Oilers v. Sharks - Deuteronomy 20:1-4

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

When you go to war against your enemies and see excellent forwards, sterling defensemen and strong goaltending, do not be afraid of them. The one true God, who brought you up from the WHA, will be with you. When you are about to leave the dressing room, the coach will come forward and address you in this way: "Look, boys! Today, you go to battle against a very good team. Don't be afraid! Don't be scared and start to panic! For God himself skates with us and against our enemies, and it is he who will give us victory!"

Edmonton Oilers @ San Jose Sharks

SAP Center, 8:30 p.m. MST
Television: Sportsnet

Visiting Team Scouting Report: The Sharks are quite clearly one of the best teams in the league. They're currently sitting second in the Pacific, but Derek's updated Power Rankings have them as the best team in that division and the third-best team in the league. They get that far up the list on the strength of excellent possession numbers and at the very least passable (and quite possibly much better than passable) goaltending. That said, it seems to me that the Sharks are going to need to add a couple of forwards to their lineup between now and the playoffs if they hope to have a top nine capable of matching with the teams in Los Angeles, Chicago, and St. Louis, all of whom have excellent depth and top-end forwards capable of matching against San Jose's top two lines. Then again, so far this season the Sharks have a 3-2-2 record in regulation and +2 goal differential against those three teams.

Expected Lineups:

Edmonton Oilers (13-24-5):

Hall - Nugent-Hopkins - Perron
Yakupov - Gagner - Eberle
Smyth - Gordon - Hemsky
Gazdic - Lander - Joensuu

Ference - J Schultz
Belov - Petry
Marincin - N Schultz

Bryzgalov

San Jose Sharks (25-9-6):

Pavelski - Thornton - Burns
Marleau - Couture - Nieto
Kennedy - Kearns - Sheppard
Hamilton - Desjardins - Brown

Braun - Vlasic
Irwin - Boyle
Demers - Stuart

Niemi

By The Numbers:

  • Nail Yakupov hasn't exactly had a great season. At this point, it seems increasingly likely that he'll end the year with less than half a point per game. The last time the first forward taken in the draft had less than half a point per game as a 20-year-old? Patrik Stefan, who scored 31 points in 66 games during his second NHL season.
  • The Canadian Olympic Team is going to be named in the next few days, and it'll be very interesting to see which Sharks (if any) make the cut. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dan Boyle have all been to the Olympics before, and are all having great seasons statistically (Thornton is 6th in league scoring, Marleau 21st, and Boyle is 25th among defensemen), while Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Logan Couture have seen their names mentioned as possible additions as well. It seems to me that the old guys are the better players (and I'd probably take all of them), the folks making the selections could surprise and take one of the younger players instead.
  • The Oilers allow a lot of goals, 3.36 per game over the course of the season. Surprisingly, that number is actually lower on the road, where they've allowed "just" 3.22 goals per game. Their -17 road goal differential is also identical to their -17 home goal differential. So... if you were to bet on it... are the Oilers getting lucky on the road or unlucky at home (or, I suppose, lucky or unlucky in both venues)?
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