Programming note – Sharks-Oilers coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on CSN California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 31-16-2, 64 points, 1st Pacific Division
Oilers: 27-15-8, 62 points, 3rd Pacific Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***Tomas Hertl will return to the Sharks lineup for the first time since injuring his right knee on Nov. 17 in St. Louis. More on that here.
***The Sharks and Oilers are two of the hottest teams in hockey headed into their third of five head-to-head matchups tonight. San Jose has won six straight after sweeping a brief two-game road trip, while Edmonton is 6-0-1 in its last seven including a 4-0 win in Anaheim on Wednesday.
San Jose has won both games against the Oilers this season, Dec. 23 at home, 3-2 in overtime, and 5-3 in Edmonton on Jan. 10.
“They’re a dangerous, dangerous team,” Pete DeBoer said. “I think we were fortunate to win both those games. I think there were stretches in both those games it could have gone either way.”
The Sharks have a two-point lead on the Edmonton in the Pacific Division, with two games in hand. This is the final game before the All-Star break.
***San Jose will be concluding perhaps its toughest stretch of the regular season, with seven games in 11 days and eight games in 13 days. Remarkably, they’ve still managed to capture 12 out of a possible 12 points with their winning streak.
“It’s fun to put that many points in the bank in a short period of time,” Joe Pavelski said.
“We said awhile back we have seven games coming into the last 11 days, wanted to make a little push. I don’t think any of us really saw six straight wins coming, but there were some good character wins in there.”
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Mikkel Boedker. The winger recorded a hat trick in the last Sharks-Oilers meeting, helping the Sharks to a win in their first-ever game at Rogers Place earlier this month. Although he hasn’t been perfect since then – he was benched for the third period again in a game on Jan. 19 – Boedker has three assists in his last two games.
Oilers: Zack Kassian. The agitating forward, who was a bit of a troublemaker in the first Sharks-Oilers in December, brings a five-game point streak into tonight’s game (2g, 3a). The 26-year-old, who leads the Oilers with 72 penalty minutes, scored one of Edmonton’s four goals in Anaheim on Wednesday.
Melker Karlsson – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Tomas Hertl – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Chris Tierney – Ryan Carpenter
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Benoit Pouliot – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Milan Lucic – Drake Caggiula – Anton Slepyshev
Matt Hendricks – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell
Brandon Davidson – Matt Benning
Sharks: Joonas Donskoi (upper body) is day-to-day. Micheal Haley (lower body) and Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) are out.
Oilers: Darnell Nurse (ankle surgery), Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Juhjar Khaira (wrist) and Tyler Pitlick (torn ACL) are out.
“It will for sure [be] a big game. It’s a four-point game. … I want to for sure help. I want to play good, but we need to be ready for their speed.” – Tomas Hertl