Welcome back Mr. Lander. - John Grieshop
The Oilers head into San Jose tonight to take on the Sharks. The puck hasn't even dropped yet and already things look ugly for the visitors.
Last week the Sharks demolished the Oilers in their home opener. The final score was 6-3 but that score is very flattering for the Oilers since the Sharks were up 6-1 after the first period and only played the last two periods because they had too. The second and third periods saw the Oilers get better results but when the team you're playing against is simply going through the motions that is a hollow achievement to say the least.
Tonight the Oilers are of course hoping for a better effort and a better result tonight but they're already in a tough spot playing their second game in two nights and now will be doing so without Shawn Horcoff and possibly Lennart Petrell as well. To make matters worse they might be starting Nikolai Khabibulin tonight who, as dawgbone so eliquently puts it, is an "aging veteran goalie who has a history of injuries. He hasn’t played in over 9 months, suffered an injury in camp and started out on the IR." If you're an Oilers fan that's got to make you feel good.
Oilers Report: The Oilers play on back-to-back nights for the first time this season and of course it happens to coincide with the first time the team has a couple of injury issues. Or at least injuries that matter, not ones involving Ben Eager or Nikolai Khabibulin. As mentioned above, Shawn Horcoff, also know as the only centre the Sharks didn't eat alive last week, won't play tonight; Anton Lander has been recalled to fill in for him. To make room for Lander the Oilers had to send Magnus Paajarvi to Oklahoma City. Paajarvi is essentially the odd man out because the Oilers are carrying two number seven defenceman - Corey Potter and Theo Peckham - and Darcy Hordichuk as well. Effectively they have a 21 man roster.
Crazy roster decisions aside, the Oilers likely would have preferred to keep Paajarvi around and just moved Lennart Petrell into the middle of the fourth line between Teemu Hartikainen and Darcy Hordichuk. Unfortunately Petrell was nicked in the third period against the Coyotes as well and is no better than a game time decision at this point so the choice was all but made for them. The Oilers will skate seven defencemen in the warmup just in case Petrell can't go tonight.
Sharks Report: San Jose has gotten off to a great start this season and is the last team in the NHL with a perfect record. The Sharks currently sit atop the Pacific Division standings (but not the Western Conference because the Black Hawks have played extra additional game) with a record of 6-0-0 and league best +15 goal differential. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton have been almost unstoppable this season with a comined 12 goals and 28 points in just six games.
Expected Line Combinations
Nail Yakupov - -
Eric Belanger - Lennart Petrell-
Darcy Hordichuk- Anton Lander -
Scratches: Theo Peckham, Corey Potter, Shawn Horcoff
By The Numbers