G55 - Sharks @ Oilers - In Need of A Streak
One win may not seem like much, but for an Oilers team that is this fragile, it might just be enough to help right the ship. That battle for the wild card positions continues to be as entertaining and engaging as the Rams and Patriots Super Bowl game. There are feasibly 7 teams that could take that last playoff spot. As of yet, no team has managed to break away from that pack. Edmonton needs to have a strong run of games, and soon.
- Khaira and Russell were absent from last practice but it looks as though both will be ready for tonight's game.
Meier – Couture – Pavelski
Kane – Hertl – Donskoi
Sorensen – Thornton – Labanc
Goodrow – Gambrell – Karlsson
Simek – Burns
Vlasic – Heed
Dillon – Braun
4 KEYS TO VICTORY
1) Home Record. Maybe we could be more confident about the Oilers tonight if they had a winning record at home. The Oilers are one of 4 teams in the NHL with a losing home record. Edmonton has a 12-14-1 home record this season. Despite being last in the league, the Senators still have a 13-11-4 record at home. The Sharks are 18-4-4 at home but are only 14-12-3 on the road.
2) More From RNH. It may sound strange to ask for more from a player who has 15 points in his last 15 games. Nuge is on pace for a career year, in both total points as well as total PP points. RNH's scored 23 points on the powerplay in his first NHL season (3-20-23) and with 27 games left in the season, RNH has gone 4-16-20 on the powerplay. These numbers are great but he also has only 2 goals since the beginning of January. His linemates at 5 on 5 are not great, but Nuge needs to find the back of the net.
3) Avoid Getting Hurt By Hertl. Brent Burns leads the Sharks in scoring; that is not surprising. What is surprising is that Tomas Hertl is next on that list. Hertl is second on the Sharks in goals with 24 and has been red hot in the last 5 games. Hertl has 7 points in his last 5 games. He had a 3 point night against Calgary two days ago, and a hat trick and 4 point night against the Capitals a couple games prior. Hertl is also on the second line meaning even if the Oil are able to supress the Couture-Pavelski line, Hertl is still ready to step on the ice after.
4) Suppressing Shots. The Oil were victorious against the Wild, however they were still outshot heavily by a team that sits 16th in total shots on net. The Sharks have taken the second most shots in the NHL this year with 1894 shots. For comparison the Oilers sit 27th with 1557 shots, meaning the Sharks have taken 337 shots more than Edmonton. That is an extraordinary difference. Edmonton needs to find a way to limit those shots or at the very least limit the strong scoring chances.