Programming note – Sharks-Oilers coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on NBC Sports California
WHERE THEY STAND
Sharks: 45-28-7, 97 points, 3rd Pacific Division
Oilers: 44-26-9, 97 points, 2nd Pacific Division
PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES
***There’s a chance that a Sharks-Oilers first round matchup could be set in stone tonight. If the Ducks beat Chicago and the Oilers lose in regulation, or Anaheim gets one point while Edmonton gets none, then Sharks-Oilers it is.
The location of Game 1, though, would still be TBD. The Sharks are 25-10-4 at SAP Center, while the Oilers are 24-12-4 at the new Rogers Place.
“You’re still fighting for home ice, which could turn out to be obviously a very big deal,” Jannik Hansen said. “Sometimes it’s not, but more often it’s nice to know in the back of your mind [that if] you win your home games, you’re good.”
The Oilers have won eight straight home games.
“The energy in our building has been immense over the last month in the run to the playoffs,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said. “But, it doesn’t guarantee you wins and it doesn’t guarantee you losses.”
***Although Joe Thornton (left knee) left open the remote possibility he would play tonight, that won’t be the case. Coach Pete DeBoer said Thornton has not been medically cleared, and when told that Thornton declared he would be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs, DeBoer continued to simply refer to him as “day-to-day.” Logan Couture, who was on the ice for nearly an hour on Thursday, also remains out with his mouth injury.
***Edmonton has won each of the last two games with the Sharks, after San Jose captured the first two. One week ago, Connor McDavid posted a dazzling shorthanded goal and an assist in a 3-2 Oilers win.
“You need to know when he’s on the ice, make sure they’re not getting any freebies, easy goals,” Hansen said. “It felt like in Edmonton we gave them a couple goals that maybe they didn’t deserve. They create a ton, but the goals they got were kind of off our mistakes.”
The Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 lead against the Canucks on Tuesday, but were outplayed after that in a 3-1 win. It was their second straight victory over Vancouver after they had lost eight of nine in regulation before that.
“We got some real good performances from some people, and some other people we think can do a little bit more,” DeBoer said. “I think the bottom line is, heading into the playoffs, we need everybody playing at a maximum level. That’s the goal, to get everybody to that level.”
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The rookie snapped a 28-game goal drought just 12 seconds into Tuesday’s game while playing on a line with Joe Pavelski and Melker Karlsson. He also saw time on the top power play unit, which is missing two of its regulars. The Sharks will need contributions from their younger players over the next two games if they’re going to secure home ice in the first round, including Labanc.
Oilers: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The first overall pick from the 2011 draft scored a pair of goals on Tuesday in Los Angeles, and has seven points in his last six games (3g, 4a). The 23-year-old is second among NHL forwards in ice time per game (20:38), but also has a team-worst minus-12 rating.
Melker Karlsson – Joe Pavelski – Kevin Labanc
Jannik Hansen – Tomas Hertl – Mikkel Boedker
Joonas Donskoi – Patrick Marleau – Joel Ward
Micheal Haley – Chris Tierney – Marcus Sorensen
Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko
Martin Jones (starter)
Patrick Maroon – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot – David Desharnais – Zack Kassian
Drake Caggiula – Mark Letestu – Anton Slepyshev
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse – Eric Gryba
Cam Talbot (starter)
Sharks: Logan Couture (face) and Joe Thornton (left knee) are out.
Oilers: Tyler Pitlick (torn ACL) is out.
“We’ve got to realize that we’re two games away from four games and you’re out. [Our game has] got to be better for these last two.” – Brenden Dillon