game 2: Saturday, January 2nd
Game 3: Saturday, January 16th
Game 4: Sunday, March 21st

Oilers 1

(16-22-4, 36 pts)

Sharks 4

(27-8-7, 61 pts)

Coverage: CBC

10:00 PM ET, January 2, 2010

SAP Center, San Jose, California

1 2 3 T
EDM 0 1 01
SJ 2 2 04

D. Murray (Sharks - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

P. Marleau (Sharks - C): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

T. Mitchell (Sharks - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Oilers-Sharks Preview


The NHL-leading San Jose Sharks have already proven that they're certainly not "a dumb team." Edmonton Oilers coach Pat Quinn, however, appears to think his club is displaying those tendencies.

The Sharks are looking to extend their winning streak to eight games Saturday night and a visit from the Western Conference-worst Oilers may help.

San Jose (26-8-7) is atop the NHL's overall standings after winning its first Presidents' Trophy last season, only to be upset by eighth-seeded Anaheim in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Sharks continued their stellar play with Thursday's 3-2 shootout win at Phoenix, ending the Coyotes' franchise-record, 10-game home winning streak.

San Jose's seven-game streak is its longest since a nine-game run Nov. 13-Dec. 4, 2008, but coach Todd McLellan is more pleased with his team's mentality.

"This was a prime example of gutting out a victory," McLellan said. "We challenged our team (Thursday). We wanted to find out how tough we were mentally, how tough we were when things are not going our way with travel and we're not feeling well."

This is the opener of a four-game homestand for the Sharks, who are 12-2-5 at HP Pavilion, outscoring opponents 17-7 during four straight wins there.

The Oilers (16-21-4), meanwhile, have dropped eight of nine while failing to score more than three goals in each contest.

They fell again Thursday, losing 2-1 at Calgary while being outshot 39-22. That listless performance drew the ire of Quinn, who wasn't happy Edmonton managed only six second-period shots on backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney.

"We don't even test their goaltender in the second period," Quinn said. "We didn't even challenge anywhere because we never got in their end. That's a sign of a dumb team."

While Quinn isn't happy with his team's offensive play, he appears to be content with Jeff Deslauriers, who made 37 saves against the Flames and has inherited the No. 1 role with Nikolai Khabibulin sidelined with a back injury.

"He did a great job," Quinn said of the second-year goaltender. "He was sharp all night long, kept us in the game."

Deslauriers, however, has won only once in eight starts with a 3.16 goals-against average after posting a 1.94 GAA during a personal five-game winning streak.

He lost his only start against San Jose on Nov. 27, stopping 27 shots through overtime before losing 5-4 in a shootout.

The Sharks have won four in a row against the Oilers, but are 3-3-3 in the last nine home meetings.

San Jose leads the West with 138 goals, with its top line of Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau combining for 59.

Marleau has seven goals in the last three games against Edmonton, including a hat trick last month with Thornton -- the league leader with 55 points -- assisting on each goal.

The Sharks will likely have Evgeni Nabokov in net after he was rested in favor of backup Thomas Greiss, who made 34 saves Thursday.

Nabokov has won six straight starts with a 1.81 GAA and has allowed more than two goals in a game only once in his last 11 appearances.

He has a 1.96 GAA during a four-game win streak against Edmonton.

The Oilers could be without defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who left Thursday's game with a foot injury after blocking a shot from Jarome Iginla. Visnovsky is second on the team with 26 points.