In the Crease: Sharks host last place Oilers

In the Crease: McLellan disappointed with lack of focus

In the Crease: Sharks host last place Oilers
January 2, 2014, 10:00 am
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San Jose claimed a 3-1 win in Edmonton on Nov. 15, behind a goal and assist from Patrick Marleau. (AP)

Programming note: Sharks-Oilers coverage gets underway at 7 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live, only on Comcast SportsNet California

Where they stand
Sharks: 25-9-6, 56 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 4th Western Conference
Oilers: 13-24-5, 31 points, 7th Pacific Division, 14th Western Conference

Vitals
Sharks
Goals per game: 3.12 (4th)
Goals-against per game: 2.48 (10th)
Power play: 19.1 percent (11th)
Penalty kill: 81.9 percent (15th)

Oilers
Goals per game: 2.55 (19h)
Goals-against per game: 3.36 (30th)
Power play: 17.8 percent (18th)
Penalty kill: 80.3 percent (21st)

[NEWS: Sharks' Hertl out six to nine months after sugery]

Probable lines
Sharks
Joe Pavelski – Joe Thornton – Brent Burns
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Matt Nieto
Tyler Kennedy – Bracken Kearns – James Sheppard
Freddie Hamilton – Andrew Desjardins – Mike Brown

Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Matt Irwin – Dan Boyle
Brad Stuart – Jason Demers

Antti Niemi
Alex Stalock

Oilers
Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – David Perron
Roman Horak – Sam Gagner – Jordan Eberle
Ryan Smyth – Boyd Gordon – Ales Hemsky
Luke Gazdic – Anton Lander – Jesse Joensuu

Andrew Ference – Justin Schultz
Anton Belov – Jeff Petry
Martin Marincin – Nick Schultz

Devan Dubnyk
Ilya Bryzgalov

[RELATED: McLellan repeats powerful message as Sharks host Oilers]

The latest
Sharks: The Sharks allowed four unanswered goals in losing to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday, 6-3, ending their four-game winning streak. Logan Couture’s second goal in as many games tied the game at 2-2 in the second period, but Anaheim took over from there, scoring twice before the intermission and adding two more early in the third. Antti Niemi allowed five goals, and was pulled for the third time this season. After tonight, the Sharks begin a three-game road trip on Saturday in Colorado.

Oilers: Edmonton lost in Phoenix with seven seconds to go in overtime on Tuesday, 4-3. Taylor Hall had three assists and David Perron added a goal and an assist, but the Oilers surrendered a 3-1 second period lead in the defeat. Sitting in last place in the Western Conference, Edmonton is 2-6-2 in its last 10 games.

Keep an eye on…
Sharks: Bracken Kearns. The 32-year-old scored his second goal in as many games, and second of his career, on the power play against Anaheim on Tuesday. It was a bit of a surprise to see Kearns on the power play, but perhaps he can become a regular contributor, at least while several Sharks are on the shelf battling various injuries.

Oilers: Taylor Hall. The young star has has registered three multi-point games in his last five games, for a total of eight points (2g, 6a). He is coming off a three-assist effort against Phoenix, and has five points (1g, 4a) in his last two games. The Oilers' team leader in scoring with 38 points, Hall has five goals in 12 career games vs. San Jose.

Injuries/Scratches
Sharks: Tomas Hertl (right knee), Marty Havlat (lower body), Raffi Torres (right ACL surgery), and Adam Burish (back surgery) are out. Tommy Wingels (head into boards) is doubtful.

Oilers: Ryan Hamilton (knee), Tyler Pitlick (knee), Richard Bachman (groin), Mark Arcobello (ribs), Ryan Jones (head), Corey Potter (groin) and Philip Larsen (illness) are out.

Season/All-Time series
This is the second of five games between the Sharks and Oilers. San Jose claimed a 3-1 win at Rexall Place on Nov. 15, behind a goal and assist from Patrick Marleau.

The Sharks return to Edmonton on Jan. 29 and March 25. The Oilers play again at SAP Center on April 1.

Quoteable
“The second period we were awful. That was one of the worst periods of our season, if not the worst. It’s disappointing, because we wanted to beat these guys in their building. We’re going to have to at some point this year. Remember what we did wrong, move on, and get ready for the next game.” Logan Couture, after the 6-3 loss in Anaheim on Tuesday

Burning question
As a team, what should the Sharks’ New Year’s resolution be?

Leave your answer in the comments section below.