Little has gone wrong for the San Jose Sharks through the first half of the season. That is until their most recent string of road games.
The Western Conference-leading Sharks look to avoid a third straight loss away from home when they continue their tour through western Canada on Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
At 19-0-2, San Jose owns the NHL’s best home record, and also has played well on the road, going 10-5-3, but has struggled of late away from HP Pavilion.
The Sharks, who lead the West with 63 points, lost 5-2 at Calgary on Tuesday for their second straight road loss while falling to 1-2-3 away from home since winning five in a row there.
“We need to challenge ourselves on the road,” All-Star defenseman Dan Boyle told the Sharks’ official Web site.
San Jose, which has not lost consecutive games in regulation this season, concludes its swing through western Canada on Saturday at Vancouver.
Mike Grier scored and Ryane Clowe posted his 17th goal and second in as many games in the second period against Calgary. Evgeni Nabokov was pulled after allowing four goals on 18 shots for the Sharks, who trailed 3-0 after one period.
“We’re all here together and I’ll take full responsibility,” said Nabokov, who is 21-4-4 with a 2.55 goals-against average this season and has lost three in a row versus Edmonton. “I should have given them a chance to keep it close and it wasn’t close.”
The Sharks have been outscored 20-10 over their last six road contests.
“We look at how we play and if we do what we say before the game, we will be fine,” Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said. “The last couple of road games, we haven’t accomplished what we want.”
Joe Thornton had his six-game scoring streak snapped Tuesday. The All-Star forward and team leading scorer has gone without a point in four straight games versus Edmonton, including the Sharks’ 3-2 overtime home loss to the Oilers on Dec. 6 in the teams’ only previous meeting this season.
The Oilers (19-17-3) fell to 2-1 on their five-game homestand with a 4-2 loss to Vancouver on Wednesday. Robert Nilsson and Erik Cole each scored for Edmonton, which has lost three of five since winning three in a row.
Dwayne Roloson made 18 saves and allowed three second-period goals for the Oilers while falling to 11-7-3 with a 2.62 GAA on the season.
“It was tough to have a couple little breakdowns get you bang, bang like that,” Edmonton’s All-Star defenseman Sheldon Souray said. “That definitely changed the momentum.”
Dustin Penner had a goal with an assist against the Sharks last month for his most recent multi-point contest. Roloson, meanwhile, made 41 saves in that contest and is 11-9-0 with three ties and a 2.93 GAA in his career versus San Jose.
The Oilers have won the last three meetings between the teams, all coming in San Jose. The Sharks are 2-0-1 since losing three in a row at Edmonton.