Oilers-Sharks Preview

The Associated Press

After blowing back-to-back third-period leads in losses, the San Jose Sharks' confidence has been restored by a comeback victory of their own.

The Sharks look to build on the impressive win Saturday night when they host the struggling Edmonton Oilers in their first meeting of the season.

In the opener of a six-game homestand Thursday against Colorado, Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture scored in a 4:29 span of the third period to help San Jose (16-10-3) overcome a two-goal deficit and win 5-4. Ryane Clowe and Michal Handzus also scored for the Sharks, who snapped a three-game skid.

Two days earlier in Colorado, the Sharks, 3-5-2 since Nov. 26, blew a third-period lead and ended up losing 4-3 in a shootout. That came two days after a 3-2 overtime loss to Chicago, which scored the game-tying goal with 1:06 remaining in the third period.

"It finally paid off," captain Joe Thornton said. "Things have not been going our way but it was only a matter of time before it shifted our way.''

Although the Sharks got the win, their special teams again struggled, going 0 for 3 with the extra man and killing one of three penalties. San Jose has converted 6.7 percent of its power-play chances (2 for 30) in its last 10 games and is killing 61.9 percent of its short-handed situations (13 of 21) in the last seven contests.

"We have to work better as a four-man unit,'' Patrick Marleau said. "We need to get the clears when we can."

The Oilers (14-14-3) have been enjoying some success with their special teams lately. In the last three games, they're 4 for 12 on the power play and have killed 12 of 13 penalties. That's only amounted to one win, however, and Edmonton is 2-6-1 in its last nine contests.

The Oilers haven't enjoyed much success against San Jose, either, with the Sharks taking three of four meetings each of the last three seasons. Thornton has two goals and 14 assists during an eight-game point streak against the Oilers, while Pavelski had two goals and two assists against them last season.

Edmonton arrives in San Jose to conclude a three-game trip coming off Thursday's disappointing 4-2 loss to Phoenix. The Oilers were hoping to be the aggressor with four days off and with the Coyotes playing the night before, but Edmonton was outshot 42-20.

"I don't think we were an engaged 18 skaters as we had to be,'' Oilers coach Tom Renney said.

Taylor Hall had an encouraging performance, scoring twice after missing seven games with a left shoulder injury. But Edmonton could not capitalize after his second goal at 6:11 of the third period tied the score at 2.

"When we needed to come out and ride the momentum after a goal, it just seemed like they pushed more than we wanted to go,'' Oilers forward Ryan Jones said. "It's just something that we have to fix in the locker room.''

Nikolai Khabibulin could be back in goal after being off since last Friday for some extra rest. He has allowed two goals or fewer in four of his last five starts, going 2-2-1 with a 2.19 goals-against average, but posted a 4.06 GAA in losing his two starts against the Sharks last season.

San Jose's Antti Niemi, 3-4-2 with a 2.53 GAA since Nov. 26, stopped 16 shots in his lone career start against the Oilers on Oct. 14, 2009, a 4-3 victory for Chicago.

What to Read Next