Edmonton Oilers (18-16-3) (6th, Pacific)
San Jose Sharks (20-12-4) (2nd, Pacific)
2 PM MST
TV: Sportsnet West
Radio: 630 CHED
FOUR ON THE FLOOR
The Edmonton Oilers are now winless in their last four consecutive games. The latest contest saw them drop a 4-2 contest to the Vancouver Canucks (sound familiar?). The bright side? Connor McDavid had a couple of points, Ryan Nuget-Hopkins had a goal, so did Leon. The bad? Vancouver tallied all four goals in the first period, and that’s all they needed. Edmonton had a couple of power play goals, but were forced to play catch-up throughout the game.
The Oilers look to stop the bleeding this afternoon as the Sharks visit town. Can the Oilers stop the bleeding and put up two points?
Let’s go to the tape.
The Oilers are saying
“We got smacked right in the face with injuries to the wrong spot and we couldn’t absorb it, and now we’re trying to fight out of it...It’s helped us see that a Caleb Jones is emerging, and it’s helped us see Darnell Nurse try to get to another level. There’s been some adversity, and we’ve suffered some pains for that, but it’s helped us...
I like our attitude, I like where we’re going, I like our work, and I know it doesn’t show up on the scoreboard but I’ve seen it way worse than this. This is a pretty resilient group that wants to get better, so to me as long as they want to get better, we will get better. The minute they start losing hope or become fragile, then that’s when we’re really in trouble.”
That’s Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock on his club’s last four games.
I don’t think the club is “fragile” either. When the club’s top scorers don’t score, the club’s in trouble because they can’t depend on the other six. If Mikko Koskinen doesn’t turn away 34 of 35 total shots, things really get wacky.
The Sharks are saying
“I think we have a great team in there no matter who we’re missing”
That’s Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson on how the team responded to him serving a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the Kings’ Auston Wagner.
Respond, they did. They defeated the Anaheim Ducks by a 4-2 margin on Thursday. Barclay Goodrow had three assists, while Brent Burns had a goal in his 1000th career game.
HAVE SOME OF THIS
- Kailer Yamamoto is back. The first round selection from the 2017 NHL Entry Draft was called up after Alex Chiasson headed to the IR a leg suffered in Edmonton’s 4-2 loss to Vancouver. Yamamoto has eight points (4-4-8) in eleven games in Bakersfield this season. In twelve games with this year’s Oilers, Yamamoto has a goal and an assist. Yamamoto will probably replace Chiasson in the lineup for the time.
- Connor McDavid (54 points) is now chasing Nikita Kucherov (61 points) of the Tampa Bay Lightning for this year’s scoring title. No sweat for the recently-named All-Star Captain.
- Both Logan Couture and Brent Burns lead the Sharks in scoring with 36 points each. The Sharks are eighth overall in team scoring (3.28 GPG). They’re right in the middle of things when it comes to goals allowed per game (2.92 GAA)
- Valentin Zykov was claimed by Vegas today at noon eastern.
- NET GAINS: Look for Cam Talbot (7-10-2, .896 SV% / 3.11) to get the nod tonight for the Oilers. Talbot was called on to replace Mikko Koskinen after Koskinen suffered a rough start. The Sharks are expected to go with Martin Jones (15-8-4, .899 SV% / 2.83 GAA / 1 SO).
- SICK BAY: The Oilers will be without Andrej Sekera (ankle), Alex Chiasson (leg) and Oscar Klefbom (finger). Kris Russell may go today.
Lines at Oilers practice:— Daniel Nugent-Bowman (@DNBsports) December 28, 2018