Edmonton Oilers (24-25-5) (5th, Pacific)
San Jose Sharks (32-16-7) (2nd, Pacific)
500 PM MST
TV: Sportsnet, Sportsnet 360
Radio: 630 CHED
A NEW STREAK BEGINS AT ONE
The Oilers put a bandage on their six game winless streak with a victory over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. The Oilers picked up goals from Darnell Nurse, Ty Rattie, Leon Draisaitl and Zack Kassian had an empty netter. Connor McDavid had two assists on the night, and Cam Talbot had 35 saves en route to the win. The Oilers needed to start picking up points about seven games ago, but they’ll take two against MInnesota to remain relevant in the wild card chase. A win today (with help) can put the Oilers in a tie for the second wild card position. Can they pick up two points against a powerful Sharks club?
Let’s go to the tape.
The Oilers are saying
“...This is every night he gives us a chance to win. I thought the guys played hard for him and he played hard for them. He’s got a little bit of confidence going right now, so that’s a good sign.”
That’s Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock on Cam Talbot’s 35 save performance in Thursday’s 4-1 win over Minnesota.
Goaltending’s been somewhat of a mystery as of late. Hitchcock is looking for a goaltender to string some wins together, and it would probably be the most Oilers-y thing in the world for the goalie who’s not going to be here next season to start doing it. Talbot is projected to be a UFA at season’s end. The trade deadline comes in two weeks. Mikko Koskinen is signed through 2021-22 at 4.5MM a year. Everything is normal.
The Sharks are saying
“We know where they are (Flames), and they know where we are. It’s going to be a fight right to the finish to see who is going to get first in the division. It’s a good step for us to be where we are. We’ve still got to hunt them down though. Lots of hockey left.”
That’s Sharks forward Joe Thornton on San Jose picking up a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Thursday night.
With just over 25 games remaining in the season, the Flames are atop the Pacific with 73 points. San Jose is right behind them with 71.
HAVE SOME OF THIS
Oh, have a look at the Pacific Division today. There’s plenty to see. The Oilers have the ability to fit right into a tie for that second wild card spot today with a win over the Sharks. They need a little help though.
- The Blues have to lose in regulation to Nashville.
- The Flames have to handle the Canucks in regulation
- The Islanders must defeat the Avalanche in regulation
- Did I mention that the Oilers need to win today as well? See, no sweat. Good things will happen if the club can string some wins together. Today’s a good day to make it two in a row.
- NET GAINS: Cam Talbot played out of his mind on Thursday against the Wild, I’ve got him going for the Oilers tonight (10-14-3, .895 SV% / 3.30 GAA / 1 SO). Martin Jones is the likely candidate for the Sharks in net tonight (26-10-4, .899 SV% / 2.90 GAA / 1 SO).
- Jones has a fairly unimpressive SV% this year (hovering around .900 on the Sharks isn’t any blinding hell), but the Sharks are taking the pressure off their goalie by scoring. The Sharks are currently third in the league in goals scored, averaging 3.6 per game. That’s very good. The Sharks allow 3.09 goals per game on average, which is good for 19th in the league. Score more goals than your opponents, win more games. Back to you, Jim.
- Connor McDavid scored two points in Thursday’s victory over the Wild, good for points 79 and 80 in his season. I don’t think he’s going to have much trouble hitting 100 again this year, but it’s worth nothing that he’s exactly one point behind Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov (81) on the year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him atop the league in points by this time next week.
- SICK BAY: The Oilers do not have any injuries at this time. Andrej Sekera remains in Bakersfield on a conditioning stint for the time. For the Sharks, Erik Karlsson is day-to-day with a lower body injury.