San Jose Sharks at Edmonton Oilers – March 12, 2012
This is the last meeting between these two teams this season.San Joseis 2-6-2 in their last ten, while Edmonton is 4-5-1, but the Sharks have a 10-2-0 record against the Oilers in their past twelve games. The Oilers lead the season series 2-1; both wins have been ones that took shootouts to decide. Six days ago, Edmonton beat San Jose 3-2 thanks to Sam Gagner’s shootout goal.
San Jose has yet to win this month, and Edmonton’s only victory in March was the one against the Sharks last week. The Sharks currently sit 10th in the Western Conference – one point out of the eighth playoff spot – while Edmonton is still eight points ahead of the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets, sticking them in 14th place in the West.
The Oilers are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Since no Oilers were able to score in the shootout, the decision was dropped to the Avs, leaving Edmonton with – remember – just one win this month. Playing harder against teams who are still hunting and fighting for a playoff spot is something Edmonton has to work on, and Taylor Hall acknowledged this:
“It was good to at least salvage a point,” he said. “You can definitely tell these teams are in a playoff race. They know their life depends on every point that they get. When we play these teams, we have to be extra motivated.”
Besides Ben Eager, who’s been out with the flu for the last little while and is questionable tonight, Edmonton is icing a healthy lineup for tonight’s game. Devan Dubnyk is 3-0-0 with a 1.58 GAA against San Jose and was a big part of their last game – he made 28 saves and stopped all of the shots in the shootout.
The Oilers are looking forward to doing the best they can for the rest of the regular season, now that they’re out of the playoffs for the sixth time since the lockout. Edmonton captain Shawn Horcoff weighed in:
“We’re a proud team and we want to finish strong,” he said. “Listen, you have to find motivation this time of year when you’re in the situation we are (in). You have to find ways to motivate yourself and the team, otherwise it can get pretty ugly, pretty quick. We’ve been through that before and we’re not going to let it happen again.”
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