"Can you defeat the Sharks with these players
or prevent them from scoring with these goaltenders?
Can you score a goal against their formidable defence,
or stop an offence that is lead by some of the best players in the league?
Are the Sharks going to be begging you for mercy?
Are they going to ask you to stop running up the score?
Maybe they'll be willing to come to some kind of agreement with you,
accepting their lot as slaves for life since they will be so afraid.
You can make a joke of them!
"Oh, it's the Sharks! What a pathetic hockey team!"
Perhaps your superior management will be able to bamboozle them in a trade;
every day Doug Wilson will be talking about how those cagey Oilers got the better of him.
Then every time you beat them on the ice,
it will sting that much more.
Get real! When you do get out there with the Sharks you're as likely to beat them
as you are of being so embarrassed that you don't want to take the ice ever again.
Any hope of subduing them is false,
even the sight of them ought to tell you that much.
And if you can't even stand against a hockey team,
then why would you blame your plight on me?
Who has a claim against Yahweh - or "the hockey gods" as you sometimes prefer -
that I must pay?
Everything on heaven and earth belongs to me and I will act as I please."
Edmonton Oilers (16-21-4) @ San Jose Sharks (26-8-7)
HP Pavilion, 8:00 PM MST
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report: The San Jose Sharks are a very good team. To be honest, I'm a bit surprised at just how good they've been. Their bottom defensive pair is really quite poor and their fourth line isn't any great shakes either (although Nichol plays consistently on the PK). In some ways this lack of depth has shown itself somewhat at EV. Although they've managed to outscore opponents 87-71, they've been outshot (1003-963) and outCorsied (1839-1789). The thing is, they've got some pretty good shooters and a goalie who's having himself a fine season. The Sharks have also supplemented this with some outstanding special teams, outscoring opponents 39-26. The lesson here is that when you have elite talent, you can sometimes overcome a lack of depth. Without elite talent, you're the Oilers (especially now that Visnovsky is out).
Edmonton Oilers (16-21-4):
Penner - Gagner - Nilsson
Jacques - Horcoff - Brule
Stone - Potulny - O'Sullivan
Moreau - Cogliano - Stortini
Souray - Gilbert
Smid - Grebeshkov
Staios - Strudwick
San Jose Sharks (26-8-7):
Heatley - Thornton - Marleau
Setoguchi - Pavelski - Clowe
Ortmeyer - Malhotra - Mitchell
McGinn - Nichol - McLaren
Blake - Vlasic
Murray - Boyle
Huskins - Demers
Behind The Numbers:
- Joe Thornton leads the league in both points with 55 and assists with 44. Thornton's lowest point total since the lockout is 86 and since 1999-00 Thornton has never scored fewer than 20 goals or 60 points. The list of players in that group is not very long. The list from 1999-00 to 2003-04 includes Jagr, Iginla, Fedorov, Naslund, Sundin and Steve Sullivan in addition to Joe Thornton. Fedorov falls off as soon as the players return from the lockout. Naslund doesn't make the points requirement in 2007-08 and Jagr leaves the same season because he decided to play in the KHL instead of Edmonton. Steve Sullivan is ousted that same year due to injury. Mats Sundin is gone the following season when he plays just half a season for the Canucks. That leaves us with two: Joe Thornton and Jarome Iginla. Both look like they'll make it again this year but I'd still take Thornton to eventually be the last man standing.
- San Jose is the only team in the league with two players among the league's top ten goal scorers. Both Dany Heatley (23 goals) and Patrick Marleau (25 goals) are very good. If they both score 50 goals, it will be the first time two teammates have scored 50 goals in the same season since 1995-96 when Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr did it with the Penguins.
- With the score "close" (within one goal in the first or second period or with the score tied in the third period) and both Thornton and Heatley on the ice, the Sharks have outscored opponents 21-8. The combination of outshooting opponents (155-146) and a superior PDO number of 106.7 create those kind of results.
- The San Jose Sharks have a fantastic penalty kill. In addition to being second in the NHL with a PK% of 87.4% they're also tied for the league lead in short-handed goals with 6. Their top PK guys on defence are Vlasic, Blake, Boyle and Murray. The forwards they're throwing out are Pavelski, Marleau, Malhotra and Nichol.