You, O God, are our king for all time,
you bring salvation to your chosen team and hope for the future.
It was you who broke open the NHL for Edmonton, your chosen,
and smashed the heads of those owners who were opposed to the merger.
And now will you not also help us to crush the Sharks,
and feed their remains to desert dogs.
San Jose Sharks (43-18-10) @ Edmonton Oilers (22-42-7)
Rexall Place, 6:00 P.M. MDT
Television: Sportsnet West
More analysis after the jump...
Visiting Team Scouting Report:
The Sharks have been in the tank (Yes!) since the Olympic break ended and are now actually in danger of losing the division to the Phoenix Coyotes who have won eight games in a row. The last game of the season is a home contest against the Coyotes and could end up being a battle for the division crown. The Coyotes and Sharks are very close in terms of shot differential per game (Phoenix is at +0.6 and San Jose is at +0.9) and both teams have relied on good goaltending. I've actually been surprised at how good the Sharks' record has been this year (I didn't pick them to win the division, but I also sure didn't pick Phoenix; curse you Anaheim!) given the weak defenders at the bottom of the roster. The question becomes, can they continue riding their goaltending, and if recent performance is any indication, the answer would seem to be "no."
Edmonton Oilers (22-42-7):
Moreau - Horcoff - Pisani
Pouliot - Gagner - Nilsson
Penner - Cogliano - Brule
Comrie - Potulny - Stortini
Gilbert - Whitney
Strudwick - Chorney
Johnson - Peckham
San Jose Sharks (43-18-10)
Heatley - Thornton - Marleau
Setoguchi - Pavelski - Clowe
Couture - Malhotra - Mitchell
McGinn - Nichol - Staubitz
Boyle - Murray
Blake - Huskins
Wallin - Leach
Behind the Numbers:
- Devan Dubnyk got his first NHL win in his last start against the Red Wings and will now get two consecutive starts for the third time in his NHL career. If he wins tonight he'll get a third straight start for the first time in the NHL.
- Patrick Marleau's 41 goals are good for fourth in the league and only four goals behind current leaders Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby. A Rocket Richard Trophy sure would look nice for Marleau who's a free agent at the end of the season.
- There are two teams in the NHL with three of the top fifteen scorers. One is the Sharks (Thornton, Marleau, Heatley) and the other is the Washington Capitals (Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin).
- You may have noticed on the side-bar that the Oilers'
magictragic number sits at 10. That means they need to lose ten points (either through Oiler losses or 29th place team wins) before they've officially clinched last place overall.